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Bridge over the River Sarthe
Bridge over the River Sarthe
Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei is located in France
Coordinates: 48°22′51″N 0°03′05″W / 48.3808°N 0.0514°W / 48.3808; -0.0514Coordinates: 48°22′51″N 0°03′05″W / 48.3808°N 0.0514°W / 48.3808; -0.0514
Country France
Region Normandy
Department Orne
Arrondissement Alençon
Canton Damigny
Intercommunality CU Alençon
 • Mayor (2001–2008) Kenneth Tatham
Area1 3.86 km2 (1.49 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 145
 • Density 38/km2 (97/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
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.

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei is a commune in the Orne department in north-western France.

It lies on the River Sarthe 13 km (8.1 mi) from Alençon, the chef-lieu of the department, and some 200 km (120 mi) west of Paris.


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.

During the Hundred Years' War, Ambroise de Loré managed to defend the stronghold against the king of England Henry V and, then his brother John Plantagenet until 1434.

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.


Saint-Céneri lies within 10 to 15 km (9.3 mi) of both the A28 motorway – linking Abbeville to Tours by way of Rouen and Le Mans – and the N12 trunk road from Paris to Rennes and Brest.

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