Visit Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei (Normandy, France)
St-Ceneri-le-Gerei is found in the Orne department of Normandy to the south-west of Alencon. It is a very pretty village in a lovely wooded setting on a bend in the River Sarthe in the heart of southern Normandy, and officially classified as a 'most beautiful village of France'.
The history of the village dates from the 7th century when an Italian called Ceneri decided to settle here, having witnessed a miracle, and soon attracted a group of disciples who constructed a monastery (the original monastery was destroyed by the vikings in the early 10th century).
Start your visit on the little stone bridge that crosses the River Sarthe, and a look at the pretty houses along the river banks. The village on both sides of the river is of interest, with picturesque cottages running up the hills from the bridge.
heading up the hill into the historical centre of the village you will see the main town square and an 11th century church. The church is in a simple roman style, the main decorative element being the arches in the clocktower, and contains some very high quality frescoes painted from the 14th century onwards. In part, the frescoes are in such good condition because they were plastered over in the 17th century, only to be redicovered 200 years later.
Further along the river there is small 15th century chapel on the site where Saint-Ceneri originally settled. The chapel contains a statue of Saint-Ceneri to which various miracles* have been attributed, both at the time that Saint-Ceneri first settled here and in the following centuries.
* Young ladies hoping to get married soon should bring a needle with them to the chapel to stick in the robe of the saint - if it stays in place you will be married within a year. Equally, ladies wanting to get pregnant should lie on the large stone in the chapel floor, which was the stone on which the saint slept, and can expect to fall pregnant shortly.
On the opposite banks of the river is an old water source which is attribued with the powers of healing eye problems. There is a path from the bridge to the 'miraculous source' that follows the other river bank.
Nowadays the village is better know for attracting artists than disciples, attracted of course by the unspoiled character of the village, and several artists have established galleries and workshops here.
Attractions in the region
Nearby the Gardens at La Mansoniere are also recommended, with several different 'garden rooms' to be explored.
Canoeing along the Sarthe river through and near Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerie is a popular local activity. You can also walk to the summit of the Mont de Avaloirs - although only at an altitude of just over 400 metres, it is the highest point in the region and has far-reaching views.
Photos taken within 10 km
Tourist classifications for Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei
Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, Alençon 1er Canton, Alençon, Orne, Normandy, 61250 || GPS: latitude 48.3808, longitude -0.051389
Map of Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei & places nearby
Highlights close by
Bagnoles de l'Orne 33km
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei, France
- Normandie-Maine - regional natural parc (17km)
- Carrouges Chateau - national monument (21km)
- Sassy - remarkable garden (32km)
- Jublains - town of art and history (35km)
- Evron - town of art and history (36km)
- Sainte-Suzanne - most beautiful village (38km)
- Saint-Loup-du-Gast - ville fleurie 4* (39km)
- Coulaines - ville fleurie 4* (44km)
The French version of this page is at Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei (Francais)