Valsonne is a town in the Rhone department. The river Soanan crosses the town. This is actually where the name of the town is derived. The ‘valley of the Soanan’ or Val de Soanan which became Valsoanan then Valsonne.
The existence of a megalithic burial chamber (Dolmen du Suchel) suggests the town has ancient origins. Over the centuries its has been under the influence of a number of parties, including the Lords of the Beaujeu, the Counts of Foret and the Archbishop of Lyon. The Archbishop of Lyon held great influence over the town in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The 14th and 15th centuries saw the town plundered and attacked by bandits.
The church dedicated to Saint Romain was built in the 19th century (1850-1885). It was built of pink granite from a local quarry. It took the residents 35 years to build. The interior paintings of the walls and vaults were done by Italian artists.
Eglise Saint-André Tarare
The Eglise Saint-André is a juxtaposition of two separate churches built at different times. The first is a classic church, oriented east-west, and probably built in the 18th century with some elements of earlier buildings. This one was restored in the 1820s. In the 1860s a new church is planned to be built which would require the first to be demolished. The new church was built between 1866 and 1870. This new neo-gothic church was oriented north-south and designed by architect Tony Desjardins. The war of 1870 intervened before the former was demolished. Instead, a simple connection was made between the two buildings.
Between 1963 and 1967 this connected portion was renovated, building a new facade and belltower and completed the actual connection of the buildings. From 1971 to 1986, renovation work was done to the entire structure (roof, facades and stained glass) given a youthful glow to this church.
The church in the center of town was built from 1855-1859 in the neo-gothic style. It contains a few pieces that were sculpted by Joseph-Hugues Fabisch including the tympanum above the main entrance.
Just outside town, on the top of Mount Rampeau is the Madonna of Villechenève which was built in 1869 on the site of an old windmill. It is a tower atop which stands a statue of the Madonna. The area around it is a picnic area that affords a view over the town and of Forez, the mountains of Lyon and occasionally Mont Blanc. Every August 15th there is an outdoor mass there.
Château de Chamousset
Located in the town of Saint-Laurent-de-Chamousset, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France.
The chateau dates from the year 990. In 1106 Lord Artaud the Bald gave the chateau to Guichard, Lord of Beaujeu. Then the chateau became the stronghold of the Abbey of Savigny. In 1283 the castle is at least partially demolished by decree of the Parliament. Its reconstruction is due to the Saint-Symphorien family who owned it for 300 years and whose coat of arms appears on the door at the top of the grand staircase. In 1525 the chateau enters the ‘Crémeaux d’Entraigues’ family by marriage. While under their ownership the chateau will host 2 different Kings.
In 1533 Francis I stops at the chateau on his way to Marseille to celebrate the marriage of his son Henry II to Catherine de Medici and falls ill. He ends up residing there for a month. Henry IV also stayed there as he was in love with a young woman from the Entraigues family who lived in the castle.
Between 1860 and 1880 the then owner of the chateau, Charles de Saint-Victor order major restoration work. This was done by architect Edmond Duthoit who was a disciple of Viollet-le-Duc. This work included the rebuilding of the Northern part of the chateau. In 1885 the main southern part is built, along with a new dungeon, the tower above the chapel and farm buildings. From 1892 – 1895 architect Pierre Gélis-Didot carried out decoration work in the neo-medieval style that was in favor at the time. This included the Dining Room ceiling, crows beam, painted frieze, fireplace, wood paneling, etc. The king’s room was done in a neo-renaissance style.
In 1944 it housed the command post of the French Forces of the Rhone in WWII. As an elevated place of the Resistance, nearly fifty paratroopers settled there in cooperation with the French, English and American Jedburgh. This is where the liberation of Lyon was organized.
It is of course classified as a Historic Monument. And you can rent it out for your wedding or another event.
Courzieu – Église Saint Didier
Courzieu is crossed by the ancient Gallo-Roman way of Aquitaine which was opened in 20BC by Emporer Agrippa, which led from Lugdunum (Lyon) to Bordeaux. It is on this road, according to tradition, that the body of Saint Bonnet, the Bishop of Clermont, was transported in the 8th century from Lyon where he had died.
The church of Saint Didier was built in 1896 on the site of the old castle of Courzieu. The bell tower was built in 1902-1903. It has a carillon of eight bells of which the oldest dates from 1726. It is signed Cochois and Cordelet and is itself declared a Historic Monument. The windows were made by Paulin Campagna.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in the area is the Parc du Courzieu, which is a wildlife park dedicated to European mammals. It was started with the basic idea of making a unique tourist attraction which was close to nature with the educational intent of informing to better protect. The park was started in 1980. It has been expanded up ever since, most recently in 2018 with the creation of the path of marmots.
