Sospel is a commune and former schismatic episcopal seat (1381-1418), located in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region) near the Italian border and Monaco.

From 1912 to 1932, Sospel had a tramway system (from Menton) that had a length of 17,279 meters.

Main attractions

Religious architecture

  • Saint-Michel Co-cathedral, Place Saint-Michel: Located on a square lined with houses with arcades from the Middle Ages, it is in Baroque style; only the 11th century bell tower is from the Lombard era. The upper part of the facade is from the pre-Baroque Romanesque period. The two statues inside the niches represent the protectors of the town of Sospel “Saint-Hippolyte and Saint-Absende.” On the left, inside the cathedral, stands the “Immaculate Virgin of Sospel.” This three-part altarpiece was created by François Bréa, a member of a family of Nice painters from the 15th and early 16th centuries.
  • Chapel of the Immaculate Conception of the Gray Penitents, Place Saint-Michel.
  • Sainte-Croix or White Penitents Chapel, Place Sainte-Croix.
  • Saint-Éloi Chapel, Black Penitents, Place Saint-François.

Civil architecture

  • Pont-Vieux, a fortified bridge that spans the Bévéra, cuts the city into two parts and is, certainly, the most symbolic and romantic place in the city. Built at the beginning of the 13th century, probably in wood, it was subsequently rebuilt, in stone, in 1522. The two arches were apparently replaced in 1823 on which the reconstruction was based.
  • Place Saint-Nicolas: known for its old houses on arcades, medieval fountain and colorful pebble pavement. It leads, via Rue de la République, to the baroque Sainte-Croix Chapel (a place for baroque music concerts in the summer), Place Sainte-Croix. In the 18th century, the municipal palace, in the center of the square and also known as Place du Saint-Esprit, hosted meetings of the community trustees of La Viguerie and the Council of Sospel.
  • Ramparts: Garibaldi and its washhouse, colorfully painted frescoes on its walls, were where fairs took place. Markets also took place on this square, at the time when livestock and agriculture dominated the Sospel economy. In the 19th century, duty was collected on imported goods. The square, with its washhouse still in operation, is lined with arcades, built in the 18th century, to protect local residents against the floods of the Bévéra.
  • Place Sainte-Croix: in this square stands the Sainte-Croix Chapel of the White Pénitents, built in the 16th century on the site of a Romanesque church dedicated to Saint-Nicolas. Of this former priory of Saint-Pons, only the 11th century apse remains.
  • Place de la Cabraïa: here, in the 16th century, herds of goats (“cabraïa” in Sospellois) were gathered together before taking them to their place of grazing. The two parts of the fountain had two very separate functions: the lower part served as a drinking trough and the upper part for household needs. In the surrounding area there were salt warehouses on the mule track.

How to get to?

From Paris: 9 hr 11 min (974 km) via A6 and A7

From Marseille: 2 hr 43 min (249 km) via A8

From Nice: 47 min (40.9 km) via A8

From Toulouse: 5 hr 47 min (603 km) via A8

From Monaco: 47 min (30.0 km) via D2566

From Andorra: 7 hr 34 min (729 km) via A8

From Madrid: 13 hr 13 min (1,308 km) via A-2

From Moscow: 34 hr (3,051 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 12 hr 58 min (1,316 km) via E70

From Istanbul: 23 hr 35 min (2,265 km) via E70

From Bern: 6 hr 55 min (603 km) via A6/E717

Main information

Area: 62,39 km2

Population: 3 803

Coordinates: 43°52′41″N 7°26′57″E

Language: French

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

See also France travel guide

See also Spain travel guide

See also Pyrenees travel guide

See also Andorra travel guide

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