Beaucroissant, Isere, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Beaucroissant is a French commune located in the department of Isère in the region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The town is known for the Beaucroissant fair of regional importance which has been held there annually since the Middle Ages. Parish of the royal province of Dauphiné during the Ancien Régime, the town is located in the northern part of the department of Isère between the towns of Lyon and Grenoble. It is also located in the community of municipalities of Bièvre Est whose head office is located in Colombe, a town bordering Beaucroissant.

ParmeniaThe town of Beaucroissant is attractive for the richness of its heritage. From the top of the hill of Parménie, you will have the opportunity to discover an exceptional panorama on the valley of Isère, the massifs of Vercors, Belledonne, the Chartreuse and in clear weather, the Mont-Blanc. Beaucroissant and its fairground extend below. Along the many ponds, green collar ducks, coots and gray herons can be observed.

For 800 years, the commune of Beaucroissant has hosted the largest and oldest fair in France each year in September. On more than 30 hectares, 800,000 visitors come to meet 1,800 exhibitors from 70 departments. This fair of agricultural origin which brings together thousands of animals (cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goats) as well as the sectors of agricultural equipment and public works activities, has gradually spread to other sectors. such as for example the habitat, the clothing sector and the craft industry.

The town is famous for its annual fair that has existed since 1219, due to the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Parménie. The history of the village and the Beaucroissant fair is linked with the hill of Parménie which dominates it from its 749 meters above sea level.

Prehistory and Antiquity
During Antiquity, the region was populated by the Allobroges, a Gallic people whose territory was located between Isère, the Rhône and the Northern Alps. From -121, this territory, named Allobrogie, is integrated into the Roman province of Viennese with the city of Vienne as its capital, which was also the seat of the former Roman diocese of Vienne. Thus, and until the High Middle Ages, the municipal territory was part of the Viennese.

The site of Parménie has been occupied since Antiquity, the presence of an old Gallo-Roman cistern confirms this fact.

Middle Ages and Modern Times
The origin of the Beaucroissant fair dates back to 1219, on the night of September 14, the natural lake of Saint Laurent, (above Bourg-d’Oisans) breaks, causes a terrible flood which floods Grenoble and causes very many victims.

From September 14, 1220, under the leadership of the Bishop of Grenoble, the survivors commemorate this event with a pilgrimage to Parménie. They are so numerous that a village is formed to welcome them. This gathering attracts a crowd of merchants. This is how the Beaucroissant fair was born.

Contemporary period
The site of the Charterhouse of Parménie is occupied by the maquis, then will be burned in 1944 by the German army.

Organized twice a year (in spring and in autumn), the local fair is the main economic activity of this small town which does not have a notable commercial or craft area.

This fair is accessible by car (due to the presence of numerous car parks) but also by public transport including the train (the station offers the particularity of being located in the heart of the exhibition space)

Beaucroissant is one of the municipalities in a vineyard sector that can claim the IGP “ Coteaux-du-grésivaudan ” label, like most of the municipalities in the Isère valley.

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Beaucroissant Fair
The Beaucroissant fair is a biannual agricultural fair taking place in the town of Beaucroissant in Isère. Its origins date back officially to the year 1219.

This fair, which takes place every year on the last weekend of April and the second weekend of September, brings together more than 1,500 exhibitors and attracts, according to the departmental tourist office, nearly a million visitors. The “Beaucroissant” extends over an exhibition space of more than thirty hectares where are exhibited mainly stands dedicated to breeding and agriculture.

On the site of the fair and in its immediate periphery, visitors can also discover fairground attractions and food stalls and drinking places.

The origin of the fair dates back to the likely market – “Vaude” – installed, according to sources from the ix th century or the x th century, when the Bishop of Grenoble comes every year to celebrate the feast of the Holy Cross. On 14 September 1219, was a day of celebration in Grenoblewhere many people had come to attend the traditional feast of the Holy Cross. Unfortunately that same day a violent thunderstorm broke out in the region, swelling the torrents and rivers and causing a water reservoir created following a landslide a few years earlier to give way to the gorges of the Infernet in Livet-et-Gavet. The wave and the rise in the level of the Drac and Isère rivers which resulted from the rupture of this dam, flooded the town and killed thousands. Hundreds of survivors took refuge in Beaucroissant where it was necessary to create a village to accommodate them.

The following year, to the day, on September 14, 1220, the Bishop of Grenoble, Jean de Sassenage accompanied his parishioners to Notre-Dame de Parménie in Beaucroissant, to thank God for having spared them and to pray for the victims of this disaster. Thus the large number of pilgrims who flocked to the town of Beaucroissant each year attracted many traders who saw it as a boon for their business. According to Bernard Janin and Denise Brizard, this pilgrimage “now provides Beaucroissant with the happy opportunity to combine a religious ceremony and a commercial tradition”.

Initially, it was mainly small livestock that were sold during the fair, then over the years many stands of manufactured products made their appearance, in particular thanks to the geographical location of Beaucroissant. Thus its location on the ancient road connecting Vienne to Turin, and close to major traffic axes such as the roads from Grenoble to Valence and from Grenoble to Lyonallowed the fair to host a transit trade. At the end of the Middle Ages, the fame of the fair growing, it was traders from all over Europe (Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland…) who made their appearances to come and sell their goods. The duration of the fair was initially three days, but at that time the scale of the demonstration was such that it was extended to seventeen days. Each day had its specialty, wheat day, horse day, horned beast day, spice day…

In 2017, the fair brought together more than 1,500 exhibitors, including more than 250 agricultural equipment companies. In order to supply the approximately 800,000 to 1,000,000 visitors expected, nearly a hundred bars and restaurants will be installed along the 15 kilometers of alleys spread over some forty hectares.

The current fair consists of traditional stands that can be found year after year. Thus more than 1,500 cattle and horses are exhibited during the day of September 14, as well as several hundred sheep and pigs during this so-called large cattle day. On this occasion, a competition is organized by the union of Charolais breeders from the south-east, delivering several prizes for the most beautiful animals. Shepherd dog demonstrations are also carried out by the Isère sheep breeders union.

Dog breeders are also present at the fair and occupy an average of twenty stands each year. Poultry and other small furry or feathered animals (parakeets, rabbits, etc.) are also represented by around fifty exhibitors. In addition to these animal stands, there are professionals and exhibitors of agricultural and public works equipment with major regional dealers (John Deere, New Holland, etc.), as well as several foreign exhibitors.

In 2020, due to the pandemic Covid-19, the two editions of the fair are deleted whose 801 th scheduled for September.

Places and monuments
St-Georges composite church, Sainte-Croix parish (Rives, Renage, Beaucroissant, Izeaux, Saint-Paul-d’Izeaux)
Priory of Our Lady of Parmenie: Old Chapel, he became a Carthusian women xiii th century, burned in 15th century, rebuilt in the 17th century, burnt down in 1944, and restored.
Remains of the castle of Beaucroissant, early 14th century on the molard Paul

Tags: France