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Visiting the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa, Spain: Refuge of Chopin and George Sand

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Valldemossa village in Mallorca, Spain

Valldemossa village in Mallorca, Spain

Valldemossa, Spain

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 Valldemossa's very scenic town, which is only 17 kilometers from the City of Palma, where we were staying.

Riding there on the tour bus, we saw forested areas amidst the rolling landscape of rocky shorelines and interior plains and many olive and almond tree groves. The growth of those crops is a significant industry on the island in addition to tourism.

Hundred-year-old olive trees lend their gnarly forms to the landscape, and the 7–8 million almond trees make the Mallorca look like it's covered with snow in February when they bloom.

Many different peoples, including Romans, Carthaginians, and Arabs, have all lived on this beautiful island. All have left their marks of influence easily seen by some architectural remains. Native stone is the construction material for the majority of buildings.

This island has domiciles dating back to ancient royalty and 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.

This former Moorish hamlet lies 425 meters above sea level and is the highest village. Fishing villages and ports dot the landscape around the perimeter of Mallorca. Valldemossa's town is also known for its crafts, including forging, ceramics, and numerous hand-crafted embroideries. Many shops offer their unique handicrafts for sale.

Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa

King James ll of Mallorca had a palace built on this spot in Valldemossa, 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 at some point, it became a convent. This change dates back to the 18th century. In 1835 the government "dis-entailed" the convent, and except for the church and vestry, it sold on a 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.

An abundance of roses planted outside the monastery serves as markers for headstones in the cemetery for the monks who died here. After the monks left the monastery, 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, intending to stay there through the winter and 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. Her staying there was very scandalous, especially for that day and time. She wore pants and smoked, was not married, and she was there with her two children! Their several month-long affairs have now become part of a local tourist attraction.

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 people hold local concerts. An annual Chopin concert is also in this location. A Pleyel piano Chopin played while there during the winter of 1838–1839 remains inside the monastery.

Recommendation

The spectacular beauty of its location with all of the stone houses, terraced hillsides, pretty little seaport, and historic Carthusian Monastery makes for a fascinating visit to Valldemossa on the Island of Mallorca. This author would recommend a visit to anyone who comes to the Island.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2012:

Hello cherriquinn,

Perhaps the reason I was not stopped in taking photos of Chopin's piano is that I only took one. It was not posted that pictures were not allowed. I probably would have taken more also but it was hard to get a clear view with the group of people in the room. Nice that you also got to see Valldemossa and this Carthusian Monastery. It is truly beautiful! My photos on the moving bus hardly do it justice. Thanks for your comment.

cherriquinn from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne on April 23, 2012:

Valdemossa is beautiful.I also visited Chopins'secret hideaway! I have fond and funny memories as I began to take photos of his piano before being stopped! Of course I did not realize I couldn't but by then I had so many photos on my camera! Your photos of the journey up the mountain show it as I remember, simply breathtaking. Love this hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2012:

Hello JKenny,

That monastery you mentioned on Mallorca sounds interesting. Have you written about it? Wish we had more time to see more of that gorgeous island, but we were also being shuttled back and forth to see Olympic games and also touring Barcelona. Great times! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2012:

Hi John,

Glad that you liked this information regarding Chopin and where he stayed at the Carthusian monastery in Valldemossa for a time. Can't wait to read your hub and listen to you playing some Chopin. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2012:

Hi Brett,

There are LOTS of flowers on Mallorca since it is such a mild Mediterranean climate and many of them are lovingly tended by the residents who are lucky enough to be living on that scenic island. Glad that you liked learning about the history of Valldemossa. Thanks for your comment.

James Kenny from Birmingham, England on February 15, 2012:

A great hub, about a wonderful Island. Reading this, reminds me of when I visited the Lluc Monastery in the Northern Serra Mountains, Majorca. It was so remote, but beautiful at the same time. The route you have to take is...interesting, narrow mountain passes, with coachloads of tourists coming the other way, not for the faint of heart I can assure you.

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on February 14, 2012:

Hi Peggy,

Great hub! Chopin is one of my favorite composers...in fact: if you want to see me perform the finale of his 3rd Ballade, just check my hub on Chopin's Ballades and go to the link under the 3rd Ballade. ...very informative hub on the life of Chopin - voted up

John

Brett C from Asia on February 14, 2012:

An interesting guide to a beautiful area, but I hope that all the flowers in the picture aren't in memory of monk ... that's a lot of flowers! I like how you also included the history, for me that is often what makes a place more interesting, along with a different culture.

SOCIALLY SHARED and up.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 16, 2011:

Hi thelyricwriter,

Thanks for the compliments on this article and your votes. By leaving a comment you brought me back to that tour of the lovely hillside coastal town of Valldemossa on this most resplendant of Mediterranean Islands off the coast of Spain. Thanks!!!

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on October 16, 2011:

That George Sand is quite the character Peggy. But on to the brightside, another great travel hub Peggy. Your writing and research is great. I learned a lot from this. much more from you in general. The more you know, the smarter you are I reckon. Voted up, awesome, useful, and interesting my dear.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2011:

Hello Chamil,

Glad to hear that you liked this hub about the monastery in Valldemossa where Chopin and George Sand spent some time. Valldemossa is a gorgeous area on the Island of Mallorca. Thanks for your comment.

chamilj from Sri Lanka on April 26, 2011:

Hi Peggy,

Thanks for sharing this information with us. Great pictures too.

