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Châtel-Montagne

Historic site and monument, Historic patrimony, Ruins and remains, Town / Village in Châtel-Montagne
  • Perched in the Montagne Bourbonnaise, Châtel-Montagne is one of the finest examples of Auvergne Romanesque art. In its ancient streets, you can discover the Tourist Office and its Romanesque Art space, the path of astonishment ...

  • The charming hilltop village of Châtel-Montagne (Castrum in Montanis) is home to one of Auvergne's most beautiful Romanesque churches.
    The edifice dominates the surrounding greenery. Built on a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary between the 11th and 12th centuries, it was part of the Cluny abbey.

    Châtel-Montagne has occupied a strategic position since ancient times, first as a Gallic oppidum, then as the headquarters of a major Roman garrison. The village was first attached to the...
    The charming hilltop village of Châtel-Montagne (Castrum in Montanis) is home to one of Auvergne's most beautiful Romanesque churches.
    The edifice dominates the surrounding greenery. Built on a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary between the 11th and 12th centuries, it was part of the Cluny abbey.

    Châtel-Montagne has occupied a strategic position since ancient times, first as a Gallic oppidum, then as the headquarters of a major Roman garrison. The village was first attached to the fief of the Dukes of Aquitaine, whose vassals were the Counts of Auvergne and Berry. Around 1216, it came under the authority of the Bourbons. Under Bourbon rule, Châtel-Montagne formed part of a defensive front against Forez. The importance of Châtel's crossroads meant that regular trade fairs were held, bringing wealth to the village. This fact is attested to by Châtel-Montagne's inclusion on the list of the 30 most important towns and villages in the Bourbonnais region in the 16th century.

    Châtel-Montagne castle, the seat of an important barony, protected the Bourbonnais mountain penetration route from Vichy to Roanne as early as the 11th century. Now in ruins, the fortress nevertheless reveals not only its strategic position atop a sheer plateau overlooking the Besbre, but also its layout: an enclosure with seven corner towers and a massive circular keep. In 1370, Erard I de Châtel-Montagne was a loyal companion of Duke Louis II de Bourbon. The barony passed through various hands before falling, in 1661, to Louis de Crevant, Marquis d'Humières, first Baron of Touraine, Marshal of France and Seneschal of Bourbonnais. His widow sold it to Etienne Brunet de Rancy, who passed it on to his son Gilles Brunet d'Evry, marquis de Lapalisse, lord of Châtel-Montagne, Saint-Clément and other lands. Poorly maintained since the 17th century, the château had fallen into such disrepair by 1720 that Gilles Brunet d'Evry gave up living there. The site has been considered of interest and has been the subject of an excavation campaign since 2019.
    Notre-Dame church, a superb example of Auvergne Romanesque, features an early 12th-century nave and aisles, while its ambulatory, radiating chapels and two-storey porch date from the late 12th century. It also features original capitals and traces of mural painting in the gallery, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. Its two-storey square bell tower dates from the early 13th century. Access on foot via the "Chemin des Dames" offers an interesting view of the building, which is one of the most famous Romanesque churches in the Bourbonnais region.

    The Châtel-Montagne Tourist Office has a Romanesque Art space on the history of the church (model, grimoires and video), a store (bookshop, selection of artworks and crafts), tourist information and rental of electric mountain bikes (adults) and classic mountain bikes (adults and children). ACER (Amicale châteloise pour l'église romane) runs guided tours of Notre-Dame, organizes concerts and works passionately to maintain and enhance the building (statuary, Way of the Cross, clock, stained glass, etc.).

    To discover the village, a 3.5 km "circuit d'étonnement" allows you to discover the natural and cultural heritage of Châtel-Montagne, thanks to riddles to be found along the way. Accessible to children and adults. Questionnaires are available free of charge from the Tourist Office.
  • Spoken languages
    • French
Services
  • Accessibility
    • Accessible for self-propelled wheelchairs
  • Equipment
    • Play area
    • Picnic area
    • Bar
    • Exhibition space
    • Car park
    • Restaurant
  • Services
    • Pets welcome
    • Coach access
Openings
Openings
  • All year 2024
    Open Everyday
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