Island of Mallorca - Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa, Spain - Chopin & George Sand
Island Tour of Mallorca
One day while on the Island of Mallorca, my husband and I decided to take another tour. We had already taken a City Tour of Palma but wanted to see more. One of the first stops was in the very scenic town of Valldemossa which is only 17 kilometers from the City of Palma where we were staying.
Riding there on the tour bus we saw not only forested areas amidst the rolling landscape of rocky shorelines and interior plains but also many olive and almond tree groves. The growing of those crops is a major industry on the Island in addition to tourism.
Hundred year old olive trees lend their gnarly forms to the landscape as well as the 7 to 8 million almond trees which make the Island look like its covered with snow in February when they bloom.
Beautifully shows portions of the town and seaport of Valldemossa
This beautiful Mediterranean Island has been inhabited by many different peoples including Romans, Carthaginians and Arabs throughout the centuries. All have left their marks on the Island which can easily be seen by some of the architectural remains.
Most of the buildings on the Island are constructed out of native stone.
Fishing villages and ports are located in different spots around the perimeter of Mallorca.
This has become an Island of choice for domiciles dating back to ancient royalty as well as modern day individuals wealthy enough to call Mallorca their home.
Artists choose to live here in great numbers and inspiration for their creativity is seemingly endless by the beauty seen everywhere in which an eye is cast.
Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa
This former Moorish hamlet lies 425 meters above sea level and is the highest village on the Island.
Valldemossa dates back to prehistoric times.
King James ll of Mallorca had a palace built on this spot and in 1399 it was given by King Martin the Human of Aragon to the Carthusian Order of monks for a monastery to be constructed.
Many renovations took place during the years and it was later converted into a convent. This change dates back to the 18th century.
In 1835 the government "dis-entailed" the convent and with the exception of the church and vestry it was put up for public auction.
While the monks were in residence, they each had three cells (rooms) and these rooms looked out onto a garden plot which each monk tended. It overlooked a beautiful view of the town below as well as terraced hillsides.
Carthusian Monastery photos from ValldemossaClick thumbnail to view full-size
An abundance of roses planted outside the monastery serve as markers in place of headstones in the cemetery for the monks who died here.
After the monks were gone many people stayed there as guests.
Chopin and George Sand
One of the more famous guests was Frederic Chopin.
In December of 1838 Chopin arrived in Valldemossa with the intention of staying there through the winter and hoping to improve his precarious health. He suffered from chronic pulmonary pneumonia.
Chopin lived with George Sand (pseudonym for Armandine Aurore Lucie Dupin) the French writer who wrote the booklet A Winter in Mallorca.
This is the book written by George Sand when spending time in Valdemossa with Chopin.
Her staying there was very scandalous especially for that day and time. She wore pants and smoked! They were not married! She was there with her two children!
Their several month long affair has now become part of a local tourist attraction.
What do you think of George Sand?
A Pleyel piano that Chopin would have played while there during the winter of 1838-1839 remains inside the monastery.
This video shows interior and exterior views of the monastery in which Chopin and George Sand stayed. It also includes the Pleyel Piano that Chopin used.
Today the site of the Carthusian Monastery is the most symbolic of structures when people think of Valldemossa. It certainly dominates the skyline of the small town.
Now open as a museum, tourists can roam through the rooms seeing how the monks and priests would have lived. There is a music room where local concerts are conducted. An annual Chopin concert is also enjoyed in this location.
Do you like the music created by Chopin?
The town of Valldemossa is also known for its crafts which consist of forging, ceramics and lots of hand-crafted embroidery. Many shops offer their unique handicrafts for sale.
Listen to Chopin while you look at photos of the Monastery and Valldemossa
The great beauty of its location with all of the stone houses, terraced hillsides, pretty little seaport and historic Carthusian Monastery where Chopin and George Sand once had an affair makes for an interesting visit to Valldemossa on the Island of Mallorca.
This author would definitely recommend a visit to anyone who comes to the Island.
Have you ever visited Valldemossa?
© 2009 Peggy Woods