Saint-Chef, the abbey city

  • Portail Gothique de l'église abbatiale de Saint-Chef
  • saint_chef_63.jpg
  • fresque_saint_chef_7974_hdr.jpg
  • saint_chef_9972.jpg
  • Château Teyssier de Savy
  • Jardin Médiéval
Portail Gothique de l'église abbatiale de Saint-Chefsaint_chef_63.jpgfresque_saint_chef_7974_hdr.jpgsaint_chef_9972.jpgChâteau Teyssier de SavyJardin Médiéval


The history of the village of Saint-Chef is directly linked to that of its Benedictine abbey, listed as an Historical Monument in 1840 for its Romanesque church among the oldest in Dauphine and chapel of the Angels, covered with 12th century frescoes.
Saint-Chef's Abbey, through its influence for twelve centuries, has deeply marked the local landscape. The story begins in the hamlet of Arcisse at the beginning of the 6th century, where the young Theudère, a native of the hamlet, decided to leave everything to join the Lérins Abbey.

Ordered in Arles, he returned 'home' to establish four monasteries, including that of Val Rupéen, probably on the site of the current church. Destroyed by barbarian raids, it was rebuilt in 890 by Benedictine monks from Champagne and experienced a remarkable boom.

So much that, in the 11th century, the church was enlarged and highly decorated, in the 12th century, with Romanesque frescoes, illustrating Saint John's vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem, the eternal city. The abbey then extended its patronage to a dozen priories and a hundred parishes in the area.

Becoming a noble chapter in 1536, the remaining twenty-eight canons decided to leave in 1774, to join the abbey of Saint-André-le-Bas in Vienne.

Abandoned, then damaged during the French Revolution, the church was rescued from the ravages of time and men thanks to Prosper Mérimée who created the first inventory of Historical Monuments in 1840. From that point, the church was cleaned up by removing the four metres of earth that had slipped on its northern and eastern flanks, and the Romanesque frescoes were protected.
Période(s) d'ouvertureAll year round, daily.
  • Type of culturel patrimony :
    • Historic site and monument
  • categories :
    • Classified or listed (CNMHS)
  • Historical patrimony :
    • Historic patrimony
    • Town / Village
    • Medieval town
  • Style :
    • Roman
  • Period :
    • 12th C
    • 11th C
Useful Information
  • Visit :
    • Guided tours
    • Educational visits
    • Themed tour
  • Individual tour services :
    • Unguided individual tours available permanently
    • Guided individual tours on request
  • Interior facilities :
    • Restaurant
  • Parking :
    • Parking
  • Cultural leisure facilities :
    • Exhibition space
    • Book shop
    • Media library
  • Leisure facilities :
    • Bar
    • Picnic area
    • Orientation board
  • Services :
    • Pets welcome
  • Group tour services :
    • Guided group tours on request
    • Unguided group tours available permanently
    • Guided group tours obligatory
  • Tour language(s) :
    • French
    • English
  • Help for client/practical :
    • Tourist brochures
    • Tourist information
    • Tourist routes
  • Information panel language(s) :
    • French
  • Audio-guide language(s) :
    • English
    • French
  • Pokemon Go :
    • Pokestop


Free access. If you want to visit the church :

- access to the lower part of the church is free.
- in the interests of safety and conservation, the high chapel and its famous Romanesque frescoes is only accessible with a guide and by reservation. Guided tours are take place every Sunday at 3:00pm from 12th June to 25th September 2022. For groups, visits are possible all year round (prior booking required). For more information, please contact the Saint-Chef Tourist Information Office.
Saint-Chef, the abbey city
mail / message
Phone : +33 4 74 27 73 83
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  • Spoken language(s) :
    • French


Saint-Chef, cité abbatiale
GPS coordinates
Latitude : 45.634063
Longitude : 5.366167
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