The Town of Saint-Chef with Ursula the Dragonfly

  • Église abbatiale de Saint-Chef
  • Jardin médiéval de Saint-Chef
  • Frédéric Dard
  • Eglise abbatiale de Saint-Chef
Église abbatiale de Saint-ChefJardin médiéval de Saint-ChefFrédéric DardEglise abbatiale de Saint-Chef


An amusing tour through the streets of Saint-Chef, following Ursula the Dragonfly across the village as she discreetly points out a few places of interest. You'll get a whole new angle on the abbatial church and discover the site's history!
The story of the village of Saint-Chef closely follows that of the Benedictine abbey which was joined the historical monument list as far back as 1840. This is because it was one of the oldest Romanesque churches of Dauphiné, and because of the 12th-century frescoes decorating its Chapel of Angels.
Saint-Chef Abbey, whose influence spanned twelve centuries, has left a profound mark on the local landscape. Its story begins in the hamlet of Arcisse at the beginning of the 6th century, when a young local lad, named Theudère, decided to leave the life he knew to join the abbey of Lérins.

He was ordained in Arles before returning to his homeland to found four monasteries. One of them was Val Rupéen Monastery, which probably stood on the site of the current church. Attacked and destroyed by barbarians, the monastery was rebuilt in 890 by Benedictine monks from Champagne, marking the start of a new era of remarkable growth.

So much so that the church was extended in the 11th century and, at the very start of the 12th century, decorated with Romanesque frescoes depicting the end of the world with Saint John's Apocalypse and the Celestial City of Jerusalem. Thus, around a dozen priories fell under the abbey's patronage along with about a hundred parishes of the surrounding area.

By 1536 it had become a noble chapterhouse and housed only twenty eight canons who, in 1774, decided to leave and join forces with the abbey of Saint-André-le-Bas in Vienne.

The church fell into neglect and suffered even more damage during the French Revolution, before being saved from the spoils of man and time by Prosper Mérimée who placed it on the national list of Historical Monuments in 1840. The church was then liberated from the four-metre depth of earth that had covered its northern and eastern walls, and the Romanesque frescoes were listed for protection.
Période(s) d'ouvertureFrom 01/01 to 31/12.
  • Section :
    • Cultural
  • Tourist itinerary :
    • Tourist itinerary
  • Pedestrian sports :
    • Pedestrian sports
    • Hide and seek/treasure hunt
  • Client profile :
    • Groups
Useful Information
  • Équipements & services :
    • Animaux admis
    • Parking proche ou sur place
    • WC publics
  • Parking :
    • Car park
  • Services :
    • Pets welcome
    • Guided individual tours
    • Guided group tours
    • Unguided group tours
    • Unguided individual tours
  • Documentation language(s) :
    • French
  • Bathroom/toilets :
    • Public WC
  • Accessibilité handicap :
    • Non accessible aux personnes en mobilité réduite

Good to know

Bons plansWhen you have finished filling in Ursula the Dragonfly's booklet, go to the Tourist Office to check your answers and receive your certificate!


Free of charge. For children aged 6 and above. (They must be able to read.).
The Town of Saint-Chef with Ursula the Dragonfly
1 Place de la Mairie
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Phone : +33 4 74 27 73 83
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  • Spoken language(s) :
    • French
    • English


La cité de Saint-Chef avec Ursule la Libellule
1 Place de la Mairie
GPS coordinates
Latitude : 45.634
Longitude : 5.3661
Locate on the map
  • Route :
    • Daily duration (minutes) 90
  • Environnements :
    • Village centre
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