Winding wooded roads
The immense Chambaran nature reserve is the highlight of this route. Other remarkable landmarks include
the beautiful Roman church in Marnans, and the church bells of Châtenay, which are the oldest in France.
The Chambaran nature reserve
The Chambaran nature reserve, in Saint-Pierre-de-Bressieux, is one of the largest in France, with a total surface area of 240 hectares. The reserve’s 35 kilometres of trails allow you to observe a variety of animal species in their natural habitat, including red deer, fallow deer, wild sheep, roe deer, wild boar, and birds. There are three ponds within the reserve (Fond Coully, Fontrouge and Étang Neuf), making the area a perfect spot to fish for carp, pike, and perch.
Built in 1862, the Eglise de Châtenay features neo-Gothic construction. The church houses a rich collection of liturgical objects made of cast iron, as well as mural paintings. The steeple contains a set of 19 bells, which are registered as a historic monument since they are the oldest in France. The bells ring every Saturday from 6:00 to 6:30 PM, from mid-June to mid-September.
The Roman church of Saint-Pierre-de-Marnans, located in Marnans, dates back to the 12th century. A registered historic monument, the church is one of the Dauphiné’s most notable Roman structures. Every year, the festival “Les étés de Marnans” welcomes artists to exhibit their works in this simple historic church.
The village of Roybon, the veritable capital of Chambaran, is nestled in the heart of an immense forest, against the backdrop of the Vercors mountains. The local architecture is quite distinctive, since nearly all of the houses built within the last century feature walls made of rounded stones. The stones were gathered from nearby riverbeds and fields. During the era of frequent wars between the principalities of Savoie and Dauphiné, numerous fortified constructions were built along the border between the two areas. This was the case for the village of Roybon, which is located at the
centre of what was once the royal forest of Chambaran. The forest sat on the border of the Dauphiné until 1355. The ramparts of Roybon had three gates, called Porte de Romans, Porte de Saint-Vallier, and Porte de La Côte-Saint-André.
Near the village, the Lac de Roybon features a recreation area with beaches, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Entry is free. For fishermen, the lake is stocked with trout on a regular basis.
Products from the abbey
Six kilometres from Roybon, the Abbaye de Chambaran (Chambaran Abbey) is home to a community of Trappist nuns, who have long had roots in the Chambaran area, across from the Vercors mountains. Until 2003, the abbey produced one of the region’s best cheeses. While they no longer make cheese, the community sells a variety of products made in other monasteries, including cheese, pâté, beer, wine, honey, chocolate, cakes, pain relieving balms, soap, etc.
The abbey’s shop is open every day except Tuesday, from 10:30 to 11:45 AM and from 2:45 to 5:00 PM, and on Sundays from 11:30 AM to 12:15 PM and from 2:45 to 5:00 PM. www.chambarand.fr