The "Jews’ mountain" hilltop village above the Lot river.

Découvrez le village de Montjézieu

Montjézieu is an unique village. Its houses, sometimes perched a few meters above the void, benefit from an exceptional view over the Lot river Valley. Some are built directly on the rock and reveal the one on which their foundations rest. The place is full of legends from the depths of the ages and its charm continues to pierce through its narrow alleys in the shade of the castle.

The village was part, with Auxillac, of the old parish of Salmon. It is nowadays merged with La Canourgue. From its headland, it overlooks the right bank of the Lot river. Located between the Lot river valley and the Aubrac highland plateau, its castle, classified, was the sentinel of a busy place of passage, all the more so since in 1360 the Treaty of Brétigny attributes the Rouergue to the English and thus renders it a particularly sensitive area, because Gévaudan becomes the border between the English and French territories.

The "Jews’ mountain"

The town owes traditionally its name to a colony of Jews established since ancient times. It was already called "Monte Judeo" in 1307, as indicated by the act of trimming concluded between Philippe the Fair and Guillaume Durand, bishop of Gévaudan. In Montjézieu was a synagogue, which left its name instead. It was described in the 19th century by Canon Bosse. It consisted of a large room measuring 6m by 9m on the second floor of an old building with a cupboard evoking the Ark of the Covenant, under an arcade facing east. According to tradition, the name of the village comes from the fact that a Jewish community had settled there since very ancient times. Their presence on the site has been attested since 1121. We know thanks to an act of trimming concluded between Philippe the Fair and Guillaume Durand that the castle of Montjézieu was designated in 1307 as "Castrum de Monte Judeo", the Mount of the Jews. That year Guillaume V Durand decides to ban them from Gévaudan, following the directives of Philip the Fair who a year earlier had decreed their expulsion from the kingdom of France and the seizure of all their properties. The Jewish community nevertheless returned a few years later to Montjézieu.

We can attest that Jewish communities settled in several places in Gévaudan as of the 12th century. It is yet likely that these colonies are older. During the XIIIth century the Pope prohibited several times from "offending" them. However, in the year 1290 the bishop of Mende, Guillaume V Durand, defined several prohibitions for them in his "Instructions". For example, they are not allowed to employ Christian servants and must not go outdoors the last three days during the Holy Week. In public, they must wear a round cockade of a colour different from that of their clothes so that it is clearly visible.

Did you know?

The road crossing Montjézieu and going up towards the hamlets of Marchevites and Reilles was an ancient Roman road. The presence of Roman villages in this part of the territory is not surprising because we are only a few kilometres from Banassac, one of the most productive places in France in terms of money-making and pottery at the time. We also discovered in Reilles, a hamlet west of Montjézieu, a beautiful Gallo-Roman mosaic in white and blue stones with geometric decorations. Not far from there near Auxillac in the hamlet of Cadoule is the Ron de Gleiso, where a dozen Gallo-Roman buildings were spotted on a limestone hill which seems to have been continuously occupied during the first 4 centuries of our era.

  • Montjézieu’s Castle
  • The chapel of Saint-Jean du Bédel
  • The bread oven
  • The farrier station