•Lozère (48210) • • Altitude: 469 m
Saint Chély-du-Tarn is a tiny village in the Upper Tarn Gorges, sitting on the left bank of the river, without a through road and thus without excessive tourist traffic. Entrance to the village is across a stone arched bridge high over the Tarn. It's idyllic setting and the sandy beaches on the river bends below make this a popular place with visitors in the know as well as passing kayakers.
Saint Chély sits on a bend in the river, opposite tall cliffs, and the road comes down the hillside and across the narrow bridge to an idyllic place with picturesque houses, a lovely 12th-century church, a couple of café-restaurants and a pottery shop located in a cave with a running stream. Saint Chély is in the commune of Ste Enimie, a larger village 5 km upriver. [Regions-Depts-Communes]
This lovely stone chapel sits at the end of the bridge as you enter Saint Chély-du-Tarn. Said to be about 12th century, we could actually find no reliable, detailed history.
Another, smaller stone chapel sits at the very southern edge of the village. The little Notre-Dame-de-Cénaret sits tucked in against overhanging cliffs, making it almost a troglodyte chapel.
Not archeological cave pottery, but a large display and sales shop for regional potters is located in the natural-rock cave that was once part of the local mill, Le Moulin de Cénaret. This is worth a visit for the excellent pottery and to see the setting with a stream flowing out of the rock and through the room, all at a cool temperature on even the hottest days.
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Stage 14 of the 2015 cycling Tour de France passed through St Chély-du-Tarn.
We visited the village one summer day a couple of weeks beforeLa Tour and found a large mountain-bike competition in progress, with batches of riders coasting down for refreshments, others setting out on a mountain trail [our photo] and others peddling around to take in the sights.
• GPS: 44.336048, 3.383946
There are no marked hiking trails at Saint Chély-du-Tarn. The right bank of the Tarn opposite the village is in the form of high cliffs. The left bank has steep, forested sides coming straight down to the Tarn, with just an occasional little beach area on a bend of the river.