A large, ancient monastery hidden in the thick forests of the Maures mountains west of Saint Tropez.
The Chartreuse de la Verne is a Carthusian monastery dating from the 12 century. Having been destroyed by fire several times over the centuries, the current buildings are those rebuild during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The current Chartreuse is a lovely and imposing set of buildings, completely isolated in a hilly forest of pine, oak and chestnut, overlooking the artificial lake, Lac de la Verne.
The abbey can be visited most of the year (see Abbey, below).
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History of Verne Chartreuse
The original monastery was founded about 1170 by Pierre Isnard, the bishop of Toulon, and Frédol d'Andouze, the bishop of Fréjus. The first Romanesque church built there was consecrated in October 1174. This church was destroyed by fire and rebuilt.
The Chartreuse was ravaged by fire in 1214, 1271 and 1381, each time destroying all the buildings except the church.
The Chartreuse was a great spiritual influence up to the time of French Revolution. In 1790 the contents were impounded. In 1792, following the departure of the Carthusians, the buildings and the land were sold as national property.
The original high alter from La Verne is now located in the Chartreuse of Montrieux, near Méounes-lés-Montrieux, about 40 km to the west.
• GPS: 43.236074, 6.326408
IGN (1/25,000) #3445 OT "Cuers, Pierrefeu-du-Var, Collobrières"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois"
We hiked in from the west side, from a road east of Collobrières , to the Chartreuse. Only 1h45 one-way, without rushing. We made a loop hike, continuing past the monastery down to the Lake Verne to the east, then circling around to the south and back west to our starting point.
Starting point: Collobrières, east on the D14. After 2.5 km, branch right (south) on the D14 (direction Grimaud, Chartreuse de la Verne). 3.2 km after the right-branch, there's a junction where you make a hard, hairpin right turn onto the D214 road. 100 m further is a parking area, with a menhir, at the Croix d'Anselme. Park and put on your boots.
Hike: Using your IGN hiking map, set off down the D214 road east. Near the bottom of a hill, 850 m from the parking, turn off to the right (south). Ford the small river and follow the trail up the hill to the south. Well-marked trails, and your map, will lead to the Chartreuse.
Transportation Verne Chartreuse
The Chartreuse de la Verne is accessible by car, via a fairly narrow but well-paved forestry road.
From Collobrières, go east on the D14. After 2.5 km, branch right (south) on the D14 (direction Grimaud, Chartreuse de la Verne).
At 5.7 km (3.2 km after the right-branch), there's a junction where you make a hard, hairpin right turn onto the D214 road. Continue on this paved forestry road all the way to the Chartreuse (11.3 km from Collobrières).