The Abbaye de la Celle-Roubaud and Chapelle Sainte Roseline were founded in the 11th century by the monk Roubaud, a hermit of St Victor of Marseille. The abbey and chapel belonged, successively, to the Templiers, Benedictines, Chartreuses and Observentins.
During the Revolution, property was sold, and the chapel was acquired by the commune of Les Arcs. The abbey became the Château de Sainte Roseline and today the chateau and chapel are the center pieces of a large vineyard. The old monastery buildings [photo-1] are now private property and cannot be visited. The end of the abbey building, however, is the vineyard wine shop that can be visited, for tasting and buying.
The chapel was built in 1200, in the style of Provencal Romenesque. The site was left in disrepair during times of troubles and agitation in the 14th century. In the 15th century, the Franciscans moved in and rebuilt the monastery.
A lovely cloister is not open to the public, but it can be seen through the gate to the right of the chapel.
Inside the chapel are a number of interesting items. In addition to Sainte-Roseline herself, there's a large mosaic of Marc Chagall, some items of Diego Giacometti, a 12-panel polyptyque by Louis Bréa, stained-glass windows, and a magnificent alter.
Roseline, the oldest daughter of Arnaud de Villeneuve and Sybille de Sabran, was born at the chateau of the Arcs on 27 January, 1263. She was a very generous child, rather contrary to the spirit of the chateau, and secretly distributed food from the chateau reserves to the local poor people.
One day her father caught her sneaking out with her apron full of bread. When she was forced to open her apron to reveal its contents, it was a bunch of roses that fell out - the Miracle of the Roses.
Her aunt Jeanne was Priestess of the monastery and Roseline wanted to become chartreuse. Although her father had destined her for a "good" marriage, he relented, and she departed to become a novice in 1278.
In 1285, Roseline returned to the Chartreuse de La Celle Roubaud, to the great joy of her family. In 1300, at the age of 37, she succeeded her aunt a Priestess. During her noviciate (apprenticeship) several miracles occurred, including "The Meal of the Angels".
Roseline died on 17 January, 1329 at the age of 66. Five years later she was exhumed and her body was discovered to be intact, her eyes open and with full clarity. Her body was laid out for display and worship, and there she remains today.
Transportation Sainte Roseline Chapel
The ancient monestry and chapel are located 3 km from Les Arcs, following the little D91 road out of town to the east. Just past Sainte-Roseline, the D91 comes out on the road between Draguignan and the A8 autoroute (exit #36), easily accessible from Draguignan, Trans-en-Provence and La Motte.
IGN (1/25,000) #3544 OT "le Muy, Lorgues, Mont Roquebrune, Maures"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois"