Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Energy, culture et tradition

Energy, culture, tradition

Deeply involved in the development of the renewable energy (micro hydroelectric power plant, solar panels), the town was awarded a gold medal in 2010 for its solar energy programme. The highlight of the cultural season is the bread festival in August combining the tradition of the holy bread and the veneration of St John the Baptist relics. In the winter, it is the starting point to many famous ski resorts while in the summer, it leads to some of cycling’s most famous climbs like Madeline, Glandon, Croix de Fer, Galibier or Iseran.

The paradise of cycloclimbers


St Jean de Maurienne is familiar to Tour de France riders and fans. In 2010, Sandy Casar won the last stage to finish in town and he was made a honorary ambassador of St Jean along with Bernard Hinault and Bernard Thevenet. St Jean de Maurienne celebrates the bicycle in all its forms : road cycling with the Tour des Pays de Savoie, Criterium du Dauphiné, Classique des Alpes, mountain bike with the Transmaurienne-Sybelles, granfondos like the Avant-Tour between Albertville and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne via the Col de la Madeleine.

One previous stage in 2006 (start)
Savoie department
Pop: 9,400

Specialities : Mont Corbier, cheese (tome, reblochon, abondance, beaufort), Opinel knives.
Economy : aluminium, tourism, freight.
Motto : a town, the mountain.
Sport : ski.
Personalities : St John the Baptist, Humbert of Savoy, Jean-Noel Augert, Jean-Baptiste Grange, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Pierre Balmain.
Events : St Jean festival, fête du pain.

Timeline

  • 6th century

    Saint Thecle brings back from Alexandria three fingers from St John the Baptist. King Gontran of Burgundy turns St Jean into a bishop see.
  • 1032

    Humbert 1st, the White-Handed, becomes count of Maurienne. He is the founder of the Savoy dynasty.
  • 1075

    Construction of the St John the Baptist cathedral, which preserves one of the oldest roof structures in France.
  • 1326

    The population of Les Arves rebel against the bishop.
  • 1450

    Construction of the gothic cloister in the cathedral.
  • 1771

    Construction the cathedral’s porch, ordered by Charles-Emmanuel of Savoy.
  • 1888

    Invention of the Mont-Corbier liquor by abbot Guille.
  • 1895

    Joseph Opinel makes its first knife.
  • 1907

    Opening of the Pechiney plant (today Alcan).
  • 1912

    Birth in St Jean of French fashion designer Pierre Balmain.
One previous stage in 2006 (start)
Savoie department
Pop: 9,400

Specialities : Mont Corbier, cheese (tome, reblochon, abondance, beaufort), Opinel knives.
Economy : aluminium, tourism, freight.
Motto : a town, the mountain.
Sport : ski.
Personalities : St John the Baptist, Humbert of Savoy, Jean-Noel Augert, Jean-Baptiste Grange, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Pierre Balmain.
Events : St Jean festival, fête du pain.

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and cycling

The finish of the Tour in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in 2010 was very emotional and in particular for Sandy Casar, whose victory was due to both his athletic strength and tactical knowledge. He was in the breakaway group throughout the day, and when he reached the last kilometre, where riders get the drive to win, only Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez and Italy’s Damiano Cunego accompanied him. The stage was determined as Casar was challenged by the Spanish rider, who had beaten him the year before in a duel in Saint-Girons. Casar had the last word on this occasion. On that day Cadel Evans also donned the Yellow Jersey for the last time – until the final stage of the 2011 Tour.
St Jean also hosted the prologue of the 2011 Dauphine which saw Lars Boom win ahead of Alexandre Vinokourov and Bradley Wiggins.

One previous stage in 2006 (start)
Savoie department
Pop: 9,400

Specialities : Mont Corbier, cheese (tome, reblochon, abondance, beaufort), Opinel knives.
Economy : aluminium, tourism, freight.
Motto : a town, the mountain.
Sport : ski.
Personalities : St John the Baptist, Humbert of Savoy, Jean-Noel Augert, Jean-Baptiste Grange, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Pierre Balmain.
Events : St Jean festival, fête du pain.

What to see

St John the Baptist cathedral

The framework of the cathedral dates from the 11th century and the woodwork has been dated to1075. In the 15th century, celebrated bishops added a cloister, vaults and a Gothic choir. Three centuries later, the Princes of Savoy had a porch added.
The Museum of costumes, arts and popular traditions displays a fascinating collection of ancient pieces of clothing from the valley throughout history.
The Mont-Corbier museum tells the story of the famous liquor invented in 1888 by abbot Guille.

Opinel Museum

Jacques Opinel, heir to the illustrious family and a cutler himself, now runs the opinel Museum, installed in the former manufacture in St Jean de Maurienne. In the forge with its ancient equipment, an exhibition retraces the history of cutlery in Savoy and espcially the sotry of the Opinel family.

One previous stage in 2006 (start)
Savoie department
Pop: 9,400

Specialities : Mont Corbier, cheese (tome, reblochon, abondance, beaufort), Opinel knives.
Economy : aluminium, tourism, freight.
Motto : a town, the mountain.
Sport : ski.
Personalities : St John the Baptist, Humbert of Savoy, Jean-Noel Augert, Jean-Baptiste Grange, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Pierre Balmain.
Events : St Jean festival, fête du pain.

Opinel : one of the world's most famous knives

The Opinels had been blacksmiths since the beginning of the 19th century in the small village of Albiez le Vieux, near St Jean de Maurienne. But the family destiny changed in 1880 when Joseph Opinel designed his first knife and decided to specialise in cutlery. In 1909, the Opinel brand was registered and already bore its famous sign – the three fingers of St John the Baptist brought to town in the 6th century. Simple and handy with its wooden handle in the shape of a fishtail, the Opinel knife was an extraordinary success. At the start of WW2, 20 million knives had been sold. Today 260 million items have been produced, most of them equipped with the safety ferrule introduced in the 1950s. In 1973, Opinel left St Jean for Cognin, then Chambery. But the town where it all started keeps its memories alive in a museum dedicated to France’s most famous knife. The company has remained in the family, as it is now headed by Maurice Opinel, the founder’s grandson.

One previous stage in 2006 (start)
Savoie department
Pop: 9,400

Specialities : Mont Corbier, cheese (tome, reblochon, abondance, beaufort), Opinel knives.
Economy : aluminium, tourism, freight.
Motto : a town, the mountain.
Sport : ski.
Personalities : St John the Baptist, Humbert of Savoy, Jean-Noel Augert, Jean-Baptiste Grange, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Pierre Balmain.
Events : St Jean festival, fête du pain.
video13/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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