Nov

28

Sauvons Montferrand

28 novembre 2008

Grâce à Michelin, à l’ASM, toute la France connaît Montferrand, ancienne ville rivale de Clairmont, qui fut unie à cette dernière après l’édit de Troyes (1630) pour devenir Clermont-Ferrand. En revanche peu nombreux sont ceux qui, même parmi les Lozériens, connaissent Montferrand, petit village proche de Banassac et Montjézieu. Et pourtant, le site est exceptionnel, petit tour d’horizon…

Larrivée au village de Montferrand

L'arrivée au village de Montferrand

Pour s’y rendre depuis l’A75, il faut sortir à Banassac, et prendre la direction du quartier de La Mothe. Là on longe le Lot pendant… un certain nombre de kilomètres, la route s’élevant petit à petit, et puis plus brutalement. On arrive enfin au village de Montferrand, qui n’a rien de grandiose en soit : quelques fermes, des tracteurs, des chiens. Mais le site recèle un secret plutôt bien gardé, compte tenu de l’absence de panneaux indicatifs.
Il faut ainsi se diriger vers le sud du village, en grimpant la petite rue, mi-chemin, mi-route goudronnée. Et voila, après avoir contourné un ou deux tas de ferrailles, se dévoiler la beauté du site : le château de Montferrand, surplombant magistralement le plan d’eau de Booz.

Une partie des ruines de Montferrand

Une partie des ruines de Montferrand

Ce château était la résidence des comtors de Montferrand, ces « petits comtes » sans doute, comme leurs voisins de Canilhac, consanguins de la familles des comtes de Barcelone ou des rois d’Aragon. Il n’en reste pas beaucoup d’éléments visibles, si ce n’est une tour à demi ruinée. Mais c’est une très belle ruine qui mériterait des fouilles pour en dégager une vue d’ensemble.
Mais la magie du lieu réside aussi de par son histoire. C’est là que naquit Amphélise de Sabran, dame de Montferrand, qui épousa au XIVe siècle Guillaume de Grimoard, seigneur de Bellegarde. Cette Amphélise, parente de Saint Elzéar de Sabran, n’est autre que la mère d’Urbain V, glorieux pape d’Avignon.
Autre date importante pour le château, 1380. Nous sommes alors en pleine guerre de 100 ans, et le grand connétable de France, Bertrand du Guesclin, vient de libérer Châteauneuf-Randon. Les anglais, ou les routiers des Grandes Compagnies, qui détenaient une partie de la région, se réfugient alors à Montferrand.
À vouloir raconter l’histoire de Montferrand, et pour être exhaustif, il faudrait aussi parler de la traditionnelle (ou légendaire) « Capelade » qui était dû devant le château. Mais Benjamin Bardy et le Dr Barbot la content bien mieux que moi (Lire « Légendes du Gévaudan – La Capelade »).

La vue sur Booz depuis le château

La vue sur Booz depuis le château

Ce billet est donc un cri d’alarme pour ne pas laisser disparaître ce patrimoine exceptionnel et si facile à exploiter. Le site se trouve à une grosse demi-heure de Mende, moins de vingt minutes de Marvejols, et surtout à moins de dix minutes de l’autoroute A75. Il est, de plus, visible depuis la nationale 88, mais les automobilistes ne se doutent pourtant de rien en passant devant (j’ai déjà fait le test). La vue, je le répète, est magnifique, le plan de Booz en dessous, l’Aubrac en face. Enfin, son histoire est riche, et les ruines pourraient facilement accueillir des expositions, sur la guerre de cent ans en Gévaudan par exemple… Bref, un potentiel énorme, pour un site trop oublié !

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