Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, Isère, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse is a French commune located in the department of Isère, in region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, motherhouse of the monks of the Carthusian order, is located on the municipal territory. Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse has strong historical ties with this religious order and this monastery.

Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse is a rural town which is part of a mid-mountain sector. It is home to many high summits of the Chartreuse massif including the Chamechaude summit (2,082 m, altitude) which is also the highest point of this massif, but also the Charmant Som, one of the rare high summits of the Chartreuse which is accessible to motor vehicles (except in winter).

The town also hosts a large part of the Grande Chartreuse national forestwhich is the largest national forest in the French Alps, this one being mainly composed of beech forests, thus marking the forest horizon of Saint-Pierre and its hamlets.

The town is also home to a major historical site, the Grande Chartreuse monastery, many hiking sites, an alpine ski resort with many trails transformed into mountain biking trails in summer. The village and its surroundings attract many tourists each year as evidenced by many tourist accommodation sites.

The town is mentioned in the Tabula Peutingeriana under the name Catorissium, and in the Ravenna Cosmography as Cantourisa. When St. Bruno and his six companions settled near Chartrousse in June 1084 on the indication of Bishop Hugues de Grenoble, they took the name of the nearby village, and Latinized it in Cartusia.

Prehistory and Antiquity
The settlement of the Saint-Pierre sector begins with the foothills. The cave of Eugles, located on the western edge of the massif at an altitude of 850 meters in the gorges of Guiers Mort, on the territory of the neighboring town of Saint-Laurent-du-Pont, was temporarily invested from the Paleolithic era. average.

The French ethnographer Hippolyte Müller patrized several excavations there in the 1920s and evokes the Azilian period. The prehistorian Franck Bourdier dates the tools discovered by his predecessor and refers the installation to the Alpine Mousterian.

Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, the village was called “Calma Trossa”, a name which gradually changed to “Charme Trousse”, then “Chartrousse”. Village life is closely linked to the Carthusian Order. When Saint Bruno and his six companions settled near Chartrousse the 24 June 1084on the indication of the bishop Hugues of Grenoble, they took the name of this neighboring village, and Latinized it in Cartusia, the term “Chartreuse” is therefore the product of a mixture between Latin and the Franco-Provençal language of the Dauphinois.

At the end of the 11th century, Bruno has built with his six companions the first hermitage Carthusian to lead a hermit’s life tempered with a little cenobitism. A chronicle of the time, named Chronique Magister describes an avalanche (a rock fall which pushed far in front of him an enormous quantity of snow) which took place theJanuary 30, 1132. “In the twenty-third year of the priorat de Guigues, an incredible mass of snow, rushing from the high rocky summits with sudden impetuosity, carried in its frightful whirlwind and buried under its immense mass all the cells of the religious except one, and with they six monks and a novice.”

French Revolution
In date of November 2, 1789, the Constituent Assembly places the goods of the Church, including the goods of the congregations, including that of the Carthusians, at the disposal of the Nation. These were from the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse by the National Convention onOctober 17, 1792.

Contemporary Period
The July 16, 1816, the monks return to the Grande Chartreuse in order to resume their regular life.

On October 16, 1845, a considerable fire broke out in Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, in a few moments the entire village was destroyed: the presbytery, the church itself were engulfed in flames; only one barn remains. The village is largely rebuilt at the expense of the monastery.

The June 6, 1857, an imperial decree, taken on the reports of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Worship defines a reserve around the monastery to preserve the landscape and guarantee the tranquility of the monks.

The village was classified as a health resort in the 1930s, and it is therefore only during this period that tourists could visit the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, and that until June 21, 1940. On the eve of the armistice of June 22, 1940, three Fathers officially resumed possession of the buildings, then a “special” law of the Vichy government, promulgated onFebruary 21, 1941, granted the Carthusians legal recognition in France.

During the Second World War, Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse and the whole of the department of Isère come under the unoccupied French part, called the “free zone”. From the summer of 1943, the inhabitants of the mountainous sector of the Chartreuse saw the arrival of the STO refractories. Some will engage in combat against the occupier.

Just before the start of hostilities, several families from the village embark on the hotel business, with the number of travelers increasing. The first ski lift was created, in the form of a sled pulled by a winch. The 1950s were conducive to the installation of the first teleport: the telebenne.

In the two decades following World War II, the increasing number of tourists became a nuisance for the monks of the Grande-Chartreuse. The superiors even considered leaving the massif and transferring the community to a more isolated site. However, they succeeded in obtaining that the site of the Desert of the Grande Chartreuse be classified as a historical and natural site, prohibited to overflight of tourist planes, and closed to automobile traffic.

