Montsalvy travel guide

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Visit Montsalvy (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France)

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Montsalvy is a small town in the south-west of the Cantal department in the south of France, a few kilometres north-west of Entraygues-sur-Truyère.

A village has stood in this location sice the 11th century, when a monk called Gaudbert founded a church, monstery and hospital here, and a place where people could seek refuge - hence the name of the town comes from Mons Salvi, the "hill of the saved".

Montsalvy is listed among the "small cities of character" in France because of its architecture and history.

Explore Montsalvy

France This Way review: Montsalvy is a small town with an interesting historic centre, which although small is very pleasant to explore

There is a car park at the entrance to the village near the Castle of Montsalvy, and a good place to start your visit.

The castle we see today dates in part from the 15th century (the large square tower with round corners) although most of the building was rebuilt in the 18th century and was built in the position of part of the original fortifications for the town. It was later given to the town to be used as the retirement home for Montsalvy.

Chateau de Montsalvy

Next to the castle, the main gate to enter the historic centre of Montsalvy is called "Entraygues gate" and was originally a part of the fortified walls, so the door was closed each night and a portcullis lowered as part of the town defences.

If you turn right just inside the gate and follow the route towards the church you see the monks dining hall, built for Gausbert, which also includes a kitchen and bedroom for the canon. Next to here you reach the cloister of Saint-Gausbert, a courtyard built in medieval times, and the abbey church of Montsalvy.

The chevet of the church is very ancient, from the 10th century, and in the roman style. The church itself is part 11th century and part 14th century, and also largely in the roman style. The reliquaries in the transept of the church contain the relics of Saint Gausbert and Saint Bernard.

Next to the church you can see the 14th century Chapter House, which contains the treasures of the church, and the well from the original abbey.


If you pass behind the church you reach Rue des Toiles, the centre for cloth production here in the Middle Ages, and the House of the Weaver. Both hemp and wool were used in making cloth - hemp was very cheap and hard wearing and wool was softer and more expensive.

The small fountain that you pass, called Lo Grifol, was actually the main source of water for the residents of Montsalvy during the 19th and early 20th century.

Beyond here you reach another fortified gate in the defences, this time on the road that leads towards the north, the Aurillac Gate. There is also an attractive colombage houses near here, now carefully restored.

From here you can follow the main street through the centre of Montsalvy (passing the facade of the abbey church) to return to the start point of your tour.

Lo Grifol fountain in Montsalvy

Attractions nearby

There are several attractive villages and towns in this part of the Cantal. Our favourites are Le Fel (which also has a contemporary pottery centre) and Entraygues-sur-Truyére.

You will also want to visit Conques, south of Montsalvy and one of the prettiest villages in France.

You can find more travel ideas in the Cantal guide and the Auvergne guide.

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Address: Montsalvy, Aurillac, Auvergne, 15120, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 44.7081, longitude 2.5008

Plan your visit to Montsalvy, Cantal

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The French version of this page is at Montsalvy (Francais)