Marols, village of character


Located in the Forez mountains, Marols is a thousand-year-old city built around its hamlets. Facing a majestic panorama, the fortified church now marks the center of a land of encounters, between traditions, modernity and the sweetness of life.
Marols is a thousand-year old town built around a number of hamlets. Between its fortified church in the heart of the town and the recently magnificently renovated Domaine de Valinches lie 15 sq km of lovely countryside for local inhabitants and visitors to enjoy. With this remarkable heritage it was one of the first villages in the Department to earn the coveted title of "village of character".


Marols takes its name from a combination of Celtic words meaning ‘a large clearing’ (maros ‘large’ and ialo ‘clearing’). The village developed in the Middle Ages thanks to its advantageous position close to an ancient Roman military road, the Bolène Way, which
linked Lyons with Toulouse via Feurs and was still being used by medieval merchants and pilgrims on their way to Le Puy-en-Velay and Saint-Jacquesde-Compostelle. Plentiful woods, fertile farmland, lush pastures and willing workmen made Marols an attractive site for the Benedictine monks of Saint-Romain-le-Puy to build, under the authority of the Abbot of Ainay, their little priory in the 12th century.
Marols Priory was a modest affair. The monks spent their time working the land and praying for mankind’s salvation. After a period of prosperity the priory fell into decline around AD 1280.
In the following years Marols entered a sombre period marked by the Black Death and the famine, disease and insecurity which resulted from the Hundred Years’ War. The first chapel was of modest size, a single nave in the Romanesque style, and run by a chaplain and perhaps a couple of monks. The principal preoccupations of the little priory were to develop local agricultural resources and a simple religious environment.
The village began to take shape in this period.
The 12th and 13th centuries were prosperous. The 14th century was however blighted by the Black Death which ravaged the district of Saint-Bonnet-le-Château (in 1348) and various other troubles caused by the kings of England and France locking horns in the
Hundred Years’ War. It was during this period that the village and the church were fortified to protect their inhabitants from marauders.
In the 15th century the Benedictine monks from Ainay Abbey were replaced by the canons of Saint-Just from Lyons, a noble religious order whose lofty authority sowed discontent among the inhabitants of Marols. In the 16th century, during the Wars of Religion, Protestant troops under the direction of Baron des Adrets razed the village.


  • Picnic area
  • Toilets
  • Camper van reception area
  • Parking


  • Coach access
  • Motorhomes allowed
  • Shop
  • Tourist brochures
  • Tourist information


Free access.

Opening period

From 01/01 to 31/12, daily.


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Marols, village of character 1, Place de la mairie 42560 Marols 04 77 76 71 94