The Via Sancti Martini or the path of Saint-Martin crosses Europe from west to east and vice versa, over 2500 kilometers. This European cultural route allows the crossing of the Roannais territory from Parigny to Biefs, approximately 30 kilometers. The course alternates between mountain and plain and promises you good moments out of time.

1 - Parigny: Chemin du Maroc

It is pleasant to walk in this rural town located at the gates of Roanne. You will appreciate the shades of the alleys, in particular those of the Chemin du Maroc. Path which was certainly formerly part of the property of the Château d'Ailly built in 1513 and located nearby. There, many species of trees have been replanted there and a fruit is born again: the cornel from the dogwood. 

Chemin du Maroc in Parigny on the way to Via Sancti Martini
© Clovis Huet / RT

2 - Le Coteau: Varennes Park

Located on the right bank of the Loire, Varennes park is a 13 hectare site. The natural and pleasant atmosphere offers a moment of calm in the heart of the city. Partly located in the Natura 2000 zone, it is a place of biodiversity protection. You can take a break and connect with the movement of the river, or even contemplate the oars or the waking wildlife.  

Parc des Varennes au Coteau / Roanne on the way to Via Sancti Martini
© Clovis Huet / RT

3 - Roanne: The banks of the Loire

Freshly furnished, the banks of the Loire de Roanne call for rest and tranquility. Stop off in Roanne, the central town of Roannais. It will seduce you with its modernity and its well-being. Learn about the specialties that you will not be able to forget after tasting them.

Take a detour to the Halls Diderot for the gourmet side, where you will find, among other things, the Maison Pralus and Mons house. And for the heritage side, go to the heart of the old center to discover the history of Roanne.

The edges of the Loire in Roanne on the way to Via Sancti Martini
© Clovis Huet / RT

4 - Pouilly-les-Nonains: The chapel of Boisy

Saint-Martin-de-Boisy was a town in its own right before 1824. Today it has become a hamlet of Pouilly-les-Nonains, it has a chapel which would originate from the monastery dedicated to Saint Martin, built in the Ve century. There is no trace of it left today. The church The present day was largely rebuilt in 1890. Only the choir and the apse, of Romanesque architecture, replaced this reorganization.

A few steps before you can stop at the Boisy farm, a relay of local products with its famous cheeses in particular, and have your European pass stamped.

Saint-Martin Church in Pouilly les Nonains on the way to Via Sancti Martini
© Clovis Huet / RT

5 - Saint-Haon-le-Châtel

Little by little the green meadows where the cattle graze surround you and the massif of the Monts de la Madeleine appears in front of you. Medieval village of only 87 hectares in area, Saint-Haon-le-Chatel is the smallest town in the Loire department. Small in size but large in terms of its heritage and history, this “Village of character in the Loire”, surrounded by ramparts, can be visited like an open-air museum.  

In the heart of the village, you can make a stopover at the Castel des Arts tourist information point, to get your European pass stamped and get information about the area.

Saint Haon le Châtel crossed by Via Sancti Martini
© Clovis Huet / RT

6 - Ambierle

After Saint-Haon-le-Châtel, Ambierle is the second "Village of character in the Loire" to cross and where it is good to linger. It is the turn of the vines to appear and Ambierle, of which Martin is the patron saint, is known for its vineyard and its Cluniac priory. The Priorale Church stands out thanks to its glazed tiles visible from below the village and its historiated pinnacles. The Roanne vineyard, recognized AOC since 1994, now has around thirty winegrowers on more than 200 hectares and ten villages, bordered by the famous Nationale 7.

Extend the pleasure by going to the promontory of the Madonna which dominates the village and offers a breathtaking view. This monumental statue is surrounded by 14 crosses.

La Maison de Pays welcomes you in the center of the village to leave a trace of your passage through the Roanne region on your European pass.

View of the priory of Ambierle from Via Sancti Martini
© Clovis Huet / RT

7 - The Reaches

After a good drop in altitude for the ascent of this medium mountain but a magnificent landscape which little by little is dressed in forests sometimes made up of oaks, beeches then fir trees, you will arrive at Pierre Charbonnière then at Biefs. Les Biefs is the hamlet that will make you switch from one department to another because it is located on the border of the Allier and the Loire. The village is thus shared. On the Allier side, a church built in 1885 is dedicated to Saint Jacques. Here, moreover, these two cultural routes of Europe can be found and share a common path for a few kilometers in the direction of the Creuse. After this effort, the rest will be well deserved and the accommodation on site will offer you the corresponding service.

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The Reaches crossed by the Via Sancti Martini path
© Clovis Huet / RT