Chartreuse, Massif de la
Limestone cliffs, wooded valleys and the first Carthusian monastery
Between Grenoble and Chambéry, the limestone cliffs and wooded folds of the Massif de la Chartreuse offer a slow but picturesque alternative to the main valley roads. Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse is the chief town, a quiet resort surrounded by walking trails through the woods, which become a fiery mass of golden reds and browns in autumn. The sudden pockets of pasture bursting with wild flowers are equally lovely in spring or autumn.
Just west of Saint-Pierre, the village of la Correrie (2.5 km via the D520B) has a small museum about life in the nearby Carthusian monastery of Grande Chartreuse. Although the isolated monastery is closed to the public, there are impressive views over the substantial walled complex, built on the spot where St Bruno founded the first community in 1084. The monks’ famous sticky liqueur is distilled in Voiron (23 km west via the D520), where the Caves de la Chartreuse, 10 boulevard Edgar-Kofler, offer free tours of their vaulted cellars followed by tastings.
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