The ski resort experienced the heyday of winter sports during the 1970s and after suffering from the “snowless years” in the 1980s and early 1990s, it is now experiencing a second wind. Admittedly the snow cover is sometimes random, hardly allowing seasons longer than three months, but its strategic position near large urban centers (especially Grenoble ), its proximity to the neighboring resort of Planolet, its family atmosphere and affordable prices mean that in 2005 and 2006, it had its highest turnover in terms of ski pass sales.

Perched at an altitude of 900 m in the heart of the massif, it is the most famous village of Chartreuse. Small village of 1000 inhabitants, it is overlooked by emblematic peaks of the massif including Chamechaude (highest point of the massif, from its 2082 m altitude), Charmant Som and Grand Som.

In winter, it has the particularity of becoming a village-resort thanks to the cable cars which, from the heart of the village, transport you to the slopes of the Cœur de Chartreuse ski area.

The ski area
Largest ski resort in the Chartreuse massif, St Pierre is nonetheless a medium-sized resort. If it’s the vibe and innovation of the big resorts you’re looking for, this isn’t the place you should come. Here you will find a resort on a human scale, simple and friendly, with magnificent views of the surrounding peaks, you will not find these landscapes anywhere else.

The ski touring area
Push the door of the ski touring area to start in complete safety. Training on the basics of the activity, how to equip yourself, what are the safety principles, how to make a conversion (change of direction in ski touring),… Passionate professionals are at your disposal to help you climb summits and descend the most beautiful slopes.

Is it cold, snowflakes falling on the village? The perfect time to take a good bath… outside! Like the Scandinavian countries, try the outdoor Nordic baths at Oréade Balnéo. Heated to 38 ° over a wood fire, you won’t get cold. Benefits for the body (and the mind) guaranteed.

St Hugues: village within the village
St Hugues is a hamlet of St Pierre de Chartreuse but it could well be a village in its own right with its church, restaurants and pretty houses. Moreover, its church houses an astonishing Museum of Contemporary Sacred Art. It is also a very small ski resort (Les Egaux) which has the originality of being managed by volunteers, and a Nordic site whose slopes are linked to those of the Col de Porte.

Architectural heritage

Religious buildings
The main historical and tourist site of the town is a monastery, the mother house of the Carthusian Order, founded in 1084 by Saint Bruno.

The monastery of the Grande Chartreuse
The monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, properly speaking, founded by Saint Bruno, located in a zone of silence, called “Desert of Chartreuse” is closed to the public. This is classified as historical monuments by decree of November 14, 1912.

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The Grande Chartreuse museum
The Grande Chartreuse museum is not installed in the monastery, but in the old correrie, the “lower house” of the monastery, intended for the habitat and workshops of the lay brothers and transformed into a place of exhibition and conservation of items (maps, furniture and objects) related to the activity of the Order. buildings of this museum date from the period between the xvii th century and the xix th century. The church in the small village of Saint-Hugues, a simple hamlet of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse also receives many visitors, for its church

The church of Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse,
This religious building, built in 1860 houses a museum of contemporary sacred art, mainly one hundred and eleven works by Arcabas. These works are mainly paintings, sculptures, stained glass windows and engravings, made from 1952.

Other buildings
Various buildings, located in many separate places, are part of the architectural heritage of the town.

The house Guet, located desert road, dating from the xvi th century, is the subject of a classification as historical monuments by order of 1 st May 1923.

At the limit of the territory of the commune west side (accessible from the town of Proveysieux ), the forest home of the neck of the Charmette is typical of the forest architecture of the xix th century. The construction of this imposing building dates back to 1862. Depending on the period of history, the activity of the chalet was linked either to forestry or to tourism. The National Forestry Office decided to put this building up for sale in 2010. The “Charmette Ouverte” association was set up so that this place could continue to be open to the public.

The Morina barn, at a place called Les Olagniers, was one of the last examples of a Carthusian barn that has been preserved; it was the subject of a registration as historical monuments by order of 9 February 1987, but it was repealed by decree of 1 st July 2011 for the state of abandonment and lack of maintenance measures.

Several bridges in the town are classified as historical monuments, including in particular: the Pont de la Dame in the hamlet of La Diat, by decree of October 28, 1927, the Pont de la Forge, or de la Fabrique, the Pont de la tanning on the Guiers Mort and bridge Grand Logis, near the house of the Watch, by order of 1 st May 1923.

