Bell tower Saint-Jean

The bell tower is enclosed between houses of a residential area of Breil. It can be seen closely without recoil, or by far.

Typology Building

Period Before 1380

Accessibility No

Visitable Yes

The Saint-Jean bell tower is the oldest unmodified bell tower in the Alpes-Maritimes department.

This is the only vestige of a Benedictine priory whose other buildings were destroyed in 1707 by the troops of Prince Eugene of Savoy returning to Piedmont after their failure in front of Toulon, during the so-called “Spanish Succession” war.

Probably dating from the beginning of the 12th century, it is characteristic of the first Lombard Romanesque art of which it presents the following peculiarities: walls with small limestone rose by wide jointed beds. The frames of twin bays were cut in tuff, softer and easier to work than limestone walls.

Conditions of visit

By car: crossing the railway crossing north of the train station on RD 6204 road, take Avenue de l’Authion to the junction of Madone-du-Mont road. Parking near St Antoine’s Chapel.
On foot from the village: cross the Roya river by the bridge nearby the church, pass under the railway, turn right crossing the ravine. Follow Avenue de l’Authion to the Saint-Antoine chapel.
The bell tower is visible from Burdanche road. It is accessible by a small path between two houses from the Madone-du-Mont route.
Limited access: the bell tower is enclosed between private properties. A small hilly road leads to the foot of the building.
Restricted visits (bell tower closed to the public).


Additional information


  • Botton Charles, Histoire de Breil et des Breillois, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1996.
  • Thévenon Luc, L’art du Moyen Âge dans les Alpes méridionales, Éditions Serre (collection patrimoines), Nice, 1983.

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