A vast protected area, the Auvergne is an unspoiled green region. It’s a favourite destination for keen hikers, who come here to roam across a region with a thousand different landscapes. But it’s also a region with an incredible built heritage, as is evident from the many castles and Romanesque churches. These are the must-see sights in the Auvergne:
The Auvergne, region of greenery
When holidaying in the Auvergne, you will soon discover that it’s a region with an abundant natural heritage. Nature here is as varied as it is fascinating. First of all, the forests here are magnificent and extensive. Take, for example, the state-owned Forest of Tronçais, best known for its oaks. Indeed, it contains one of the most beautiful oak plantations in Europe. Hidden within the forest, five lakes add charm and beauty to this peaceful haven that can be explored on foot, by bicycle or on horseback, on the many paths that criss-cross it. The Auvergne is above all a region of rugged landscapes and volcanos, with the Massif des Monts du Cantal which is no less than the largest volcanic massif in Europe. Its summit, which reaches 1,787 metres, provides an imposing panorama of the glacial valleys surrounding it. A magical time communing with nature awaits you when you stay in the Auvergne. Another must-see for nature lovers is the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park. The Chaîne des Puys is both impressive and soothing. You can take the opportunity to visit Vulcania which celebrates the volcanoes, their history and their secrets!
History and culture in the Auvergne
History has left its mark on the region. This is easy to appreciate when admiring the buildings that loom majestically in the towns and villages of the Auvergne. Be sure to make a stop, during your holiday in Allier, at the Priory of Souvigny, which was founded in 916. Its church houses the tombs of the Dukes of Bourbon and attracts many pilgrims since it also contains the tombs of Saint Odilon and Saint Mayeul. To round off your visit, treat yourself to a little walk in the Priory’s magnificent French-style gardens. Another sacred monument not to be missed is the Basilica of Orcival. In leafy, peaceful surroundings, the basilica is one of the Auvergne’s most beautiful churches with its magnificent capitals and beautiful statue of the Virgin. History has also left its mark on the Auvergne through castles, and the stronghold of Murol should not be missed. It will delight lovers of medieval architecture with its keep, parapet walk, towers and fortified gateway. By booking a hotel in the Auvergne, you can be sure of a holiday that provides a complete change of scene in a characterful region with a strong identity.
Must-see towns in the Auvergne
In the Auvergne, there are towns that really shouldn’t be missed! Like Vichy of course! Famous since Antiquity for its springs with their many powers, Vichy remains an elegant and highly regarded thermal spa. Napoléon III and Madame de Sévigné used to come here to unwind. When staying at Vichy you’ll enjoy the thermal spa, of course, but also the very rich architectural heritage including the Palais des Congrès-Opéra dating from the Second Empire, the Hall des Sources de la Belle Époque or the Art Deco Church of Saint-Blaise. Salers is also worth a visit. This little town spirits you back to the Middle Ages. You will be utterly charmed by its houses with their lava walls and lauze roofs. A few turrets still adorn some of them. Enjoy a pleasant interlude in a town that seems not to have changed since the 15th century. Le Puy-en-Velay has no shortage of attractions for you to enjoy. A visit to its Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-France is not to be missed. Classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and built in a very elegant Romanesque style, it is a stage on the pilgrimage route of Saint James of Compostela . The old town of Puy-en-Velay consists of old houses with undeniable charm. Lastly, Clermont-Ferrand is an absolute delight to visit. The birthplace of Blaise Pascal, it is distinctive for its private mansions, its churches and the famous place de Jaude dominated by an amazing equestrian statue of Vercingetorix!