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15th-century house in Puycelsi
15th-century house in Puycelsi
Coat of arms of Puycelsi
Coat of arms
Puycelsi is located in France
Coordinates: 43°59′38″N 1°42′39″E / 43.9939°N 1.7108°E / 43.9939; 1.7108Coordinates: 43°59′38″N 1°42′39″E / 43.9939°N 1.7108°E / 43.9939; 1.7108
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées
Department Tarn
Arrondissement Albi
Canton Castelnau-de-Montmiral
Intercommunality Vère Grésigne
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Henry Féral
Area1 39.2 km2 (15.1 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 508
 • Density 13/km2 (34/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 81217 / 81140
Elevation 132–367 m (433–1,204 ft)
(avg. 280 m or 920 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.

Puycelsi (formerly Puycelci) is a commune in the Tarn department in southern France.

It is a member of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France ("The Most Beautiful Villages of France") association.


Historical population of Puycelsi
(Source: INSEE[1])
Year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999
Population 503 535 480 442 453 495


The village lies in the western part of the commune, high above the right bank of the Vère, which flows northwestward through the commune.


The name of "Puycelci", or "Puycelsi", comes from the Celtic "Celto Dun", a wooden fortress built on a hill, or oppidum, later transformed into "Podium Celsium" by the Romans.

The village itself was founded in the 10th century by Benedictine Monks from the Aurillac Abbey, in a location close to the ancient prehistoric site.

The first castle was dismantled after the Treaty of Meaux-Paris, in 1229, but the village remained a stronghold. Though it was besieged several times in the 13th and 14th century, it was reportedly never taken by force.

Until the First World War, the village was quite prosperous, with a population of nearly 2,000 in 1830. Almost abandoned in the 1950s, it was since then restored by its inhabitants and is now listed among the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”.

Remarkable monuments[edit]

Renaissance House

Remarkable monuments in the village include :

  • the 14th century ramparts, and the Irissou Gate with its double defensive system
  • the St-Roch Chapel, built in 1703
  • the 15th-century castle
  • 15th-and-16th-century houses, including the town hall
  • the 14th-15th-century St-Corneille Church, with classified well-preserved ancient furnitures

See also[edit]