Normandie Tourisme
Set in beautiful hills known as Les Alpes Mancelles, Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei has a big character, explaining its membership of the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France®. Artists adored it, including Corot and Courbet, pre-Impressionist landscape painters.


One of Les plus beaux villages de France

Time appears to have stood still at Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, on Normandy’s now quiet southern border. The most picturesque of medieval chapels looks swamped by the large meadow surrounding it, down close to the Sarthe river, which meanders peacefully by. The 11th-century Romanesque church, perched above the river, contains beautiful frescoes. There’s also the so-called miraculous fountain to discover. At this spot, so the story goes, the thirsty 7th-century Saint-Céneri and his disciple were delighted to see fresh water spring up in front of them. In addition, legend had it that this water had the ability to cure eye problems.

The auberge run by the Moisy Sisters

A painters' retreat

It’s no surprise that this exquisite, hidden little village, not far from the historic town of Alençon, attracted many painters. Run by the two Moisy sisters in the latter part of the 19th century, l'Auberge des Sœurs Moisy was a place where renowned artists liked to come to rest as well as to paint. This inn’s most original feature is its celebrated Salle des Décapités, decorated with an intriguing panoply of black heads drawn in profile. The inn now welcomes visitors as an art museum.

Practical information


Website (in French)


Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

> The list of all the Plus Beaux Villages de France in Normandie


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