The heart of the Maurienne valley, where the course of the Arvan joined the Arc is a vast area whose slopes offer the variety of alpine landscapes with, in the background, the iconic Needles d'Arves. This is what has created a small town named Maurienne.
The relics of St. John the Baptist (the legend says they were reported by Saint Thecla) make the town the capital of the valley, she'll learn her name Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, and its image: a hand blessing.
Capital of a diocese, so the city built religious monuments which remain the overall plan, with a double cathedral facing the episcopal palace. These first buildings were destroyed in the disorders of the first millennium. We must therefore rebuild, what is done by reusing materials at hand: so fragments of sculptures from the Carolingian period are used in reinvestment in heavy pillars of the cathedral.
Close by the Notre Dame kept his bedside book, and a double gate arch, columns and capitals carved in gypsum (traditional material for sculpture Maurienne).
The cathedral, for its part, the date for any structural work of the 11th century. It has one of the oldest structures in France, since several of the roof trusses have been dated with precision: the woods were cut in the fall of 1074 or 1075. Under the choir of the cathedral had been built a crypt, probably to house the relics of St. John the Baptist. Filled in the 15th century, the crypt was rediscovered in 1958 and is now visitable: we discover the techniques of the Romanesque birth.
This medieval period Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne keeps his cross plan found in its north-south, the picturesque rue Saint-Antoine Street extended by the college. It takes its name from St. Joseph's College in the former Bernardine monastery, a fine example of 17th century Cistercian Heritage.
To all these advantages plus more than ever now tourism. Obligatory passage between France and Italy, a crossroads on the road of great passes, gateway to the many surrounding stations, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne is true to its slogan, a city, the mountain!