In the heart of the Margeride and the green valley of the Truyère, at an altitude of 865m, in the ancient country of Gévaudan, the fortified medieval city of Le Malzieu offers a very attractive stopover for history and nature lovers.
It is part of the Most Beautiful Villages of France since September 2021.
Its charm is due first of all to its paved streets, its fortified towers, the Clock Tower and the Bodon Tower, its ramparts and its superbly restored doors.
Without forgetting the Museum of the former Ursuline convent which hosts a permanent collection of sacred art composed of vestments and liturgical objects but also a temporary exhibition, renewed every year.
Finally, another notable element of the heritage, the collegiate church of Saint-Hippolyte-Le-Malzieu, third church of the city. It houses its "Treasure of Sacred Art", a remarkable collection of liturgical objects, accessible on Thursday afternoons during the summer and a magnificent 13th century "Virgin in Majesty" made of wood, lead and tin.
A bit of history...
Like many villages in Lozere, Le Malzieu-Ville seems to have been inhabited since the Neolithic period! But the oldest written mention of the village dates back to 881.
In 1055, Le Malzieu became the property of the Barons of Mercœur, a powerful family belonging to the eight baronies ruling the province of Gévaudan.
The priory of Saint-Hippolyte was founded by the monks of the abbey of Saint-Gilles. In the 13th century, Le Malzieu saw the construction of its defenses, ramparts, clock tower, keep, watchtowers, fortified gates, to protect itself from the brigands who were ravaging the country. However, the city was besieged and plundered several times during the Hundred Years War and then during the Wars of Religion.
In the 17th century, after a dark episode of black plague, a terrible fire ravaged the city... This period was also the time of the creation of the Confrérie des Pénitents Blancs (White Penitents Brotherhood) in the current premises of the town hall.
The medieval city of Le Malzieu and its surroundings were also the scene of the famous story of the Beast of Gévaudan, which traumatized the inhabitants of the region from 1764 to 1767. During your visit you will discover statues representing the history of the Beast of Gévaudan and the different hypotheses considered by the historians.
Finally, during the Second World War, the Margeride became a land of welcome for Jewish families as well as for artists, thinkers, scientists and resistance fighters.
Le Malzieu was also a place of passage for pilgrims coming from Le Puy-en-Velay on their way to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, as attested by certain period maps and shell inscriptions.
One cannot pass over without mentioning the Via Ferrata where two acrobatic courses secured on the cliff side are proposed above the superb Gorges of Truyère! Without forgetting the 67 routes of the climbing site of Le Malzieu which will delight the lovers of climbing!
A festive village
Festivals, concerts, animations, markets, fairs, festivities, Malzieu-Ville offers a complete range of events.
First of all, the Médiévales du Malzieu when, every year, during the Ascension Day bridge, the medieval city puts on its pennants, banners and coat of arms for three days of festivities!
Then, Les Rencontres Musicales du Malzieu, at the beginning of August, when Le Malzieu hosts meetings where classical music and heritage meet. Four days of workshops, initiation for the youngest and concerts in the open air or in high places of the local heritage.
The "Journées de la Bête" (Beast Days) take place at the end of August and unveil the eventful history of the Beast of Gévaudan during a festive weekend. On the program: conference on the history of the Beast, art contest, great "Dictation of the Beast", local products, night market and concert in the evening.
Margeride en Gévaudan Tourist Office
Tour de Bodon,
48140 Le Malzieu-Ville
Tel : 04 66 31 82 73
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator