“Sant Marin lo Plenh”, in Occitan, is a delicate blend of heritages to be discovered as you stroll around. This discreet village in the heart of the Cantalien countryside does not reveal its secrets so easily... It could just be the perfect blend of stone and volcanic nature…
The Chêne Sully is a remarkable oak tree listed by the French Natural History Museum and identified by a plaque. The commune’s other great treasure is the Arcueil river, which is both calm and tumultuous, and has carved out natural cavities. The phenomenon of vortex erosion that contributes to this has created a phenomenon known as marmitage! Your steps may lead you to the Luzer sector, renowned for the presence of minerals such as Valentinite, which is very similar to antimony. However, don’t expect to make a fortune, as many men have tried their hand at it in past centuries…
It stands proudly in the centre of the village, with its superb square bell tower. It is twinned with the church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption in Chapelle Laurent, which is a rare occurrence as it implies that it was built at the same time, using the same craftsmen.
Church of Saint-Mary-le-Plain
A tower that stands out for its sheer size, but which is somewhat hidden by the forest. It comes into view as you turn a bend, a striking and surprising sight. It overlooks the river, and although it is tucked away, it evokes the past splendour of these lands ruled by influential lords. The tower can be reached on foot.
The nearby hamlet of Fons also boasts a fine old-fashioned crush. This cattle crush was, and still is, used for shoeing cows and oxen, as well as for routine maintenance of their legs and hooves. The leather straps, which form a restraint to hold these heavy animals in place, combined with the frame and a bar at the front to prevent the animal from moving forward, make the operation safer. There may even have been wooden supports for the legs.
Roadside cross, architectural heritage of Saint-Mary-le-Plain