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Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez: A Remarkable Village in a Former Monastery

Nestled in the heart of the Pilat Regional Natural Park in southeastern France, Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is a unique and captivating village known for its rich history and stunning natural surroundings. What sets this village apart is its location within the walls of a former Carthusian monastery. Let’s explore the charm and heritage of Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez.

Monastery Turned Village

Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is often referred to as a “village-monastery” because it is situated entirely within the walls of a former Carthusian monastery. Founded in the 13th century, the monastery once housed a community of monks who lived in seclusion and devoted their lives to prayer and contemplation. Today, the village retains much of the monastery’s original architecture and atmosphere.

Cobblestone Streets and Historic Buildings

Wandering through Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is like stepping back in time. The village’s narrow, winding cobblestone streets are lined with well-preserved medieval buildings, some of which have been converted into shops, galleries, and artisan workshops. The combination of ancient stone facades and vibrant gardens creates a picturesque setting for exploration.

The Charterhouse

At the heart of Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez lies the Charterhouse, the central building of the former monastery. This imposing structure houses a museum that offers insight into the history of the Carthusian order and the daily life of the monks who once inhabited the monastery. Visitors can explore the museum to gain a deeper understanding of the village’s past.

A Peaceful Retreat

Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez’s tranquil ambiance makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful escape. The absence of cars within the village adds to its serenity, allowing visitors to stroll leisurely through the streets and take in the serene atmosphere. The scent of lavender and the sound of birdsong further enhance the sense of tranquility.

Local Artisans and Craftsmen

The village is home to several artisan shops and studios where you can find locally made crafts, artwork, and culinary delights. From handmade pottery to lavender-infused products, these shops offer unique souvenirs and gifts that reflect the spirit of Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez.

Scenic Surroundings

Beyond the village, the Pilat Regional Natural Park offers a wealth of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Hiking and cycling trails wind through the park’s lush forests and rolling hills, providing opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the region. The panoramic viewpoints offer breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscapes.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Throughout the year, Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez hosts various cultural events and festivals that celebrate the village’s heritage. These events often feature traditional music, dance, and local cuisine, providing a delightful way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is not just a village; it’s a living testament to centuries of history and a place where the past seamlessly blends with the present. Whether you’re drawn by its historical significance, the serenity of its streets, or the natural beauty of the surrounding park, a visit to this remarkable village is sure to leave a lasting impression.