From Luc to Saint-Luc

For centuries, the seasons, the remuages (movements) of the Anniviards brought them either to their homes in the valley of the Rhone or to their dwellings in the mountains. Columns of men and beasts, crushed under the weight of household paraphernalia, followed the winding trail, often suspended above the void.

  Map of St-Luc

Despite the modern road, the Val d’Anniviers has retained its characteristics of a “country within the country” and Saint-Luc is a typical case that justifies this saying.

Clinging to the side of the valley, the village has a very favourable exposure to the sun. The first rays of morning light bathe the village and in the evening, Saint-Luc escapes for a long time the shadows cast by the mountains, in which the rest of the valley is engulfed. This geographical characteristic is also the source of one of the interpretations of the meaning of the name of the village : the Latin word lux means “light.” Formerly Saint-Luc was called “Luc” (1309, 1312, 1327).

This spelling was not used continuously through the centuries; it was also called “Lus” and “Lucx” (1408). The “Saint’’that precedes Luc is a recent addition that became common only after 1900. The fact that the village had its church built belatedly confirms the certainty of historians : the name of the Evangelist Luc is not the original patrimonial name of the place.

The interpretation based on the sunshine of the place is actively disputed by some specialists. According to them, the name derives from the Celtic word “luc” (wood, grove). A Latin word could also be the source of the name Saint-Luc : lucus meaning sacred grove or forest.