Bridge over the River Sarthe
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Kenneth Tatham|
|• Land1||3.86 km2 (1.49 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||38/km2 (97/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||61372 / 61250|
|Elevation||115–193 m (377–633 ft)
(avg. 120 m or 390 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The place is named for Serenicus (or Genericus), an Italian hermit who lived here during the 8th century. When he died, a monastery was built, later destroyed by the Vikings in 903. The church was a dependency of the abbey of Saint-Evroult-en-Ouche.
The name le-Gérei comes from William Giroie, who built a castle here in 1044 of which only parts of the walls remain today. In 1060 the castle came under siege from Duke William II of Normandy (the future King William I of England) before being taken by Robert Courteheuse his son in 1088.
The beauty of the village's setting, in a wooded loop of the River Sarthe, has attracted and inspired many artists since the 19th century. The village even has its own festival which annually celebrates those painters who came to, or lived in, Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei.
Saint-Céneri's economy is largely based on tourism, its status as one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France ("France's Most Beautiful Villages") and its tranquil environment attracting many visitors to the village.
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