Sound and silence
This ride through the Chartreuse regional park features a variety of natural wonders, including the Gorges du Frou and the Cirque de Saint-Même. And there are cultural landmarks as well, like the Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse church and the Grande Chartreuse museum.
Gorges du Guiers Vif
The Gorges du Guiers Vif are called the Gorges du Frou below the dizzying section of road known as the Pas du Frou (‘the awful place’ in the local patois). The Pas du Frou looms 150 metres above the Guiers Vif river, the natural boundary between Isère and Savoie.
The road, which clings to the side of the sheer cliff, connects the towns of Saint-Pierred’Entremont and Saint-Christophe-sur-Guiers.
Château de Montbel
Looming over the Gorges du Frou, the ruins of the Château de Montbel (2 km round trip detour) sit on a promontory that provides expansive
views of the Chartreuse. This was the second fiefdom of the lords of Entremont, until it became the property of the Carthusians, who were chased out during the Revolution.
The site eventually became the property of the French state, before being abandoned.
Cirque de Saint-Même
The Cirque de Saint-Même (8 km round trip detour) is one of the most frequently visited sites in Chartreuse. Four large waterfalls tumble down the 500 metre cliffs of this impressive natural cirque. The waterfalls are fed by groundwater from the Guiers Vif river. Bring good walking shoes so you won’t miss out on the 1½ hour hike to visit the waterfalls.
Musée d’art sacré contemporain
Another highlight of Chartreuse is the Eglise de Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse, a church and museum dedicated to contemporary religious
art. The church is entirely decorated with the works of the painter Arcabas. The superb, brightly coloured frescos were painted over a period of 30 years. They are a major work of contemporary religious art.
Musée de la Grande Chartreuse
The Musée de la Grande Chartreuse is located near the monastery in Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. This museum provides key information about the Carthusian Order, thanks to new exhibits featuring films, audio guides, and personal accounts. The site inspires silence and contemplation.
Chartreuse liqueur... in all its forms
Even though this liqueur is actually produced in Voiron, and not in the Grande Chartreuse monastery, it is inextricably linked to the mountain range and the monks. It has been produced by Carthusian monks since the 18th century, using a secret recipe that includes approximately 130 different mountain plants and fl owers. Today, a variety of different liqueurs are sold: yellow, green (sweeter, with a lower alcohol
content), herbal elixir, etc. The liqueur is also used in other products, including chocolates.
The Chartreuse chocolates of Chocolatier Petit, in Saint-Laurent-du-Pont, are particularly well known. Chocolate makers Isabelle and Emmanuel Petit offer guided tours of their kitchens, which include the opportunity to taste their creations. You’ll learn all the details of the chocolate making process, from the cocoa beans to the subtle blend of chocolate and Chartreuse.
L’Abeille Gourmande. Beekeeper. 104 chemin du Lavoir 38500 Saint-Nicolas-de Macherin. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 55 31 32.
Farm products sold at the farm of Maud Charat and Cédric Barnier. 1056 route de Miribel 38960 Saint-Aupre. Tel. +33 (0)6 87 43 44 08. Goat and cow’s milk cheeses, beef and veal.
La Ferme Pajon (farm). Le Villard 73670 Saint-Pierred’Entremont. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 26 28 74. Artisanal goat cheese.
L’Essaim de Chartreuse. Saint-Même-d’en-Haut 73670 Saint-Pierre-d’Entremont. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 65 88 08. Honey and other products from the hive, spice cake, sweets, candied fruits. Documentary on beekeeping in the mountains.
Les Petits Jardiniers. Herb and medicinal plant gardens. Plant-based syrups, herbal teas, aperitifs and cosmetics. Les Guillets 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)6 85 52 76 20 www.petitsjardiniers.com
L’Agneau des Égaux. Les Égaux 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 65 04. www.lesclarines.cabanova.fr Organic sheep farm.
Safran de Chamechaude (saffron cultivation). Brévardière 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 60 49. www.safrancham.fr. Products for sale all year round. Guided visits and tastings in the autumn.
La Ferme de Brévardière. Inn, picnic lunches, saffron cultivation. Brévardière 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 76 88 60 49 www.brevardiere.fr
L’Art et la Manière. Le Bourg 38380 Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Tel. +33 (0)4 79 65 88 08. A cooperative of local artisans and farmers. Wood crafts, leather, mohair, jewellery, paintings, pottery, honey, soap, jams, syrups, herbal teas.
Ferme de Plantimay – Livestock farming, Montbéliard cows and goats. Les Roberts 38134 Saint-Joseph-de-Rivière Tel. +33 (0)4 76 55 25 26 www.ferme-plantimay.fr