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Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is a French commune in the départment of Loire, region Rhône-Alpes.

The village occupies a monastery founded in 1280 by Béatrix de la Tour du Pin, widow of Guillaume de Roussillon, who died at Acre (now in Israel) in November 1277, following the eighth crusade. Wanting to honour her husband through prayer she turned to the Carthusian religious order of which one of her uncles was a member. Beatrice held a fortress in what is now the village of Châteauneuf, at the confluence of the Couzon and the Gier. This occupied a strategic position at the junction of routes between the Auvergne and the Rhone Valley some ten kilometres from the site chosen for the monastery.

The monastery prospered and remained in place for many centuries until everything was turned upside down by the French Revolution. The monastery was confiscated as a National Asset in 1792 and was subsequently sold at auction in the form of 44 lots. The interior of the monastery came to be occupied by local families. At the Restoration following the fall of Napoleon in 1814, the Carthusian Order sought in vain to have their property returned. For one part, there was the necessity of having to negotiate with 44 different families; for the other part recent industrialisation in the Rhone Valley meant that the monks could no longer enjoy the peace and quiet that they desired.

The monastery thus continued to function as a village under the name of Sainte-Croix-en-Pavezin, since it was in effect a dependency of the neighbouring commune of Pavezin. It finally became a commune in its own right in 1888 when it took the name of Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez.

The existing parish church was built in the 18th century following the destruction by fire of the one originally attached to the monastery. In 1840, the cloister in the second courtyard, which contained the cells of the monks, was destroyed to allow for the passage of carts. Around the same time, the lodge of Béatrix de la Tour du Pin was demolished to allow the construction of the current bell tower as the former one was in a state of collapse. Restoration work is ongoing and many of the properties now seem to be occupied as second homes.

The above information has been largely extracted and freely translated from articles on the French Wikipedea site.

For French speakers, here is a link to one of the articles that gives further information about the monastery and its architecture.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5902 W: 61 N: 16985] (76370)
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