Best Places to Visit in Auvergne (France)

Welcome to Traveler Heavens! Auvergne is a stunning and diverse region of France, with breathtaking sights and attractions that make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. From the lush green valleys and picturesque towns to historic castles and winding rivers, there is something for everyone in Auvergne.

In this blog, we will explore some of the best places to visit in Auvergne so that you can plan the perfect getaway! A place of spectacular natural beauty, the Auvergne region is an off-the-beaten-path destination in rural France. This rugged landscape is distinguished by its impressive volcanic mountains, idyllic valleys, and unspoiled forests. A perfect destination for outdoor adventurers, Auvergne’s regional parks provide fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, skiing, and other activities.

Besides its relaxing environment and stunning scenery, Auvergne also offers a variety of cultural attractions. A highlight of the region is the local gastronomy. Many of the towns are known for making particular cheese varieties. This region is dotted with castles, splendid churches, and charming villages. Because of its thermal springs, Auvergne also has fashionable spa towns such as Vichy and Le Mont-Dore.

The vibrant capital of Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, is an elegant city with a heritage dating back to the Crusades. Find out what to see and do in this undiscovered region of France by reading our list of the top attractions in Auvergne.

Clermont-Ferrand

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Clermont-Ferrand is one of the best places to visit in Auvergne. Clermont-Ferrand, France, is a city with a long and fascinating history. Located in the region of Auvergne, it is the prefecture of the Puy-de-Dôme department and the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Clermont-Ferrand has almost 145,000 people, making it the 6th most populous commune in France.

The city of Clermont-Ferrand is renowned for its history and its remarkable monuments. It was once the site of the Gallic-Roman, then Merovingian, the capital city of Arvernis, and today, its remnants are among the most visited archaeological sites in the country. The town boasts a wealth of historic sites, including the 12th-century Notre Dame du Port, the majestic 16th-century Palace of the Dukes of Bourbon, the magnificent Château de Montlosier, and the elegant Château de la Fage.

The city also boasts several museums, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Musée Lecoq, and the Musée de la Haute-Auvergne. The city of Clermont-Ferrand is renowned for its vibrant culture, its unique cuisine, and its festivals. The city is home to several theaters, including the renowned Théâtre Clermont-Ferrand and the innovative Théâtre de l’Opéra. The city also hosts numerous festivals, including the Festival of Lights and the Festival de Jazz de Clermont-Ferrand.

The city is also known for its great outdoors. The nearby Monts Dore offers some of the city’s most beautiful hiking trails and panoramic views. Several ski resorts are located in the area, including Super-Besse and Super-Besse-Rond. The city is also home to several National Parks and Nature Reserves, including the Loire Valley National Park, the Monts Dore National Park, and the Cevennes National Park.

Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne

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The region has volcanoes, crater lakes, forests, rivers, and thermal springs. The Puy de Dôme is the most spectacular of all the volcanoes. Those who climb the Puy de Dôme can see the ancient craters of the Chaîne des Puys, which are now covered in pastures of rolling grass. With its elevation of 1,886 meters, the Puy de Sancy is the highest volcano in Massif Central.

It is a nature reserve with well-groomed trails that make it a hiker’s paradise. Visitors come to the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne to relax, appreciate the vast open space, and engage in adventure sports. Mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, river rafting, kayaking, and canoeing are other outdoor activities.

Le Puy-en-Velay

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In this one-of-a-kind town, striking volcanic formations provide stunning sites for medieval pilgrimage churches. With its Byzantine mosaics, the Chapelle Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe has a stunning interior. Notre Dame’s high altar is adorned with the revered Black Virgin, which dates back to the 12th century Romanesque. The Fêtes Morales (Festival of the Assumption) is a traditional Catholic celebration commemorating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in mid-August.

The famous Black Madonna parades through the streets. Atop the Rocher Corneille, a 755-meter-high volcanic chimney above the old town of Le Puy-en-Velay, stands the statue of Notre-Dame du Puy (Virgin Mary), one of the most iconic sights in Le Puy-en-Velay. The Forteresse de Polignac is even more stunning than Le Puy-en-Velay. Majestically positioned on a volcanic hill, this impregnable fortress inspires visitors with its stunning silhouette. The views from the viewing platform are breathtaking.

Saint-Flour

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If you’re looking for the best places to visit in France, look no further than Saint-Flour. Located in the southern Auvergne region of the country, this charming town has something for everyone, from outdoor activities and stunningly beautiful landscapes to delicious local cuisine and vibrant cultural life. The city sits at the foot of the Massif Central Mountains and is surrounded by stunning green valleys and countryside, making Saint-Flour an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The area offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and climbing, as well as horse riding and fishing. You can also take part in canoeing and kayaking along the Lot River or take a boat trip across the Chaudefour Valley. The town has many attractions, including the Saint-Flour Cathedral, an impressive Romanesque structure dating back to the 12th century, and the ancient Roman theatre.

There is also a charming old town center with a medieval market, historic buildings, and several galleries and artisans’ workshops. Regarding dining, Saint-Flour offers a wide selection of delicious local culinary specialties, such as the famous Saint-Flour cheese, charcuterie, and dishes made with fresh local ingredients.

