The Village of Saint-Marcel


Saint Marcel d’Ardèche is one of Vivarais’ oldest communities. People settled on its territory in Prehistoric times and have left countless signs of their activity throughout the ages.
Saint Etienne de Dions’ fortified oppidum was inhabited during the Bronze and Iron ages and the first centuries AD.
The medieval village was built as from the 9th century and enclosed within its ramparts during the Middle Ages. It became an important part of the local bishop’s heritage.
Under the Ancien Régime (15th – 18th-century hereditary monarchy), Saint Marcel was home to several lords, 48 of them according to some sources!
On 12 February 1242, arbitration ruling by the Bishop of Viviers created a Consulate to govern Saint Marcel.
In the 18th century, Cardinal de Bernis played an important role in the administration of the town. He was a fellow of the Académie Française by the age of 30, ambassador to Venice and finally minister to Louis XV. He was born in the town and in fact before 1790 it was known as Saint Marcel de Pierre-Bernis. However after the French Revolution it was given the name of Commune La Raison (the village of discernment)!
  • aerial view of saint marcel medieval village
  • 250px françois joachim pierre de bernis versailles mv 2986 61
During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, rural exodus as a result of agricultural failure, then the 1914 – 18 Great War had an enormous impact on the population which fell from 2,358 in 1856 to 1,046 inhabitants in 1954. However, after the 2nd World War, the construction of the hydro-electric scheme on the Rhône then that of the Tricastin nuclear sites contributed to an increase in the population to over 2,000 in the early 21st century.
Do not miss the following remarkable sites :
  • 17th century Château de Bernis: its main central building with two flanking towers (Private, no visits)
  • 16th century Château du Bosquet, partially derelict : mullioned windows, the main courtyard with its gallery and monumental staircase
  • The 19th-century church with its Gothic doorway and 15th-century bell-tower
  • 12th-century Romanesque Saint Sulpice chapel, restored in the 17th century; its square bell-tower and 17th-century stone gallery
  • The ruins of the old leper hospital above the hamlet of Trignan
  • Saint Julien’s chapel
  • Saint Joseph’s chapel
  • saint supplice chapel saint marcel
  • de bernis castel saint marcel
  • saint marcel church
  • viviers water fountain saint marcel
  • gargoyle saint marcel
  • viviers fountain street saint marcel
  • city hall street saint marcel