Visit Mende

Mende, episcopal city

Situated between le Puy en Velay and Conques, the sacred heritage of Mende offers visitors important contemporary pilgrims sites, architecture, history, heritage and traditions that beg to be shared. Converted to Christianity very early on, Mende owes its rapid expansion to the pilgrimage tradition that developed around the place where Saint Privat was martyred. It then became the seat of the bishops of Gévaudan, who from the 12th century held a great deal of temporal power. In the 14th century, on the initiative of Pope Urban V, the current cathedral was built on the tomb of Saint Privat. From Saint Privat to Urban V, including a whole population whose lives were structured by ancient cultural practices, and in particular the white penitents who were the most striking example of these traditions, a number of men left their holy mark on the city. Oratories, crosses and black Madonnas line the streets of the town.

Getting there


  • Montpellier, Rodez and Clermont-Ferrand airports
  • Compagnie Hexair, daily flight Paris – Le Puy en Velay – Mende: 1hr30


  • Paris – Clermont-Ferrand – Mende: 5hrs

By car:

  • Montpellier (A75 exit no. 39): 2hrs
  • Clermont-Ferrand (A75): 2hrs
  • Lyon via Saint-Etienne and Le Puy (RN 88): 3hrs


Restaurants: Traditional and gastronomic cuisine


  • 12 hotels (1 to 3 stars)
  • Furnished holiday flats to rent
  • 1 Village of gîtes


Visiting the city:

  • Way of the Cross
  • Historical tour 28 boundaries
  • Memorial path

Visiting the shrine:

  • Hermitage of Saint Privat


  • Pays d’Art et d’Histoire publications Laissez vous conter Mende
  • Free guide
  • Romanesque churches
  • Crosses

Special Events

  • 48th Street festival + Folk days (beginning of July)
  • «Thursdays» at the Cathedral (sacred songs) (July and August)
  • Mende Festival (mid-August)
  • “Les Toqués du Cèpe” (mushroom festival) (beginning of October)