Ancien Couvent de Ursulines

Not from the city of Lyon sits this abandoned convent, The Ursulines was (or still is) a sect within the Christian Order founded by Angele Merici. Several convents bear the same name, were built all over France, but as you walk around you can sense that something isnt right.

The Ursulines arrived in Viriville in 1837, founded by the two sisters Marie and Thérèse Bouvier of the parish. The Ursulines of Tullins and Orzon, Mr. Louis LeBlanc (Chateau de Viriville), as well as Father Maurel,  helped them to buy a house in the centre of the town. Built in a huge H pattern, it is believed to have been home originally to 28 nuns in 1903, they were dispersed in 1904 because of laws against the congreganists. They merged with the Sisters of Tullins in 1919 and the convent was closed in 1927.

The explanations on the closure of this convent are nevertheless mysterious, an cholera epidemic had taken over the convent causing the death of several sisters but nothing precise on paper can be found.

During its later life it would be used as a as a stop gap for many Serbian Refugees, who were escaping war during WW1.

The convent then remained abandoned for a very long time until it was decided to renovate it into a children’s holiday camp (Colonie/Village de Vacance) called Le Bocage.  Following the move of the Ursulines, the premises were bought by the Société Industrielle de Vienne, where the building was used for holidays of the workers’ children. Local stories say that in 1970, there were about 120 children in this camp (staying open via donations played a key part). All, without exception, were sequestered in the attic by the monitor of the colonie. The monitor killed them all before he killed himself. however there seems to be no proof of this event should it have happened.

1976, In a letter to the Senat, Mr. Paul Jargot explains to the Secretary of State to the Minister of Health that the A. R. G. I. L. E. (Association de recherche et de gestion
d’institut de loisirs et d’éducation), is currently struggling with
great difficulties  to achieve reintegration of young drug addicts, transvestites, prisoners, prostitutes, etc. that are now installed in a former convent, located in Viriville

In the 1990s, the site is sold and workers were said to be there starting renovations. But for reasons that remain unknown,  workers fled the construction site, as their equipment kept disappearing.

Today it is in very poor dangerous condition and sadly in 2017, the story continues as a teenager was seriously injured when they fell 5 metres after falling through the floors inside the building.


As it used to be – Colonie de Vacance

As it used to be – Colonie Serbe

A short video i have put together of a walkabout inside the old convent

Images 2019