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Mende, its heritage

A city with an important heritage

A traveller stopping in the small, rural town of Mende can appreciate
the beauty of its historic centre and the splendour of its flamboyant Gothic cathedral,
as well as the quality of provincial town life.

Mende, the city of bishops in Gévaudan

The historic center is located around its monumental Gothic cathedral.

Once the seat of the powerful Bishops-Counts, the economy of the city of Mende was due to crafts and commerce.
It was very prosperous until the nineteenth century.

Moreover, the department of Lozère was formerly the province of Gévaudan. The mere mention of which is enough to send our imaginations back to the time of the religious wars or… to the mystery of the beast…

The Cathédral

This 14th, 15th and 16th century monument which dominates the city with its imposing stature, is one of the rare Gothic buildings in the Lozère department.

Mende Cathedral is the symbol of the power of the bishops in the province of Gévaudan.

More information about the Cathedral



The essentials

Not to be missed

The former hospital in the town of Mende, built in the 17th and 18th centuries, is now a residence for the elderly.
It should be noted that its pharmacy preserves many 19th century objects and that its walnut furniture recreates the atmosphere of our apothecary shops of the past.

Please note: Accessible and visible only during scheduled guided tours or by reservation.

This charming site is also worth a visit for the superb roofing like overturned hulls of ships to be seen on either side of the bridge and found in large numbers in the upper valley of the Lot.
There are called “Philibert-style” roofs (from the architect Philibert Delorme).

Private mansion nicknamed “Old synagogue” & former Carmelite convent.

These two houses, probably built by the same master builder, are among the oldest houses in Mende (13th century).

Behind the Gothic porches are surprising restored patios whose origin seems to be linked to the kingdom of Aragon.

Please note: The old synagogue is only accessible and visible during guided tours.
The former Carmelite convent is now a crêperie

18th century private mansion.
It is a classic building interpreted in the local fashion with its impressive slate roof.

You will discover on the first floor, in the wedding hall, some very beautiful Aubusson tapestries representing the biblical episode of Judith and General Holofernes.

Please note: Accessible and visible only during guided tours.

Mende is renowned for its door heritage by the art history lovers.
This fame is due both to the quantity (about sixty) and to the quality of conservation and to the diversity of styles of these ancient gates (fifteenth-nineteenth centuries) of the historical centre.

Good to know

Self-guided tour of Mende Cathedral

You are passing through Mende and want to discover the city at your own pace and without guides, you can get the brochure «Circuit du Patrimoine de Mende» from the Tourist Office.
This brochure will take you on a small circuit of 28 stages in the city center and will also show you what to discover in its cathedral. Download the Mende Heritage brochure.

Watch out! Some places are only accessible to the public during guided tours (old pharmacy, town’s wedding hall, bell tower of the cathedral, and other small surprises…).
Find out at the Tourist Office.

Guided tour of Mende Cathedral:

Guided tour in summer:
Nothing like a tour guide to help you discover the heritage of Mende from a cultural and friendly angle.
The Tourist Office organizes guided tours of the historic center throughout the summer.
These visits can be thematic (musical visits, two-voice visits, fifties visits, contradictory visits,…) or classic.

Off-season guided tour:
Groups and individuals can book a guided tour by contacting the Mende Tourist Office.

Check out the rates

Visit for people who has reduced mobility.

The Cathedral has 3 entrances:

The south door, located on Place Chaptal (on the right on the map) is accessible to people in wheelchairs.
The parish is located opposite this entrance in case it is necessary to open the door wide and thus shift the bottom of the door.

However, the West and North doors (respectively place Urbain V at the bottom of the plan and rue de la Rovère at the left of the plan) are not recommended because they have stairs.

The visits to the Cathedral, whether guided or free (with the explanatory brochure of the Tourist Office) are therefore quite accessible to people with reduced mobility.

The Mende Heritage Discovery Brochure with the Visit Plan in PDF can be downloaded here.

You can get this brochure free of charge at the Mende Tourist Office, place du Foirail.

Mende's Heritage