Follow my Promenade du Paillon tour and you’ll come to the “Church of the Vow” or, more properly the Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste-Le Voeu at the end of the Coulée Verte park. So what was this famous vow?
Like so many Nice churches, Eglise Le Voeu was built in response to a cholera epidemic. It was the early 1830s and the disease was sweeping the region wreaking devastation in its wake. In six months there were 100,000 deaths in France. On April 15, 1832 the city council, in a special session, made a solemn vow (voeu): if Nice was spared the epidemic, the city would place itself under the protection of the Virgin and build a new church. Also, the city would organize a ceremony each year to renew its commitment to the Virgin.
Nice escaped the epidemic without a single death. Was it the Virgin or the strict quarantine that separated Nice from the lands west of the Var river? Locals were sure it was the Virgin and planning for the new church began a few years later. It was finished in 1852 and every year since then the city of Nice organises a ceremony around the renewal of the vow.
This Sunday, May 29, 2022 from 9:15 a.m., Christian Estrosi will renew the Vœu de Nice, The ceremony that follows is a great opportunity to sample Nice’s local culture.
Here’s the program:
9:15 a.m. Gathering at Place Saint-François
9:50 a.m. Renewal of the Vow by Christian Estrosi on Place Saint-François
10.15 a.m. Procession to the Eglise Le Voeu
10.30 a.m. Mass in the Eglise Le Voeu presided over by Jean-Philippe Nault, Bishop of Nice
12.30 p.m. Friendship drink and then a folklore performance by La Ciamada Nissarda
The Municipal Guard Band will provide the music. I don’t know who the Municipal Guard is or why they have a band but I’ve heard them play and they’re good!