Creamieu, Isere, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Crémieu is a French commune located in the department of Isère, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Crémieu has preserved its medieval city. This small medieval village of 3,500 inhabitants hosts a celebration called “Les Médiévales” every year in September, which reconstitutes the lifestyle of the Middle Ages. The seal of the région includes a dolphin. The inhabitants of this village are also called “les dauphinois” from the noun “dauphin” in French. The local dish is “le gratin dauphinois” which is a rich potato gratin.

The medieval monuments, in particular the delphinal castle (of the Viennese dolphins), and the various city gates, as well as the covered markets. Many old houses with stalls (with a large opening on the ground floor which served as a stall), Augustinian convent with its intact cloister, its vast courtyard which serves as a square with restaurants, and its dwelling which houses the town hall. You can thus stroll in the old town, it is very pleasant to walk there. You can also climb the Saint-Hippolyte hill, a stone’s throw from the city, very green, and which offers a nice panorama of the city.

The city of Crémieu was forged more than 800 years, a history of which it preserves the most beautiful architectural testimonies. This rich heritage revealed and enhanced by a large-scale restoration undertaken in recent years, reminds the memory of the long road traveled since the Middle Ages.Magnificent paintings and organ listed in the church, apothecary in the Visitandines convent, typical stalls, cloister and market will amaze you.

Crémieu is officially approved city labeled “Petites Cités de Caractère” in France. Une Petite Cité de Caractère, is committed to offering everyone a remarkable, valued and lively heritage, all in a quality approach to welcoming visitors. The concept of Small Towns of Character was born in the mid-1970s to promote atypical municipalities, both rural by their location, their limited population, and urban by their history and heritage. The Small Towns of Character project is to unite the various actors around one objective: the safeguarding of heritage as a lever for development.

Crémieu appears in history in the 12th century. At that time, a Benedictine priory was established at the top of the cliffs of Saint-Hippolyte. However, the first city will be established throughout the 13th century, on the slopes of the Saint-Laurent hill dominated by the walls of the Delphinal castle, rebuilt from 1282 by the Dauphins de la Tour.

Crémieu is at the heart of a very busy region during prehistoric times. In the town were discovered two caves in Beptenaz which contained flints from the Magdalenian (13000-10000 BC) with bones of reindeer, aurochs, horses, deer.

A tomb in the chapel of Notre Dame de la Salette contained a body with very beautiful bronze furniture (pin, bracelets, wheel, staple) dated to the early Late Bronze Age (1250-1100 BC).. Bronze objects (knives, sword, bracelet) attest to the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.

Middle Ages
Former residence of the Viennese dolphins. Crémieu is mentioned from the ix th century; but appears in the story 12th century. At the end of the 12th century Crémieu is the seat of a lordship (sort of administrative unit) of the barony of La Tour-du-Pin, attached in 1282 to the Dauphine, who reports to the Crown of France in 1349 The castle is established on the Saint-Laurent hill. Located on the border between Dauphiné and Savoy, the châtellenie of Crémieu plays an important military role. Opposite the castle, a Benedictine priory, surrounded by its own fortifications, is at the top of the cliffs of Saint-Hippolyte. In 1247, this priory was attached to the abbey of Saint-Chef.

The city is growing along the 13th century under the walls of the castle Dauphin and between the two hills; located on the road to Italy, it has some activity as a center of the grain trade between France and Savoy, Switzerland and Italy. In 1315, a charter of franchises granted the inhabitants new freedoms and important commercial privileges. The existence of a monetary workshop, attested in 1337, indicates the economic development of the city. The lower city, from the 14th century, attracts rich merchants, still preserves today houses and old mansions with neat architecture. It is the beginning of a period of prosperity of two centuries which will require the construction of new ramparts including the two hills and the lower town; the 15th century, a large hall, covered with slate Crémieu replaces the market created in 1314.

At the beginning of the 14th century, John II, Dauphin of Vienna, founded in the new part of the city, a priory to house ten Hermits of St. Augustine, mendicant order formed 13th century. The convent construction work begins in 14th century and continues through many changes until 19th century building of the tower above a defense tower in 1508, redevelopment of the cloister and portal construction of the 17th century for example. During the French Revolution, on May 9, 1791 precisely, the buildings and the church were awarded to the municipality of Crémieu for the sum of 7,000 books, and assigned to new uses.

In 1315, a charter of franchises granted new freedoms to the inhabitants as well as important commercial privileges. This is the signal for the city of a period of prosperity lasting two centuries. The construction of a new hall was undertaken in 1434 as well as the construction of a vast fortified enclosure of nearly two kilometers, armed with nine gates and fourteen towers. This enclosure will encompass at the same time the Delphinal castle, the old town, the cliffs of Saint-Hippolyte and the new town established with the Augustinian convent. In 1337-39, the creation of a monetary workshop in Crémieu established the economic development of the city.

