In Saint-Véran, the highest commune in the Hautes-Alpes and all of Europe, where ‘the roosters peck at the stars’, there was a house dating back to the 17th century – built in 1641 in the reign of Louis XIII, to be exact – and which had survived the many fires that ravaged the village over the centuries.
There was also an association of Saint-Véran-born villagers who loved their village and were collectors in a small way. They wanted to put their treasures from the past on display to the public in a museum.
In 1993 they bought this house, (the oldest in Saint-Véran) with its exceptionally well-preserved traditional architecture, and created the museum or Maison du Soum.
In this house, converted into a museum, all the exhibits demonstrate the difficulties of living in the high mountains. You will find well-chosen examples of everything concerned with daily life and with working on the land here in Saint Véran.
On the different floors of the Maison du Soum you can see the large room which the residents shared with their cattle; the hearth-room where the fire was kept going and the food was usually cooked; the store-room where bread was kept (it was only baked twice a year); the joiner’s workshop; the sheep-pen for the ewes, and much else besides.
This house and the museum it contains were taken over by the Regional Natural Park of the Queyras in 2006.
Life in the past in the Queyras
If you have enjoyed this museum and you would like to know more about the way people dressed, visit the Maison du Costume in Abriès. You won’t be disappointed.
Or if you want to know what school was like in the past, the School Museum in Brunissard near Arvieux will delight you with its old books, old benches, old exercise books and that smell of chalk, which never seems to disappear.
Other things to see in the Queyras
Also go and see
- the old copper-mine de Saint-Véran, of Saint-Véran, a unique open-air museum,
- L'Arche des Cîmes in Ristolas, the Regional Natural Park’s museum of the flowers and the animals ( diurnal and the nocturnal) of the Hautes-Alpes.