In Saint-Paulet-de-Caisson in the Cèze Valley, the Chartreuse de Valbonne is a former monastery founded in 1204. From a distance, it resembles a village surrounded by ramparts, the roofs covered in tiles, some of which are coloured and glazed. Yet, for nearly seven centuries up until 1901, only 40 Carthusian monks and domestics lived beneath the one hectare of roof at any given time. In 1929, a leper colony was established here with up to 400 leper before the premises were transformed into a rehabilitation centre and halfway home.
Today listed as a Historic Monument, the Chartreuse de Valbonne is open to the public. Guided or unguided tours let you discover this site, altered several times over the centuries ? the baroque façade of the church, several chapels with ribbed vault ceilings, the choirs, the monks' cells, the small and the great cloisters as well as the the lands, 40 hectares of forests, flower plantations and vineyards that produce AOC Côtes du Rhône wines, which you can taste and purchase.
The Chartreuse de Valbonne
The cour d'honneur of the Chartreuse de Valbonne
The Frères Chapel
The Pères Choir
The Chapel of the Relics
The small cloister
The big cloister
The basin at the Chartreuse
The garden of the big cloister
The glazed roofs
The alley of plane trees
In addition to the visit, the Chartreuse organises, from spring to autumn, concerts, festivals and exhibitions in the enclosed courtyard with its remarkable natural acoustics. A restaurant is also open during that period (reservations recommended).
And if the peace and solitude of the place seduce you, 13 of the monks' cells have been converted into hotel rooms and two apartments with three and four bedrooms in the bishop's quarters and the conciergerie are also available for short stays.
Chartreuse de Valbonne - Route de Valbonne - 30190 Saint-Paulet-de-Caisson
+33 (0)4 66 90 41 05http://www.chartreusedevalbonne-monument.com