Saint-Montan : a village with outstanding character
Historic site and monument in Saint-Montan, Ardèche
Opening : All year round, daily.
The medieval part of the village was in ruins in 1970. The “Les Amis de Saint Montan” association and over 9700 volunteers have spent 46 years rebuilding over 28 houses and restoring the walls of its two castles.
The castle, built on a hill, forms the center of the village. It was impossible to build a village around the church San Samonta because the soil was not suitable. Today we know that the original building, the central part of the castle, was built in the 12th century. It has been extended in the 14th century in order to have more accomodations. In the course of the following centuries it has been extended to the slopes. Gradually, the town walls have been extended to ensure the houses' safety.
During the 15th century, the village reached the river bank. The surface was now around 2 hectares. The village was surrounded by a huge wall that has been opened up often. A large part of it exists until today. This wall is accessible through three gates, that have been finally changed in the 15th century.
Probably it was the family "De Saint Montan" who arranged the castle's construction (written reference in 1110). However, from the 12th century on, Saint-Montan is a "Coseigneurie" (an area with several rulers).
After the destructions of the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, the castle and its components, shared between several rulers, had to face an increasing disaffection. (especially after Admiral Coligny's stay with his army of 1000 men and 400 horses).
The village was populated until the 1880's, then the houses have gradually been deserted. In 1970, the village was nothing but a debris and stones overgrown by thorns, bushes, ivy and trees. Thanks to the enormous effort work for more than 46 years by the "Association des Amis de Saint-Montan", the whole village has been reconstructed.