Close to the church is the former house of Mallorca’s Patron Saint, Catalina Thomas, who was born a peasant in the town in 1531 and died in Palma in 1574 at the age of 43. By the time she was 8 years of age both of her parents had died and when she reached 21 she became a nun of the Order of St Augustine in Palma. In 1792, the year of Catalina’s beatification, the house was turned into a small shrine to her memory. She was canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1930.
Today visitors to Valldemossa are mainly attracted to the town for the monastery and its connection to the great composer Frederic Chopin and his French lover Aurore Dupin, aka George Sand, the writer who stayed there following the confiscation of the monastery by the government in 1835. Although Chopin remained on Mallorca for only a few short months it was perhaps the most musically productive period of his life. Today, daily concerts celebrating his music are held in the monastery’s music room.
La Cartuja is also home to an enthralling exhibition of the work of ecologist and scientist Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria (b. 1847) who was a renowned explorer and author, particularly of the Mediterranean. Also contained within the old monastery is an impressive collection of art by a selection of Spanish and Catalan artists.
In 2002, the actor Michael Douglas, who has a holiday property in the region, set up the Costa Nord Cultural Centre in Valldemossa with multilingual audio visual presentations on the history of north Mallorca and a mock-up of the interior of Archduke Salvator’s sailing vessel in which he toured much of the Mediterranean.