Leave the Place du 8 Mai, towards the Town Hall, Cross the main street, and take in front of you, la rue des Farges which has got stone fronted houses.

Then go down the Gros Jean hill, on the left, until the Butcher’s street located on your right.

Go under the Gothic Archway, which is a vestige of one of the surrounding walls of St Saturnin. On your left, an ancient street stall has been restored where you may find now.

As you go up, you will pass the house of the squire of the king with his coat of arms (a chevron with 3 roses) still visible on the pediment of the door. Take la rue des Gourlettes on your right to get to the Castle.


The Castle (XII- XV centuries)

It was mainly built between the end of the XIIIth Century and the beginning of the XIV century. The Architecture of the Castle has a severe and a defensive look. The brightness of the fair Arkose as well as the volcanic grey stone makes it not so obvious.

The main building of the XIII century has got an earlier tower and two more, which were added in the XIV and the XV centuries. The front of the Castle has been restored during of the Renaissance.

The Castle has got 3 surrounding walls and is by it self, a striking military architecture specimen of the XIII century (with towers, curtains, bulwarks, covered ways, crenels and machicolation.

A frame built in the XV century covers the whole of the building.

The Castle belonged to the well-known La Tour. Through the centuries, Bernard VII Prestigious chamberlain of the king Louis XI has mainly restored it. The queen Catherine de Medicis, last descendant of La Tour, owned it a bit later.

The queen would stay within the Castle With her son the king Charles IX and all the court in 1566. Later, in 1586, her daughter the Queen Marguerite de Navarre is imprisoned for a few days inside the Castle before being forced to go to Usson. She returned there, free this time, in 1606.

The Broglie Family also staid in the Castle until the revolution and just after the King Louis XIII left.

The Castle, which for more than century was a quiet religious institution, went through, not much later, a very hard period, and was neglected and damaged. The present owners have undertaken a very important program of restoration. As much inside than outside, the purpose of the program is to give back to the monument its past splendour.


Nearby the Castle, on place de l’Ormeau, stands a fountain from the Renaissance period dug in the lava. It is one of the most ancient fountains of Auvergne. The style of the whole structure and the fact of the use gothic characters show that the Castle was built at the beginning of this century.

It has got a polygonal basin, of which each side is decorated with interlaced boughs crowned with coats of arms .It is possible to recognize the coats of arms of La Tour: muzzles in the style of the silver tower and those of the Broglie Family, gold with a sky blue string of Pearls and daisies as a souvenir of Queen Margot .

Take la rue de la Chantelle towards the church and carry on until the Chapel of la Madeleine. This little roman Church is less old than the big church that is the oldest building of St Saturnin.

Oriented towards the northeast and not the east, which is rare, it overlooks the ravine of la Monne. It could have been the first parish church of the Village or the chapel of a Benedictine priory founded in 1040, which is supposed to have existed in St Saturnin. The little garden next to the door dated 1668 invites you to meditate:


We have been like you,

One day, you will be like us

Think carefully about it.




At the far end, on the right of the Church, go through and walk around the Rue Noble, which got its name because many gentlemen who belonged to the court of La Tour and to their royal successors lived there. Some of the houses still partly kept their decoration of the end of the gothic period.

Retrace your steps and discover "place de l’église" opposite the Madeleine.

The Hotel Villot, whose front has undergone alterations during the XVIII century. The great window with mullions has stained glasses; it belonged to François Villot esquire, captain and governor of the Usson Castle where Queen Margot was imprisoned for a long time because of her notoriously bad behaviour.
It is the most contemporary of the great roman churches in the Clermont-Ferrand area. Erected in a single campaign in the XVII century it has suffered no damages during the revolution and its octagonal Bell-Tower with its two surviving floors was used as a model for the reconstruction of those, which had been damaged.

The stone used is a fair coloured arkose with some inlays made of black lava. The plan is traditional: three naves (area reserved for the worshipers) of four bays, a transept (area reserved for the choristers) and apse with ambulatory or walking gallery in semicircle with 6 pillars.



The nave: unadorned and severe has an unusual brightness. Most of the column capitals are adorned with foliage. The furniture comprises some beautiful gilt wooden statues and a St Verny (patron of wine-growers) near the entrance.

 You can get to the transept by following the left side and admire, as you walk past it, what is left of a fresco of the XV century, on the wall, when you come up to the first Bay.


The choir is elevated: the steps that lead you to it have an openwork design overlooking the crypt.

The sanctuary has a very simple design. The choir has a golden and wooden high altar, which came from the Castle’s Chapel on which one can see the crowned initials of HENRI IV and Marguerite de Valais. The absence of radian chapels in the ambulatory is what makes it particularly original.



The Crypt: we can get to it by taking two lateral staircases. Its design is the same as the choir (Horseshoe shaped). It is of sober design and has vaults and groins. Three windows ensure a discreet lighting.

The Crypt contains a lovely group of stone statues of la Vierge de Pitié with St Jean and St Madeleine (XV century).

Take once again the Rue de la Boucherie and carry on until la place du marché (on the right)

The knights of la Tour created this market. In the middle of the square, a structure that has been restored could lift animals (draught) and tie them up for treatment and shoeing. The installation that restricted the animals (to avoid the kicks) had 4 large wooden stakes.

To allow the shoeing to be done in bad weather, the animals were sheltered under a roof.

The work was only used for the cold shoeing of cattle that often belonged to an individual but was made available to the community that was responsible for the maintenance of the installation.

A pig Market took place before on that place during the two big cattle fairs (on St Gerauds day) patron of the village and on the1st of May.

These farms had to keep the Pastoral rhythm up.

They took place before the summering on mountain pastures and above all when the herd came down the mountain in September or October.

Opposite the installation we can see many village houses that belonged to the winegrowers.

They are mostly squat, with an outside staircase leading right to the accommodation.

The accommodation is small with a staircase (open on to a balcony)

The men’s accommodation accessible through the balcony is on the first floor.

The fermentation vats and the Castle’s accommodation are on the ground floor.

The winegrower’s house achieves the incredible feat of sheltering the tools, the harvest, the animals and the people within a very small space.

We can see the fermentation vats from the street though a curved door protected by a vault that supports the staircase and steps.

Most of these houses have unfortunately suffered from the alterations they have undergone but they allow us to visualize the past of a wine-producing region, the first producer French wine in the last century.