Arvieux is a mountainous commune of snow-covered mountains in rough terrain. The economy of the commune is tourism. So it is often visited by tourists to enjoy the beautiful nature and mountains, do active sports: in winter tourists usually involved in skiing and in summer - in mountain climbing and hiking.
In ancient times at the place of modern Arvieux there was a settlement, called Quariates by the Romans. Hence was the name of the valleys - Queyras. During the Roman Empire, the region suffered from enemy invasions, especially from the incursions of the Saracens. Since 1050 the Queyras valley, and, accordingly Arvieux, became a part of the Kingdom of Dauphiné of Vienne, one of the so-called «universities». In 1349, after signing the Charter, Dauphiné was transferred to France. That time Arvieux was a rich city. But religious wars and plague did not spared the region. In 1638 the village was burned. After the French Revolution Arvieux received the status of the commune. Residents were divided into two religious communities: Catholics lived in the villageof Arvieux and Protestants settled in the mountains, in the hamlets of Brunissard and La Chalp. But difficult conditions in the mountains and natural disasters forced the people to move down the valley. So Arvieux became the most populous point than any other villages of Queyras Valley.
Historically developed so, that society in Arvieux was divided into two castes: the lower race of people - Gens du Renom and a kind of local aristocracy - Gens de la Belle. Only in the second half of the XX century, this difference was erased thanks to solidarity of rural residents. Today Arvieux widows and orphans are on the first place.
The economy of the village is mainly based on agriculture and tourism. In the valley, where Arvieux situated, it is a mild climate that promotes remarkable growth of crops.
In the commune there are many religious buildings, which are the historical heritage of the region. Among the main attractions of Arvieux it worth to see a fairly large and beautiful church of Saint-Laurent (Chapel of Saint-Laurent) in the southern part of the commune, built in the XVI century with a sharp spike and double-layer on top of the bell tower. During the religious wars of the XII century church building was badly damaged but later the church restored twice. The last repairing was conducted in the XX century. Now the church is a historical object protected by France.
In the center of Arvieux there are number of other religious buildings, including the Benedictine Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene (Chapel of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine), with ancient relics and Roman stone, which carved the name of a man named Albanus Bussulus. In the I-st century he was a perfect of western Alps. There are another churches - the Chapel of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul, Saint-Marsellina (XVIII century), Saint-Roch (1715), Saint-Romuald (1789) and Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur.
Like in many Provencal villages, you can see unusual sundial at the houses in Arvieux. Some of them are about 200 years old. The most interesting – in Baroque style, is in Escoyėres (hamlet at the beginning of the village) and dates back to 1842 year. Another it can be seen in the chapel of Saint-Roch, made by Giovanni Francesco Zarbula in the so-called «period of birds» in 1857. There are modern sundials of complex structures that fully comply with the spirit of the region.
In the construction of office buildings and private houses of the village it is clearly allocated the special architectural style, typical of the Queyras Valley heritage. In Arvieux a large number of farm buildings are registered as historical monuments. For example, there is a bakery of the XVII century and cheese-making plant in Les Escoyeres, a bakery of the XVIII century in Brunissard, The Fantin House and others. Be sure also to visit the old mill and restored potter corner in Arvieux. You should go to La Chalp and see how to create wooden toys, and in Brunissard to visit the school museum.
Locals of Arvieux are engaged in such crafts as pottery, manufacturing of wooden toys and carved furniture. In late summer, an unusual pottery fair is held in the village where craftsmen exhibit on display handicrafts made in ceramic technology - handmade items made of porcelain, clay, sculptures of ceramics, other.
In 1934, it was opened a mountain pass of Col d'Izoard at Arvieux, which made the commune one of the brightest points in the Tour de France. In winter the pass is closed. In 1977, there was created Parc naturel régional du Queyras, which helps to implement a joint project of sustainable development, based on protecting and enhancing the cultural and natural heritage, inform and train local residents on environmental protection, promotes scientific research programs.
Outstanding people of Arvieux:
Albanus Bussulus – a prefect of the western Alps in I century
Interesting events in Arvieux
- Cup ski racing «Cadet France Championship» - January
- Ski competition in the Southern Alps «Le Grand Béal» - early April
- Potter Arvieux market (Marché potier de Arvieux) – August