QR Veyre-Monton – Hameaux 5
Monton and the Virgin Mary
Visible from the A75 motorway, the Virgin Mary of Monton is one of the tallest statues in France. The village has many other treasures. It inherited its urban structure from the Middle Ages, traces of which can still be seen. More recent architectural features recall its past as a wine-growing village. It also boasts an interesting collection of cave dwellings with some remarkable views over the Limagne des Buttes plain.
An ancient village fort
Monton appears in a charter from the Sauxillanges cartulary in the 11th century, which tells us that Louis, the local lord, gave land to the Benedictines to build a chapel. The village grew around a feudal castle, which was fortified in the 14th century by a major defence system. At a time marked by the Hundred Years’ War, a series of refuges were built within the town walls to protect the population and its property. These small houses, known as « forts » and only temporarily occupied, were arranged in a very orderly pattern and delineated a series of narrow streets. Likely used as refuges until the Wars of Religion, these forts (referred to as « loggias » in other fortified villages in the region) were often later transformed into agricultural sheds, cellars or vats.
The village is built against a tuff cliff, a fairly soft rock that can be hewn with a pick. Since the Middle Ages, men have dug around sixty caves out of this cliff on several levels, originally linked by a path and a staircase.
The cliffs served various functions. The dwellings, sometimes comprising several rooms, still contain traces of fireplaces and cupboards. But most of the caves had a more practical function, being used as cellars, sheds, barns or dovecotes. Originally, they all would have had a stone façade.
As old postcards show, the cave dwellings in Monton were still occupied at the turn of the 20th century.
View of the Monton caves
In the heart of the Limagne des Buttes
Leaning in an arc against the Puy de Monton, the village offers an exceptional panoramic view of the Limagne des Buttes plain and the Corent plateau. The Limagne is a collapse ditch filled with marl and limestone sediment. It features numerous plateaux and buttes of volcanic origin, and it is distinguishable by its inverted relief. Over time, differential erosion has preserved the hardest materials and removed the softest sediment. The Corent plateau, which faces Monton, is a good example of this phenomenon. It was formed by an ancient dispersal of basalt into a depression, which protected the underlying sediment from erosion. However, the surrounding land has been cleared to a depth of over 200 metres. The former valley floor now lies at the top of a plateau.
- The Corent plateau and the village of Soulasse
A trail for visiting Monton. It features information panels identifiable by the green pictogram opposite. Departure point: to the west of the village, in the car park at the start of the Rue des Faubourgs.