Step into a world of grandeur and mystique at the Charterhouse of La Verne, a magnificent monastery dating back to the 12th century, perched amidst the majestic Maures massif. While situated in the commune of Collobrières, this awe-inspiring sanctuary is tucked away from the bustling village, offering a serene retreat. Prepare to embark on a captivating journey as you visit this remarkable historical monument, a testament to centuries of spiritual devotion and architectural brilliance.

A grandiose and curious place

Throughout the year, the Charterhouse of La Verne welcomes visitors to explore its fascinating grounds. The monastery stands as a testament to numerous reconstructions and restorations that have breathed new life into its hallowed halls. Built atop a rocky elevation, it remains protected from the outside world, creating an aura of seclusion and tranquility. Adorned with a monumental entrance door crafted from volcanic marble sourced from the Maures massif, the monastery invites you to delve into its secrets. Journey through its interior, wander its cloisters, and marvel at the remnants of its old prison and bakery. While exploring, you can also peruse the monastic store, open during designated visitation hours, offering a glimpse into the monastic way of life. Interestingly, the monastery is home to approximately thirty nuns who have embraced a vow of silence, immersing themselves in a world of contemplation.

Do you know the origin of the word "Verne"?

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the word “Verne“? Multiple theories surround its etymology. One suggests that the Romanesque church was erected upon the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Laverna, the Roman goddess of robbers and thieves. These outlaws allegedly found sanctuary in the surrounding forest, such as the sprawling Maures massif. Alternatively, the term “Verne” may also refer to slaves in Latin, a word once used to describe the Saracens of Fraxinet (La Garde Freinet). Lastly, some connect the word “Verne” to the alder tree, as it is also referred to as such. Indeed, alders thrive along the banks of the river that flows through the valley.

An eventful history

The Charterhouse of La Verne boasts a rich and eventful history. Founded in 1170 by the bishops of Toulon and Fréjus, it endured numerous fires and pillaging by local lords and Saracens. However, each time, the resilient residents rallied and found the means to restore its glory. Generous donations allowed the monastery’s lands to expand to over 3000 hectares. Unfortunately, during the Revolution, the Carthusian monks were compelled to flee, and the imposing structure and vast lands gradually succumbed to oblivion. Nature, in its relentless pursuit, reclaimed the territory, inflicting severe damage upon the cherished edifice.

Yet, against all odds, in 1921, the Charterhouse of La Verne was designated a historical monument, recognized as a “vestige in the forest.” In 1961, the Eaux et Forêts (Water and Forests) assigned a caretaker to oversee its preservation. Subsequently, in 1968, an association known as “Les Amis de la Verne” (Friends of La Verne) emerged, dedicated to reviving and restoring this monumental woodland sanctuary. In 1986, the nuns of the monastic family of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin, and of Saint Bruno took up residence, embarking on extensive restoration efforts. This remarkable rejuvenation owes its success to the collective efforts of the association, the monastic family, the Historical Monuments authority, the local municipality, the department, and most importantly, the multitude of visitors who continue to support the ongoing restoration endeavors.

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