Auvergne has plenty to offer in terms of tourist attractions; and while
its countryside and scenery are perhaps the greatest attraction for
most visitors, tourists and visitors will find plenty of
specific sites and sights to ensure a richly varied and
interesting holiday in the Auvergne for all discerning travellers. Here
are some of the Auvergne's best ....
old city, St Michel's chapel and cathedral of Le Puy en Velay
(UNESCO world heritage site)
Romanesque churches of Auvergne.
The Auvergne is rich in remarkable mediaeval
churches, the most famous of which are:
churches and chapels with frescoes and murals:
- Notre Dame du
Port (Clermont Ferrand) (Puy-de-Dôme)
- Eglise Saint Austremoine at Issoire (Puy-de-Dôme)
- Notre Dame d'Orcival (Puy-de-Dôme)
- Eglise de Saint Nectaire (Puy-de-Dôme)
- Basilique Saint Julien, Brioude
- Abbey and cloisters at Lavaudieu (Haute-Loire)
- Cathedrale Notre Dame and Chapelle Saint Michel de
l'Aiguilhe , le
Puy en Velay (Haute-Loire)
- Mauriac (Cantal)
- The Abbey at
La Chaise Dieu (Haute-Loire), with world famous Dance of Death fresco.
- The small churches and chapels of the Haut
Allier (Haute-Loire), Blassac, Saint
Cirgues, Peyrusse, etc , many decorated with murals and frescoes.
Auvergne includes a number of officially
listed "plus beaux villages de France"( **), and lots more very pretty
villages, often smaller ones, that have no official classification but
may be just as attractive... and less touristy.
- Allier: Charroux**, Verneuil en Boubonnais.
- Puy de Dome: Montpeyroux**, Usson** ,
- Haute Loire: Arlempdes**, Blesle**, Lavaudieu**,
Pradelles**, Chilhac, Lavoûte-Chilhac,
Saint Arcons d'Allier, Monastier-sur-Gazeille
- Cantal: Salers**, Tournemire**, Laroquebrou,
There are many famous castles to visit in
Auvergne; the following are among the more interesting:
- Allier: Bourbon
l'Archambault, Busset, Lapalisse
- Puy de Dome: Pontgibaud,
Saint Saturnin, Tournoël,
- Haute Loire: Valprivas,
Domeyrat (near Brioude),
Chaviniac Lafayette, Polignac., Saint Vidal.
- Cantal: Val (on the Lac
Pesteils (near Vic sur Cère)
The old city, the Cathedral, the church
of Notre Dame du Port, the Roger Quillot Art Gallery, trip to the top
of the Puy de Dome mountain.
- Jonas, near Saint Nectaire
the mediaeval trogloditic cave dwellings, guided visits.
- Zenith de l'Auvergne - Clermont
Ferrand - one of
France's large auditoriums.
- World "Cultures
Traditions" festival, Gannat - Puy de Dome.
de la Chaise Dieu, Haute
Loire, one of
France's most prestigeous classical music festivals. Late August
en la Vallée" a season of concerts in
in the area of Brioude, Haute Loire. July - August.
- Biennale de l'Aquarelle - Brioude
biennial watercolour festival, France's largest watercolour event.
Haute Loire. Every odd-numbered year, in July.
- International street theatre
Cantal . August.
- "Bird King" Renaissance festival in
of Le Puy en Velay, mid September.
- Saugues, Haute Loire. Gevaudun Celtic music festival.
three days in mid August
- Craponne-sur-Arzon, Haute Loire. Country music festival - 3 days at
the end of July
on the upper reaches of the Allier and the
hire in summer at several locations including Langeac,
Lavoûte-Chilhac and Brioude on the Allier, and
Vorey-sur-Loire, and Bas en Basset on the Loire
- Hot air
ballooning over the volcanoes
Massif-Central lies at the hub of
France's network of
long-distance hiking trails. Numerous hiking trails cross the
region, including the start of the great historic Pilgrimage route to
Santiago de Compostella, that starts in Le Puy, and the new GR 700
Regordane Way, a historic mediaeval pilgrimage route to from Le Puy to
St. Gilles du Gard. The GR 4 hiking
trail, crossing France
from the Atlantic to the Mediteranean, traverses the Auvergne and
neighbouring Lozere from Bort les Orgues (Puy-de-Dôme) to
Langogne(Haute-Loire); and the
GR3, the Loire Valley route, and oldest long-distance trail in France,
runs through the region from north to south.
- Cycle tourism.
A lightly-populated region stretching from the Loire valley to the
highest peaks of the Massif Central, Auvergne has thousands of
kilometres of byroads with very little traffic, ideal for cyclists. The
area is crossed by the V70 (Loire to Mediterranean) and V74 (Massif
Central) national cycleways, and there are also hundreds of kilometres
of marked local cycleways - information available from local tourist
- Mountain bike
trails. The Haute Loire and Puy de Dôme cater
well for mountain bike enthusiasts. With over 3300 km of marked
mountain bike trails, mostly off-road, the Haute Loire is one of the
best equipped departments in France, with a diverse range of trails
from the very easy to the very difficult. For more info click 43 on the French
Cycling Federation's Mountain
- Via ferrata
at Orbeil, near Issoire
(Puy-de-Dôme) or at
Le Pertuis (Haute-Loire)
on several of the region's
notably at the lake of Bort les Orgues
Lake Lavalette near Yssingeaux. (Haute-Loire)
du Cézallier, from Allanches and Landeyrat in the Cantal
Pedal carts on an abandoned railway line. 6 options, with
rides from 6 km to 23 km. Website
du Velay, at
More pedal carts on another old railway line. Up to 15 km, with option
of the up journey by special train, for a largely downhill pedal cart
The region's main downhill
are at the Puy de Sancy (Puy-de-Dôme), with the resort of
the Plomb du Cantal, with the resort of Super Lioran.
sights and attractions:
park, near Clermont Ferrand; Volcano theme park, with 3-D cinemas,
IMAX, and a discovery of the world of volcanoes, earthquakes and earth
- The volcanoes
themselves - the Massf du Sancy (Puy-de-Dôme), the Monts du
and the Volcans du Velay (Haute-Loire), plus volcanic outcrops and
geological sites throughout the area between these three most
- Le Pal
amusement park. (03)
- The monthly
Biron cattle fair, in the wilds of the Cézallier
very early in the morning !
working paper mill, the Moulin
Richard de Bas, at Ambert (Puy-de-Dôme)
making paper since the 14th century.
- Allier gorges
scenic train trip (Haute-Loire), departs from Langeac.(train station,
- The Haut
Velay steam railway - the highest in France. Part of a
former metre-gauge network. Raucoules - Chambon sur Lignon -
Saint Agrève. Steam trains on Sundays late April to October,
frequently in July and August.
- Ally : wind farm,
windmills and historic Gallo-Roman mine visit. (near Lavoute Chilhac
fountains of Saint Nectaire Discover an age-old
handicraft in an unusual underground environment
- Living history
presentations: Chateaux de La Batisse (Puy-de-Dôme)
(Haute-Loire), de Murol (Puy-de-Dôme).
- Museum of the
Resistance, Mont Mouchet, near Saint Flour (15)
- The Pont de
Garabit, designed by Gustave Eiffel (visitor centre on A75
motorway south of St Flour)
old town of the Auvergne uplands (15)
More about Auvergne..
map to Enlarge
Chateau de Polignac
Scenic railway - Gorges de l'Allier
Eleventh century Chapelle St. Michel - Aiguilhe, Le Puy
du tourisme et de la culture en Auvergne
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