Often perched on a rocky summit, surrounded by walls and majestic keeps, the ‘Villages de Caractère’ of the Loire are pages from the history book of the département. Loire Tourisme and the software platform Baludik offer interactive tours of the 12 character villages in the département for smartphone or tablet.
Perched on a 400m high promontory, this character village owes its fame to its Benedictine abbey dating from 1011 with a beautiful glazed roof, its 15th century priory, flamboyant–Gothic 15th century church and an altarpiece of the Passion of Christ.
Gourmet visitors are in heaven here ! After a walk along some of the many paths in Ambierle, at the crossroads of the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela and the Saint-Martin pilgrim way, have a gourmet experience at a summer producer’s market and taste wine from La Côte Roannaise and Sablé d’Ambierle biscuits.
At the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional du Pilat, the medieval village of Malleval overlooks the Gorges du Batalon. It has important heritage buildings from the Middle Ages : the church with its 12th century apse, chapels dating from the 16th and 18th centuries, a small 12th century castle, salt loft and commandery.
Enjoy a walk to the Cascade de Laurette, a 10m high waterfall. Lots of village events are held in summer including an evening market, open-air cinema and free dance evening.
Sainte Croix en Jarez
Sainte Croix en Jarez at the heart of the Massif du Pilat is unique in Europe - a ‘Chartreuse” (Charterhouse or Carthusian monastery) which became a village. A great place for a fun, cultural family outing to find out about the life of the monks who lived there for over 500 years.
A guide takes you around different buildings from the Cour des Pères to the Cour des Frères, from churches to ancient kitchens and to the reconstituted hermitage of a Carthusian monk. The village has many treasures to share including wall paintings, 14th century church stalls and a fortified facade.
Discover the Loire département, La Côte Roannaise, La Cité du Design and the ski resort of Chalmazel-Jeansagnière with Gîtes de France Loire."