Saint John's Cloister and the Ambulatory

Saint John cloister was first the courtyard of the palace that Cardinal Etienne Aubert gave to the Carthusians when he became Pope Innocent VI. This was the highest point of the site and had originally been used as a barn and a wheat-threshing field before Etienne Aubert purchased the land to build his palace. The barn burned to the ground, leaving Etienne Aubert’s grand-nephew the liberty to build twelve monks’ cells at the time of the "second foundation" of La Chartreuse (cf. history of the building).
 
Cloître St-Jean
 
In the centre of the courtyard stands the Ionic order aedicula which dates from the late 1700’s. This aedicule was most likely made in the workshops of the Franque family, in Avignon. The stereotomy is remarkable and the work is clearly unfinished – the keys and the capitals are only roughly carved, which adds to its interest.

The pool dates from the 1600’s.

 Cloître St-Jean

The fountain is the center of a hydraulic system which channeled water throughout La Chartreuse. The catchment area was a place called L’Hermitage, on the heights above Villeneuve and the water descended via gravity through a buried conduit and an aqueduct. The pool fed by the fountain gave way to underground piping which distributed water to the Cloister of the Dead and The Sexton’s Courtyard, and the lay brothers’ quarter. A system of channels dug into the rock carried water into the cells.

To water their gardens, the Carthusians drew water from a water-wheel called a noria which had been located in the northwest corner of the monastery.

Saint John’s Cloister is slightly higher than the rest of the monastery. Here, the air was considered more pure and the cloister was reserved for the older monks. After the French Revolution, the cloister became the centre of a neighbourhood in the town of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and held up to 300 families.