On this ride through the northernmost part of Isère and the outskirts of Crémieu, you’ll encounter stone in all its forms, from medieval buildings and archaeological ruins to incredible caves. You can even visit a museum devoted entirely to flagstone.
The medieval city of Crémieu is certainly worth a visit. You’ll explore the 12th century royal castle, strategically located on a high promontory, as well as the city’s imposing fortified 14th century gates, majestic 15th century covered market, and Augustinian monastery, which is built up against the ramparts.
Further north, the town of Hières-sur-Amby features two main attractions: the local heritage museum, and the Larina archaeological site.
The Larina archaeological site
Located in an 18th century flagstone parish, the museum explores the lives of the local inhabitants, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. You’ll discover their way of life, conflicts, and funeral rites. The museum displays some extraordinary archaeological discoveries, including weapons, jewellery, crafts, and burial objects. The artefacts are accompanied by maps, models, and reproductions to further your understanding.
Located at the summit of the cliffs above the plains, the Larina archaeological site dates back to prehistoric times. Here you’ll find the remnants of a vast rural inhabitation dating back to the end of Antiquity and the Merovingian period. Fifteen years of digging has uncovered farm buildings, houses, a chapel, and a necropolis. Access to the site is free and interpretative placards explain the findings.
Voyage au centre de la terre
The Grottes de la Balme caves tunnel through the cliffs of the Isle-Crémieu plateau, near a large bend in the Rhône river. They offer a surprising variety of geological features, including maze-like tunnels, potholes, an underground lake, and a tiered formation of small pools. There is also wealth of cave-dwelling animal life, including bats, of course.
The Musée de la Lauze, in Annoisin-Chatelans, is a museum entirely dedicated to flagstone. It explores the geology of the stone, quarrying techniques, stonecutting, and its use in traditional architecture. Flagstone was also used in the construction of the village’s buildings and the museum itself. The historic quarries that provided the stone are located nearby. Tel. +33 (0)4 74 83 11 28. www.auberge-de-larina.fr
This unusual brioche is a specialty of the Crémieu bakeries.
Use one pound of fl our.
Make a well in the mound of fl our and add:
10 g of salt
25 g of sugar
½ cube of baker’s yeast
½ glass of lukewarm water
Knead, add 300 g of softened butter, and knead again.
Leave to rise for an hour and a half. Fold the dough and let it rise again for an hour and a half. Spread the dough into a pie-shape on a sheet of baking parchment and allow to rise another hour. Top the dough with bits of butter and coarse-grained sugar.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes and cool before serving.