Château de Lafay in Larajasse
Built in the fourteenth century by the Arod family. Characteristic of fortified castles of the feudal period, the facade is flanked by 2 round towers. It has been reworked several times of the centuries. In the 19th century, a facade and a tower were added, connecting the old building to the chapel
This castle was for a long time the seat of an important jurisdiction for the whole of the commune of Larajasse.
In 1982, it was partially classified ‘Historic Monument’ for its oldest architectural elements
Below the castle, above the brook “le Rosson”, the owners have built, to embellish the place, the Rocaille Bridge
Lafay Castle is still a family home.
Château de Saconay
Located in Pomeys, the chateau was originally built in the 14th century. It has been embellished, modified, and at times abandoned and neglected. But it has been owned by the same family since 1709.
In the 16th century, it was bought by brothers, Gabriel and Aymé de Saconay from where the chateau gets its name. They were knights who took part in the wars of religion; Ayme as a soldier and Gabriel as a clergyman who published writings against the Reformation.
The brothers enlarged the original fortified house and transformed it into a pleasure house. The living space is expanded by adding a vestibule and chapel on the ground floor. On the second floor above the vestibule was added an open Italian-style gallery which was decorated in grisailles frescoes.
Shortly after the brothers died (Ayme is 1572 and Gabriel in 1580) the only male heir, Theode, died shortly thereafter in 1586. In 1592 the chateau passed ownership to the Sarron family in the marriage of Jeanne de Saconay to Pierre de Sarron. The Sarron family would own it for the following century.
In the 18th century, ownership changed hands a number of times either by sale or by marriage. This period saw mostly interior changes to the chateau. Camille Darest de Saconay enclosed the upper gallery, by turning the arcades into windows. The walls were decorated with polychrome paintings depicting landscapes, antiques, and trophies. The chapel was moved to the end of the gallery. Woodwork and wood paneling was added, as well as parquet floors, wall hangings and tapestries, and silk canopies. On the exterior, statues of lions and dogs were added to the park and a new gate was put at the entrance of the property.
In the 19th century, Hyppolite Dareste de Saconay makes additions in the neo-gothic style that was in fashion at the time. A back entrance is added that looks like a dungeon. On the northern side, an orangery and a tower called “watchtower” were added. The watchtower housed fruit storage and a dovecote. It is still today equipped with its spiral ladder. A number of other buildings were added all combined giving the chateau a medieval appearance.
In 1903 Marguerite de Limoges Dareste of Saconay married Gaston de Brosse. This is when it entered the ownership of the Brosse family. Through succession, descendants of the Brosse family still own it.
The current owners took over in 1980. They have done a lot of work to the chateau including bringing in running water. This allowed for the creation of a kitchen, and bathrooms. Some rooms were insulated as there is no heating. The renovated a small living room and a dining room. They also undertook major work on the grounds. Renovation still continues today, most recently the restoration of the gallery and fixing of all the roofs.
It has been listed as a Historic Monument.
On September 7 & 8 2019 will be the Médiéval Pelaudes festival which will take place at the Chateau. Its an immersive medieval festival which will showcase acrobatics, music, fights, equestrian jousting, voltiges, puppets, activities for the children, storytelling, archery, ancient craftsmen and much more. I WANT TO GO!
Cathédrale Saint-Charles-de-Borromé de Saint-Étienne
Also referred to as just Saint-Étienne Cathedral, its a fairly modern building having been built between 1912 and 1923, although it was planned for much earlier. It was built in a primitive neo-gothic style, on the Latin cross ground plan with a transept and triple nave. There is a bell tower above the entrance on the west front. It was a highly ambitious church and is actually still unfinished.
The decision to build a large church was originally made in 1830 to serve the rising population of Saint-Etienne during the industrial revolution. The dedication to Charles Borromeo was an indirect compliment to the then monarch, Charles X.
A provisional chapel was built in 1829 (dedicated in 1840) as a temporary location until this was built. It ended up needing to serve until 1923, due to extreme delays caused by the secular authorities.
The original plans were drawn up by Pierre Bossan, architect to the Archdiocese of Lyon, and accepted in the 1860s. After many years in storage, they were unfortunately destroyed in a fire. The plans had to be reconstructed using preliminary sketches that happened to be kept by the children of Bossan’s partner, Jean-Étienne-Frédéric Giniez. Talk about luck. The architect who finally built the church was a local named Francisque Dodat. Construction began in 1912, however, only 2 years of progress was made before WWI delayed construction further until 1919.
By this time the endowment’s value had decreased and there was a shortage of labor. The church that was eventually built was significantly less than what had been planned. It is missing its belfry, turrets and a dome, as well as a multitude of internal and external decorations. The image to the left is how it was intended to look.
In 1970 the church was elevated to Cathedral when the Diocese of Saint-Étienne was created. In the 80s various repairs were undertaken and in 1992 its roof was redone.