(Published August 2013, last updated April 2023)
Long ago, in the tenth century, Benedictine monks arrived in this corner of southern France. They built an abbey in a clearing in the forest beside the Célé River and lived here in peace for four hundred years.
In 1368, during the Hundred Years War, the abbey—dedicated to Saint-Pierre—was destroyed by the English invaders. It was rebuilt, only to be attacked again in the sixteenth century during the Wars of Religion.
All that remains intact is the Chapter House where the monks met each day, and which today houses a collection of carvings.
During the summer, guided tours of the ruins (en français) are available from the Tourist Office next door but visitors are free to wander through the remains of the abbey at any time.
Ask at the Tourist Office for a map of the village Les clefs de…Marcilhac-sur-Célé which will take you on a guided walk past fifteen historical sites and buildings, including the mill built by the monks in the Middle Ages, several grand nineteenth-century homes and the Tourist Office itself which is housed in a fifteenth-century half-timbered home.
Let’s take a walk around…
Which long-distance walk in France visits Marcilhac-sur-Célé?
Where is Marcilhac-sur-Célé, France? Find it on Google maps
Marcilhac-sur-Célé is located 290.8 kilometres (181.8 miles) along the Célé variante of the Chemin de Saint-Jacques—a seventeen day walk from the starting point of Le Puy-en-Velay.
Click through to find my suggested itinerary for all five stages of the walk
If you prefer to set your own agenda, I share the steps I take to plan my itinerary on any long-distance walk (using the Chemin de Stevenson as a case study)
Tourist Office in Marcilhac-sur-Célé
The Tourist Office is located next to the abbey but is open only during the summer months of July and August.
Download a copy of the map Les clefs de Marcilhac-sur-Célé or pick one up from the Tourist Office.
Accommodation in Marcilhac-sur-Célé
Options for accommodation in Marcilhac-sur-Célé are limited. If you are struggling to find a bed, Le Picarel (which is run by an English couple) is located two kilometres beyond the village.
Where to eat in Marcilhac-sur-Célé
There are a handful of cafés in Marcilhac-sur-Célé, some are open only during the summer months of July and August. Take your chances as you wander around the village or call into the Tourist Office and ask for recommendations.
If you need snacks for tomorrow’s walk, you’ll find a bakery and groceries down towards the river. And if your visit falls on a Tuesday during July or August, make the most of the evening market to stock up on fresh produce.
Purchase the 2023 editions of the Chemin de Saint-Jacques (PDF) guidebooks
Purchase five guidebooks covering Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port