Le Mont Journal

A site with many faces

This multi-faceted commune covers a wide range of altitudes, from 658 m to 1,183 m!  The village of Ferrières is ideally situated along the river Alagnon and the N122 road, and is the gateway to this vast hiking and fishing area. Here you will find a recently restored campsite planted with trees, with special facilities for motorhomes. 

Living in Ferrières-Saint-Mary

Ferrières is a lively place, and its villages are no exception! Many associations liven up the town throughout the year.

  • The cider and apple festival, which takes place every year on the third weekend in October, is one of the most prestigious events, as is the patron saint’s day on the 15th August.
  • Its summer market on Thursday evenings and summer excursions around Mont Journal are also popular with locals and visitors alike.
  • You’ll also find a range of shops: bakery, grocery shop, hotel-bar-restaurant for travellers, campsite, etc.
Saint Mary le Cros


The fascinating history of Saint Mary

Saint Mary, first evangeliser of Haute-Auvergne

In the 3rd century AD, Saint Mary was sent by the 1st bishop of Clermont, Saint-Austremoine, to the site of Mont Journal (which was known as Mont Jovis at the time and occupied by a temple to the glory of Jupiter) to preach Christianity.

This is evidenced by the presence of the Chaire de Saint Mary, a basalt block in the shape of a seat, with armrests bearing the imprint of the saint’s fingers, which cures back pain...

His sepulchre can be found in the foundations of the church of Saint-Mary-le-Cros, as well as his 15th century coffin, listed as a Historic Monument. Today, the reliquary arm of Saint Mary, which is also a listed Historic Monument, is once again on public display, but in a secure case in the church at Ferrières.

Fountain of Saint-Austremoine


Sepulchre of the evangeliser of Haute-Auvergne

After travelling through the Haute Auvergne (Cantal) to evangelise the people, Saint Mary lived as a hermit in the Hermitage cave in the Alagnon valley, while continuing to preach at the foot of Mont Journal from the Chaire de Saint Mary.

After his death, a mausoleum in the 5th century and then a church were built to serve as the saint’s sepulchre, and to house his bones in a reliquary shrine on the site that would become Saint-Mary-le-Cros.

Devotion to the Saint flourished around the church, which is one of the oldest in Cantal. In fact, this village was to become the commune’s first administrative centre up until 1888.

The 9th-century Romanesque church, listed as a Historic Monument, is home to a number of treasures, including:

  • Saint Mary’s coffin donated by the royal family in the 15th century;
  • the Merovingian reliquary shrine, shattered by the troops of Ermangarde in 1050, to steal the relics for the benefit of Mauriac, in order to bring wealth to the latter through pilgrimages.


Fountain of Saint-Austremoine 

On the route from Mont-Journal to the village of Saint-Mary-le-Cros, you will find the Saint-Austremoine fountain.

In fact, Saint Mary was one of the disciples of Saint-Austremoine. Legend has it that the latter did not have time to greet his disciple before his death, but instead caused a spring of water to gush forth from the site. This healing spring can be found along the Via Arverna from Santiago de Compostela.

Mont Journal, the highest point in the Saint-Flour planèze

Situated at an altitude of 1,183 metres, this volcanic puy has been a place of worship since Very Ancient Times. The sun was worshipped here, followed in Celtic times by the god Jovis / Joux (Mont-Jovis / Mont-Joux) and then Jupiter in Gallo-Roman times and by Saint Mary. This renowned archaeological site is also a unique natural site, with a 360° panorama unveiled by enamelled lava orientation tables.

This site is also a favourite with astronomers, and “Encounters with the Stars” theme evenings are held here with the “Autour du Mont Journal” association.

Since 2021, a life-sized sculpture of Saint Mary as a pilgrim has greeted hikers at the summit.

Le Mont Journal

Mont Journal - Ferrières-Saint-Mary

Via Arverna a trail to Compostela

This secondary route of the ways of Santiago de Compostela crosses Cantal from Clermont-Ferrand to Cahors and crosses the whole of the commune of Ferrières-Saint-Mary, passing close to Mont Journal, the Chaire de Saint Mary, through Saint-Mary-le-Cros, before coming back down to Ferrières: a sign forged by a local resident is in front of the hotel to remind you of this Jacobean heritage!

Via Arverna a way to Compostela

Via Arverna

Other attractions in Ferrières


The village proudly boasts an abundance of fish life in the river Alagnon, with information signs along the banks of the river.

For our fishing friends, the tourist accommodation area (campsite and chalets) is close to the Alagnon and its tributaries (La Bouzaire and Rivière de Valjouze).

Trout and grayling are sure to be in the mix. As for salmon, you may need to be more patient. Although they are gradually returning to this river, Mother Nature still needs a little more time. Anglers, your paradise is here!

The orchard and educational trail in the Alagnon valley

Discover the treasures and beauty of the Alagnon alluvial forest by following its educational trail, part of the Natura 2000 area, which links the tourist accommodation area (campsite and chalets) to the market town of Ferrières, by following the river.

An oasis of fresh air in summer, with four information signs explaining the flora and fauna and the dynamics of the Alagnon valley.

Close to this trail, the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels d’Auvergne has set up an educational orchard with 12 rare local species that are typical of the old orchards that covered the valley in the 19th century and the terraced fields known as palhàs, one of which has been revived in the neighbouring commune of Molompize.

Vallée de l'Alagnon

Alagnon Valley