Chamil

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2011:

Hi mdlawyer,

Happy to hear that you enjoyed this tour of the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa on the Island of Mallorca. We certainly thought that it was interesting. Glad to hear that you did also.

mdlawyer on April 26, 2011:

Very interesting account, Peggy. Beautiful pictures. Voted UP! Rated beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2011:

Eiddwen,

Always so nice to hear that people enjoyed reading what one has created. We loved what we got to see on the Island of Mallorca and this Carthusian Monastery in the charming town of Valldemossa is a regular stop for tours.

I am also happy to have met you via HP and am enjoying your hubs. You take such wonderful pictures!

Thanks for the votes and generous comment. :)))

Eiddwen from Wales on April 18, 2011:

Hi Peggy,

I have so many of your beautiful hubs to catch up on.I am not paint or draw a picture to save my life but I have in the last couple of years grown to love taking photos of beautiful places , country scenes,sea-side photos etc and i love yours combined with learning all about these far off lands. You are a natural in conveying the beauty and charm.

I am so glad that I came accross you on here and hope to read your hubs for many years to come.

I push all the buttons, bookmark the lot.

Take care

Eiddwen.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 04, 2011:

Hello gfountas,

I do the same reading other people's travel hubs. Glad that you liked this hub about the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa and the link to Chopin and George Sand on the beautiful Island of Mallorca. Thanks for the comment.

gfountas from Iowa on January 03, 2011:

I am going to live vicariously through your travels.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 12, 2010:

Hi Tony,

We were so fortunate to have been able to spend some time on the Island of Mallorca and get to see things like the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa. Chopin and George Sand certainly made it a more famous spot to visit! Hope you get to visit Mallorca in person someday...but I know what you mean. At our ages there is just so much time and so many places...! Thanks for the comment.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on December 12, 2010:

The story and the pix are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them Mallorca has long been on my list of places to visit, though I doubt I'll even get there now! Will just have to rely on beautiful reports about it like this one.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2010:

Hi Billy,

Yes indeed! The Island of Mallorca would be a great vacation spot. If you go, be sure and visit the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa. It is a beautiful town. Actually the entire island is worth exploring and is a delight for the senses. There is a good reason why the King of Spain has his summer residence on that island.

billyaustindillon on August 10, 2010:

I have never been to Mallorca and would love to. It is certainly much cheaper to rent a villa out there now since the Spanish property market collapsed. It would be a lovely place to spend a slumbering vacation. Lovely photos Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 31, 2009:

Hi Suki,

We really enjoyed the time we got to spend on the Island of Mallorca. If we lived closer we would want to go back also. Lucky you! Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 31, 2009:

Hello Lee,

Guess I write the way I think (with some editing, of course!) LOL

Thank you for reading about Valldemossa, the Carthusian Monastery and Chopin & George Sand on the Island of Mallorca and leaving a comment.

Barbara C from Andalucia, Spain on October 31, 2009:

Great hub - very informative and I loved the photos. I was there many years ago and this has made me long to go back there - I live in mainland Spain but this looks much prettier!

Lee Thacker on October 27, 2009:

I like the way your brain thinks, makes me feel alive listening to what your thinking, very cool...Keep it up ...PS Now I Know Why I bookmarked your page ;-) ...Hope you are doing well,

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 26, 2009:

Hi loveroflife,

Glad that you enjoyed seeing the Carthusian Monastery and learning about Chopin and George Sand's romantic involvement on the Island of Mallorca in Valldemossa. It certainly would have been a great spot for R & R. Thanks for the compliment on the hub.

loveroflife on October 25, 2009:

This hub on Valldemossa is another example of your ability to capture history and scenic beauty. Thanks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2009:

Greetings Kim,

So happy that you enjoyed this hub about the Carthusian Monastery at Valldemossa on the Island of Mallorca. It is so pretty there! I can understand why Chopin liked it. Thanks for the comment.

Kim Garcia on September 09, 2009:

Hey Peggy!! I enjoyed my tour of Valldemossa, thank you!! What a beautiful place, such picturesque scenery. Truly lovely!! Peace ~K

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2009:

Hi James,

So glad that you enjoyed reading this hub about Valldemossa including the bit about the Carthusian Monastery and the stay by Chopin and George Sand. Certainly makes for an interesting bit of trivia when learning about this portion of what is on the Island of Mallorca. Thanks for your comment.

James A Watkins from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

I love this hub! The story the photographs—wonderful! Thank you very much for the tour of this magical place.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 31, 2009:

Hi Pete,

Yes, to think of people continually living in buildings older than the U.S. is amazing. Those old stone structures on the Island of Mallorca are beautiful and obviously stand up to all kinds of weather and wear and tear throughout the centuries. Thanks for checking out this latest hub. More coming...

Pete Maida on July 30, 2009:

It always amazes me to see the beauty of old Europe; though I know this is an island. Just thinking that these places have shops older than the United States. George was definitely ahead of her time.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 30, 2009:

Hi Lupo,

Always fun traveling and learning about new things. I have several more posts that will be written about other sights on the Island of Mallorca so if you liked this...stay tuned. Thanks for the first comment.

Lupo from Boston Area on July 30, 2009:

I knew none of what you related in your post so it was quite informative. It was fun reading about your trip since I too like travels that include visits to out of the way historical sites.

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