Chartreuse

a little History

For almost a millennium



The Grande Chartreuse: the Chartreuse massif, its modern history (for almost a millennium) is inseparable from the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse. Arrived in 1084 accompanied by six companions, Master Bruno set up a hermitage in a remote place of the Chartreuse since known as the Chartreuse desert. In this isolated and totally uninhabited place, bordered to the north by the Col de la Ruchère, and to the south by the valley of the Dead Guiers, dominated by 1000 meters by the Grand Som, they set up their house, the first chartreuse, divided into two sets nearly four kilometers apart: the lower house or Correrie housed the community of brothers and workshops or outbuildings when the upper house housed the prior and the community of fathers.
Of the first monastery which was built two kilometers higher than the current monastery, nothing remains, following the event which took place on January 30, 1132, 48 years after the arrival of Bruno, under the priorate of Guigues:
"In the twenty-third year of the priorate of Guigues, an incredible mass of snow, rushing from the high rocky peaks with sudden impetuosity, carried away in its frightful whirlwind and buried under its immense mass all the cells of the religious except one, and with they six monks and a novice. »
The location of the upper house is today marked by two chapels built about a hundred meters apart: downstream Notre Dame de Casalibus (literally "Our Lady of the cabins", in allusion to the small houses which served as cells for the monks), built in the 15th century, out of reach of avalanches and upstream the chapel of St-Bruno, perched on its rock.
The survivors of the disaster could not think of rebuilding in the same place. Guigues, the prior, chose a new location two kilometers lower, better exposed and out of reach of avalanches.
The work was carried out quickly. Only the church was built in stone, today transformed and drowned in the middle of more recent constructions, and the Chapter, which now still has its 12th century vault intact. A dozen wooden cells were built, and the church was consecrated on October 13, 1133 by a former Carthusian, Hugues, second of the name, successor of Saint Hugues on the seat of Grenoble.
The monastery of Guigues survived a little less than two centuries. Between 1320 and 1676, the monastery suffered eight fires. After the fire of 1676, Dom Innocent Le Masson rebuilt the monastery according to a new architectural style, the one we know from him. The buildings have been listed as a historical monument since 1920.