Antoine Simon:
In Search of Religious Freedom

    Arvieux, France

Queyras Information







Arvieux was the home of Antoine Simon and his father (Antoine).  It is located in the l'Izoard Valley, within the current Hautes-Alpes department of France, and has a population between 300-400 inhabitants.  The altitude of the area ranges between 1138m and 2905m.  It is known for it's old houses and the St-Laurent Church of the 16th century.  The isolation provided by the surrounding mountains gave the Protestants a place to worship without constant attacks.  It had one of the higher protestant populations of the various villages in the region.  A Protestant church still exists in this small community.

Following Henry IV's Edit of Nantes in 1598, Arvieux was one of several communities in the Queyras Valleys where Protestants were allowed to gather and worship.  In 1630, the plague killed about two thirds of the population, followed by a fire in 1638 that burned the entire village.  After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, more than one third of the population emigrated to Switzerland, Germany and Prussia.

A famous fort-castle is located nearby (about 5 km) in Chteu-Queyras.  The Chteu-Queyras, built in the 13th century, was one site of fighting during the religious wars of the 16th century when Catholic armies were sent to suppress the Protestants.  After 1686, it was held by Catholic militia, following the defection of the Protestants in the region.  In 1692 it was attacked by a force largely comprised of Protestant refugees who were attempting to retake the valley.   The refugee force failed to retake the region, but rather left it devastated and plundered before withdrawing east into Savoy.

Today the l'Izoard Valley is included in the 15th stage of the Tour de France (cycling race).  Bicycle touring is popular in the summer and both alpine and cross-country skiing in the winter.  Arvieux is home for the administrative services of The Regional Park of Queyras

Valley of Arvieux
(Photographer: Philippe Dupont)

Valley of Arvieux
(Photographer unknown)

Arvieux Weather
(Photographer unknown)

(Photographer Steynard)

(Photographer unknown)


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(1)  Arvieux Website, <>.

(2)  "Arvieux", Wikipedia Encylopedia, <>.



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