Modern and contemporary
Following the abolition in 1702 of the annual fairs established in the 14th century, the economic decline of the city encouraged the inhabitants to develop the textile and leather industry in the 18th century. In 1710, tanneries, shoemakers, wool and hemp spinning mills and carderies occupied nearly a quarter of the city. With the following century, the Isle-Crémieu plateau attracted landscapers around Corot and the Lyon school of painting, travelers and lovers of the picturesque.

Jeanne de Chantal founded the Convent of the Visitation in 1627, the nuns only had a small house and a chapel. The current buildings built between 1632 and 1682 were seized as national property and sold in 1792. Thirty years later, the municipality installed the hospital there, to which the Refuge for the elderly was annexed, in 1864. A new chapel was built in 1884 by Lyon architect Pierre Richard.

The Dauphin castle was abandoned in the xviii th century and used as a stone quarry until the Revolution, before being partially rebuilt in the xix th century. It was classified as a historical monument in 1943.

At the beginning of xix th century Crémieu and its surroundings become a destination landscape Lyon and Grenoble in search of picturesque subjects. Very quickly, painters from various geographical and artistic backgrounds set up their easels in Isle Crémieu. Around a hundred artists have worked there over the course of the century, including Auguste Ravier, Paul Flandrin, Hector Allemand, but also Camille Corot, Charles-François Daubigny and Gustave Courbet who immortalized the lock of the Tuille pond in Optevoz.

Related Post

At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, young artists stay in Optevoz turn, attracted by the fame of their illustrious predecessors. Alexis-Paul Pachot d’Arzac, Philippe Tassier and Charles Rouvière notably left painted decorations in several houses in the canton.

However, it would be reductive to speak only of the heritage and historical aspect of Crémieu, as it is true that the city has other assets that it is keen to honor such as its gastronomic specialties (sabodet, hearth, chocolate slate…), its quality events: the Ascension Antiques Fair, the Festiv’Halle of crafts and flavors on Pentecost Sunday and Monday, the Ciné’Halle, the Gratiférias, Halloween, the Christmas Market, the Turkey Fair and the now famous and unmissable “Medieval” events in September…

Crémieu also cultivates a certain art of living together, through the privileged welcome that its merchants, artisans and all those involved in local life know how to reserve for visitors. Its Wednesday market is a quality meeting place in the heart of the medieval market hall. It is driven by this constant desire for improvement that Crémieu has chosen to join prestigious networks such as “The most beautiful detours in France” and “Cities and villages in bloom”. This constant concern for enhancing monuments through flowering and lighting, while respecting biodiversity and sustainable development… makes Crémieu a “medieval jewel of Nord-Isère”.

Crémieu is also a city open to the surrounding countryside and the possibility of numerous hiking or mountain biking easily accessible for a family walk. You can follow the Via Rhôna, the “Crémieu-Arandon-Passins” greenway, and follow the marked trails.

This medieval city seduces by the richness of its preserved heritage and the natural beauty of its landscapes. The streets, the buildings bear witness to its prestigious past which was a military stronghold, a merchant city and a city of convents.

The fortified wall of more than two kilometers has protected, since the Middle Ages, the delphinal castle but also the typical small houses with stone facades or coated with lime, the shops with stalls (13th to 19th centuries). The houses of wine growers or tanners stand alongside beautiful Renaissance residences and 17th century religious buildings. A heritage to discover thanks to our guided tours or our tour plan.

Crémieu has also been able to preserve this commercial tradition since the 14th century. The shopping and craft shops open all year round allow visitors to discover local specialties. As for the 15th century Market Hall, emblematic monument of the city, it hosts the traditional market every Wednesday; the opportunity to appreciate the local products that can be found on the menus of the restaurants of the city.

Historical heritage
The city retains many old houses (16th – 18th century), beautiful remains of fortifications (doors of the 14th century walls segments), large halls covered (15th century) and the convent of Augustinian whose cloister is intact and has served as town hall since the French Revolution.

The Dauphin Castle, Castle said St. Lawrence, which there are still vestiges of xiii th and xv th centuries, ancient seat of lordship, dominates the city side, while the ruins of a fortified priory cover the entire Saint-Hippolyte Hill West.

At 2 kilometers south-southwest stands the castle of Malin built in 14th century and redesigned in the Renaissance.

Gastronomic heritage
The Cremolan specialty: During your stay in the city, discover the foyesse, cousin of the sugar pie. And for lovers of gastronomy, head to the two gourmet restaurants: Le Castor Gourmand and Au Pré d’chez Vous.

Events and festivals
International fame: Many cultural, sporting and artistic events follow one another and punctuate local life: Lauzes rally, flower market, antiques fair, craft festival, potters market, wellness fair, free concerts in summer…

Not to mention the Medieval, the second weekend in September and, as the end of the year holidays approach, the Christmas market and the turkey fair.

Natural space
Whether from the top of the Saint-Hippolyte hill which overlooks the city and offers an exceptional view of the Rhône valley or through the hiking trails and the brand new greenway, nature lovers will be surprised by the diversity flora and fauna of the surrounding countryside.

Tags: France