With 87 towns and villages, Loire Forez is one of the largest local council communities in France. Discover our towns and villages, then succumb to the charming history and the beauty of each one. They all contribute in their own way to making Loire Forez a must-visit destination.
Saint-Bonnet-le-Château, a village with character
Stroll through the cobbled streets of the historic district and discover its 15th and 16th century bourgeois houses, then climb up to the Collegiate Church to admire an exceptional panorama; from the Forez plain to the Massif Central, the Pilat and the Alps.
This former count’s castellany has retained part of the fortified town wall and, along its cobbled streets, are a line of bourgeois and aristocratic houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The collegiate church, in Gothic style (early 15th-16th centuries), is remarkable for its size and understated style. Exceptionally large wall paintings, executed around 1425, adorn the upper church and the crypt.
Saint Rambert – medieval quarter
Saint Rambert is rich in architectural heritage. Sites to see:
– The church of Saint-André, the largest Romanesque church in the department, which has a characteristic bell tower and a porch tower (built in the 9th century)
– The chapel of Saint-Jean which was Saint Rambert’s first church
– The “Porte Franchise”, the only gate belonging to the old enclosure still visible.
– The many half-timbered houses
– The former convent buildings of the priory which now house the Museum of Civilisation.
Champdieu a village with character
Champdieu gets all its character from its medieval origins. Between the hills and the plain, the village was built under the protection of the high walls of its priory and in the shadow of the two bell towers of its church. Guided tours are available to explore:
– the Romanesque church and its crypt
– the convent buildings and especially the refectory with its 15th century fresco
– the Porte Bise and the Romanesque art centre
– the old hospice (15th century)
The Vieil Ecotay site – keep and church of Ecotay
The site of Vieil Ecotay is one of the most picturesque places in the Forez area. Built on a rocky outcrop, the keep next to the Romanesque church is the last remaining evidence of the Lordship of Ecotay, one of the most important of the medieval period.
Below, bordering the two rivers, the village with its stone houses and terraced gardens has retained a rare authenticity.
On a steep site, at the confluence of two rivers, the Cotayet and the Chavaran, the remains of the Ecotay keep (10th-11th centuries) stand above the village. Locally known as the King and Queen, these two sections of wall dominate the village.
Sauvain, a village with character
With its stone houses arranged around its Gothic church, Sauvain is a typical Monts du Forez village.
The ancestral birthplace of the Fourme de Montbrison cheese, its cheese dairies and its museum continue to keep the tradition alive.
The landscape is made up of high plateaus interspersed with deep valleys, covered with moors where heather and bilberries grow. Pastoralism has been rooted here since the Middle Ages, and the moors have been populated with jasseries (farms where Fourme cheese is made), a hundred of which still exist.
Cervières, historic village
The history of this village dates back to the 12th century, when it was part of the earldom and then the province of Le Forez. It is the history of a chateau and a little town in the middle of a clearing in the woods. Its interest lies in its beauty and quality of the local architecture, which has been exceptionally well preserved. A hundred or so houses, protected by an enclosure of which two gates, towers and walls remain, were added to the castle. Until the revolution, Cervières was the seat of an important jurisdiction: its castle was considered the best stronghold in the Forez area, bordering Auvergne.
Montarcher, a village with character
Montarcher, a small village in the heart of the southern Haut-Forez, perched at 1,162 metres, offers an exceptional 360° panorama of the Velay and Forez regions.
A listed site, Montarcher is classified as a “Village with Character” and has remarkable heritage. Montarcher has long attracted walkers. After the climb, admire the panorama, visit the beautiful hilltop church whose choir dates from the 12th century, discover the remains of the old medieval castle and enjoy its invigorating air and charm.
Saint Marcellin en Forez, a fortified medieval village
Formerly a castellany of the Counts of Forez, the imposing remains of St Marcellin’s ramparts from its past as a “bourg castral” have been preserved. The space that the ramparts demarcate was where the old village, which was built around the church, was concentrated. Sites to see:
– the House of the Armorial (14th century) and its museum area
– the Romanesque church (12th century)
– the chapel of Sainte Catherine (12th century)
– the ramparts
Marols, a village with character
Located in the Forez mountains, in the heart of the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region, Marols is a thousand-year-old town built around its hamlets. Classified as a village with character by the Loire department, Marols also stands out due to the beauty of its natural environment and the proximity of the leading towns in the region.
Facing a majestic panorama, the fortified church now marks the centre of a place for encounters, between tradition, modernity and a gentle way of life.
Roche en Forez
Come and discover the village of Roche en Forez, the architecture of the stone houses, the 15th century church with its 33-metre-high bell tower and its numerous monolithic crosses. The church of Roche has remarkable proportions, especially for such a small parish, and is a site that deserves a visit. It dates from the 15th century and appears monumental because of its square bell tower which rises to a height of 33 metres, supported by buttresses coupled two by two and crowned with gargoyles and pinnacles.
Loire Forez is the destination “par excellence” for families. We are committed to creating your best family memories!
A picnic by the water, a pony ride, an activity in the trees or a cuddle with the animals… Experience exceptional moments surrounded by your loved ones.