Cultural heritage
The town has two museums on its territory. These are an integral part of historic buildings, the Grande Chartreuse estate (correrie) and the Saint-Hugues church.

The town also has a library, open to all, called ” Pic Livre ” located near the old town hall.

Cultural events and festivities

The Grand Duke ultra trail
This competition, created at the end of the 1980s, under the name of “Tour pedestrian de Chartreuse” was renamed “Grand Duc Ultra Trail de Chartreuse” in 1995, named after a local raptor. Each year has a new route taking different summits: the Grand Som during the 2009 edition, the Chamechaude in 2010 and in 2013, the Dent de Crolles in 2009, the Charmant Som in 2009 and in 2012, the Bec Charvet in 2011 the Grande Sure near Voreppe in 2012, the Pinéa near Proveysieux in 2010 and 2013, the Gilt near Corbel in 2015 and the Bastille in Grenoble in 2000. the 44 th edition took place on June 23 and 24, 2018.

The Great Sound Festival
The name of the French song ecofestival “Le Grand Son” refers to the mountain of Grand Som which dominates the village. This event, which was called, before 2017, the “Brel Meetings”, was a music festival, which generally took place during the second half of July. The 31 th and final edition was held ThursdayJuly 19, 2018 at Sunday July 22, 2018under a large marquee installed on the central square of the village, opposite the church.

The battle of Hérens de Chartreuse queens
Created in 1999, the “Hérens cow battle”, inspired by the Valais queen fight, takes place every year on the first Sunday in August in the hamlet of Planolet. The breeders come to present their Hérens cows. They face each other in frank and fair battles. After a fierce and natural struggle, the queen of the Hérens de Chartreuse will be elected. The 19 th edition took place on Aug 5, 2017.

The gentians festival
The annual gentian festival is organized in the communal village hall all day and takes the form of a garage sale and sale of second-hand goods. The 2018 edition took place on July 29.

Natural heritage
The municipal territory is completely in the Regional Natural Park of Chartreuse. It also hosts (partially) the Hauts de Chartreuse National Nature Reserve and the Sensitive Natural Area of the Col du Coq.

According to the INPN website, the municipality hosts, in a total partial way, on its territory many natural areas of ecological, faunistic and floristic interest.

Organic Natural Heritage

Forest area
the town lodges on its soil, a large part of the national forest of Grande Chartreuse which is the largest national forest in the Alps. This forest area is mainly composed of beech-fir forests. Its species produce quality wood and offer magnificent landscapes.

Like all state forests, this protected area is managed by the National Forestry Office, which provides environmental and landscape protection, wood production and the reception of tourists and walkers.

The main species of this forest are fir, spruce and beech. An “AOC Bois de Chartreuse” recognition process has been implemented in order to enhance the quality of the wood and the know-how of local professionals.

At the heart of this forest and in the surrounding meadows, the Chartroussin territory presents a very wide variety of flowers corresponding to the different altitudes of the territory which are: The mountainous floor, mainly forest, but also composed of meadows and spaces developed by the man is 900 m to 1,600 m; the subalpine level is located from 1,600 m to 2,100 m and the alpine level is located above 2,100 m, but does not concern the municipal territory. Indeed, the village of Saint-Pierre and all the surrounding hamlets are located on the mountain level. The subalpine level is located at the level of the main peaks exceeding 1,600 m in altitude).

Geological natural heritage
The Dent de Crolles and its underground karst network is located at the eastern end of the town, it being shared with the neighboring towns of Saint-Pancrasse and Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet.

Gastronomic heritage

The chartreuse and the hot Green
The monastery is a liquor designed by the monks of the Charterhouse of Vauvert in Paris at the beginning of the xvii th century. The apothecary of the Grande-Chartreuse, Brother Jérôme Maubec, studies this creation and improves it. Then In 1737, the monastery produced the elixir in its pharmacy and began to sell it. Its marketing is done by a brother riding a mule from Saint-Pierre and therefore remains limited to the towns of Savoy and Dauphiné, where it is becoming popular.

This elixir is still marketed today, under the name of Elixir Végétal de la Grande Chartreuse. There was also a green chartreuse, a yellow chartreuse.

The Hot Green is a cocktail comprising hot chocolate, milk, a little sugar and Green Chartreuse , often served in ski resorts in the French Alps, including Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse.

Chamechaude saffron
The Chamechaude saffron farm is located between the hamlet of Brévardière and that of Michons. This extends over a fenced-in meadow of one hectare and on which 10,000 crocus sativus bulbs have been planted, a plant from which saffron is extracted, a spice with a bitter taste and coloring power.

Tags: France