Villerest, a medieval village 10 kilometers from Roanne, is located on the banks of the Loire river. To discover this city is to follow the ramparts, enter the village by the Porte de Bise. Follow the rue de Bise and the Grande Rue with its beautiful half-timbered houses. Stop at the Hour and Fire Museum and enjoy the magnificent view from its terrace. Take advantage of the small shops located in the village ... Without forgetting of course the Saint-Sulpice chapel of the XIIIe century, the tourist center of Champlong and the beach by the lake!

Vue aérienne de Villerest et son lac
Aerial view of Villerest and its lake © Guillaume Masseron / RT

A few kilometers from the city, Villerest offers the atmosphere of a charming village where life is good!

Catherine Duchampt, tour guide
Chapelle Saint-Sulpice à Villerest
Saint-Sulpice Chapel in Villerest © Musée de Villerest

Activities to practice in Villerest

  • Enjoy a guided tour in the heart of the village and admire the XNUMXth century rampartse century, the Porte de Bise, the half-timbered houses, the Saint-Priest church and the Saint-Sulpice chapel from the XNUMXth centurye century
  • Besides fishing, Villerest lake offers a multitude of activities for the whole family (pedal boat, canoe, picnic, swimming ...),
  • Sail aboard the boat trip "Le Villerest-Un" to observe the village of Saint-Jean-Saint-Maurice-sur-Loire from the water. Extend the pleasure to Château de la Roche with the 3h30 cruise,
  • Practice golf at Castle Champlong,
  • Rhikes and walks are numerous around the village and the lake,
  • Take a family walk with The Loire Train,
  • Taste local products in one of the many restaurants in the village,
  • Visit the Time and Fire Museum which presents the history of fire production. You will also find various collections of objects and lighters and collections on the theme of watchmaking. Come discover the use of fire from the Stone Age to the XNUMXth centurye century.

Summer guided tours

New for 2021, a pedestrian route in the village entitled “Sur les pas de Noirot”.
Fifteen panels guide you and keep you informed throughout your visit to the village. Placed right where artists put their easels over a century ago. Jean-Louis and Emile Noirot particularly liked their country house in Villerest. Moreover, they each left through their respective works unique pictorial testimonies on the landscapes of the Loire and daily life in the XNUMXth century.e century.
A moment of pleasure to share with the family to discover the medieval village and these two artists in their familiar environment.

The most beautiful points of view

  • The ramparts and the Porte de Bise from rue des Remparts,
  • The view from the terrace of the Hour and Fire Museum,
  • The dam from rue des Marronniers.


The fishing of Villerest: In the XIXe century, vines covered a third of the cultivable land of Villerest. It was decimated by phylloxera at the end of the century and small wine growers replanted peach trees for their personal consumption! Very quickly this culture will develop and the peaches of Villerest became famous all the way to Paris where they were found in the markets. After picking, they were packed in crates and protected by dark blue paper made at the Papeterie de Villerest!

Barrage de Villerest

The dam and the Villerest lake

Built between 1978 and 1984, the dam on the Loire River is located between the municipalities of Villerest and Commelle-Vernay. Its impoundment gave birth to Lake Villerest and drowned the natural site of the Loire gorges.
This structure is a concrete arch gravity dam, 469 meters long and 59 meters high. It is equipped with a hydroelectric power station with a power of 60 mw.
The water reservoir extends over 770 hectares and 36 kilometers long to Balbigny.

The history of Villerest

At the mouth of the Loire gorges, Villerest, a medieval village retains traces of 25 years of history linked to its establishment on the banks of the river.

A prehistoric site unique in Western Europe, the various testimonies were drowned with the setting up of the dam in 1985.

Villerest will follow the course of history with a Celtic and Gallo-Roman period, but it is especially in medieval times, first of all thanks to the monks of Cluny and the joint administration of the Counts of Forez and the prior de Marcigny dependent on Cluny that the village will become important!

The village then developed thanks to a rich artisanal, commercial and administrative activity in the village, to the establishment of rich agricultural estates such as Champlong, Commières. Ramparts are built.

Rich and varied heritage, leisure activities at the edge of the lake, green resort and fishing resort, an important stopover during a stay in the Roanne region!


At the heart of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the town of Villerest is located in the Loire department. The town of 4700 inhabitants is accessible from Roanne by the departmental 53.


Medieval Village
42300 Villerest

+04 (77)69 66 66 XNUMX XNUMX


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L'avis de Marion

Marion's opinion

Before spending an afternoon at Lac de Villerest, let yourself be tempted by a visit to the medieval village! Its narrow streets and half-timbered houses are its charm. I like to walk in this village on the occasion of the squirrel market which takes place every year in November. Local artisans and producers delight visitors.

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