Chapel of the Red Penitents (Chapelle des Pénitents Rouges), dedicated to Saint-Sébastian

The chapel is part of a group of a few buildings located before the entrance to the medieval village, and located on the steep slope at the edge of the cul-de-sac, under a rocky peak, church’s apse bedrock.

Typology Building

Period XVII

Accessibility No

Visitable Yes

At the end of the 16th century, an opening was made in the rocky ridge that closed the village to the northwest. This allowed the creation of a new access (current northern access), more convenient than the path that came out of the top of the village. The first houses outside the walls then appeared in this direction, and the chapel of the red penitents was built by this new exit of Saorge. The chapel was built before 1610 under the double name of the Holy Trinity and Saint-Sebastian.

Its nave, which is extended by a small sacristy, is short relatively to its width, because of the location of the building, perpendicular to a steep rocky slope. The chapel thus stands on a high basement.

Inside, the chapel still presents the baroque decorations in stucco of its altarpiece and framing painting in the form of foliage and scrolls in slight relief on the wall, as well as its cornice on the apse and partial returns on the sidewalls.

The broken arches arched vault is quite high compared to the size of the chapel.

The under the vault neogothic style painted decorations with starry sky and friezes emphasizing the edges are characteristic of the end of the 19th century in the region.

Its classic two-tier facade and triangular pediment seem to have been created in the nineteenth century. Its neoclassical composition has bossage on the lower register and double pilasters with composite capitals around the window, in the upper register.

The polychrome glazed tiles covered bulbous turret laid in scales could also have been added at the end of the 19th century.

It was decommissioned in 1950, and is currently used as a town warehouse.

Conditions of visit

By car from the 6204 road, in Fontan, take RD 38 road. Parking at the entrance of the village.

Authorized and easy access, nearby parking

Restricted visits (pending restoration, closed to the public)


Additional information


  • Botton Charles et Gaber Jean, Histoire de Saorge et Fontan, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2009.
  • Thévenon Luc et al., Pénitents des Alpes Maritimes, Editions Serre, 2008.

Useful links

Non documenté.