It’s also home to some of the best bakeries in the region, with fresh pastries and pieces of bread. No visit to Saint-Flour would be complete without sampling some of its renowned wines. The area produces excellent red and white wines, such as the local Chardonnay, Chenin blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Riom

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Riom is one of the best places to visit in Auvergne. In Riom, you’ll find grand boulevards and elegant old mansions. On the main street, the Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, you’ll find the 16th-century Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and the Musée Mandate, which houses a collection of fine arts and decorative arts. A museum devoted to traditional rural life in Auvergne is also located in Riom, the Musée Régional d’Auvergne.

Three splendid 15th-century stained-glass windows illuminate the chapel of the old château, Sainte-Chapelle, in the Palais de Justice (Law Courts). A five-kilometer detour from Riom, Chattel-Guyon offers spa and mineral bath treatments.

This Belle Epoque spa town is home to a modern spa facility with views of the Parc Thermal, a lush three-hectare park, and a rose garden with thousands of blooms. The town also hosts a spring jazz festival, an outdoor summer concert, and theater performances all year long.

La Chaise-Dieu

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La Chaise-Dieu, France, is one of the best places to visit in France. La Chaise-Dieu is a charming village surrounded by beautiful countryside in the Auvergne region of central France. Its ancient abbey, fortified churches, and lovely river setting make it a truly unique destination. The village of La Chaise-Dieu was founded in the 10th century as a Benedictine abbey.

It is home to one of Europe’s oldest and most important monasteries. The sanctuary is a stunning example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to the oldest functioning library in France and the eldest stained glass windows in the country. When visiting La Chaise-Dieu, take the time to explore its many historic churches and buildings.

These include the Church of Saint-Pierre, Saint-Gomarin, and the Church of Notre Dame. Each of these churches has its unique character and beauty, making it a must-see for anyone visiting La Chaise-Dieu. Another highlight of La Chaise-Dieu is its sprawling countryside. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains, meadows, and rolling hills. Hiking and cycling are popular activities here, as is fishing in the nearby rivers and streams.

For those looking for an even more unique experience, La Chaise-Dieu has a variety of cultural offerings. Its plentiful festivals include the annual Fête de la Musique, the Festival of Sacred Music, and the Festival of the Virgin Mary. Additionally, You can find several art galleries and museums in the village, where visitors can explore its rich history and culture.

Orcival

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Orcival, France, is one of the best places to visit in the world. Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of central France, Orcival is a small but beautiful village with an array of tourist attractions. From its stunning architecture to its local cuisine, Orcival is a tourist must-see destination. Orcival’s history dates back to the 11th century when it was first mentioned in documents. In the Middle Ages, the village was home to an influential family called the Orcival.

During the Renaissance, Orcival became a popular place for wealthy people to stay, and the town is still known for its grand and historic buildings. When visiting Orcival, be sure to take time to explore its beautiful architecture. The village is home to some of France’s best examples of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. The 13th-century church of Saint-Etienne is one of the most famous buildings in Orcival, and it is a great place to get a glimpse into the past.

The village also has several other churches and monuments from different eras, including the 12th century Château de Gergonne and the Château de la Roche. When it comes to food, Orcival is a great place to try traditional French cuisine. The village is home to some of the best restaurants in the region, serving everything from delicious local favorites to classic French dishes.

The nearby farms offer fresh produce and some of France’s best wines and cheeses. Orcival is also an excellent place for outdoor activities. The village is surrounded by forests and mountains, making it ideal for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. The area also has several lakes and rivers, perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming.

Salers

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Salers is one of the best places to visit in Auvergne. Salers is one of France’s Plus Beaux Villages (Most Beautiful Villages). Located at an altitude of more than 914 meters, the town still stands surrounded by ancient walls and in the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne. Many houses in the city are built of dark lava stone and have turrets.

This town has two main attractions: the central square and the Romanesque-Gothic-style Eglise Saint-Mathieu decorated with Aubusson tapestries from the 17th century. The Musée de Salers can be found in the Maison des Templiers, which tells the history of Salers and its folk arts and traditions. Salers is well known for its farming heritage, as well as its hearty cuisine made from ingredients of the terroir.

Some of the local specialties are AOP Salers cheese (Cheese of Salers Origin and Protected Appellation) and high-quality beef from Aubrac-breed cattle raised on nearby ranches.

Moulins

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Moulins, France, is a small, picturesque city located at the heart of the Allier River Valley in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It’s known for its historic architecture, quaint cobblestone streets, and stunning scenery. It’s also an excellent destination for travelers looking to experience the beauty and charm of France. Moulins is a great place to explore if you’re interested in French history.

The city was once the capital of the Bourbon dynasty and is known for its many ancient and well-preserved buildings. The oldest is the 15th-century Moulins Cathedral, built in the Gothic style. Other highlights of Moulins’ historic sites include the 12th-century Château des Ducs de Bourbon, the 16th-century Hôtel-Dieu, and the 18th-century Hôtel-Dieu. The city also boasts some of the best museums in the country.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Moulins offers a wide range of temporary exhibitions and permanent collections of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. The Musée de la Résistance et de la Deportation’s remembers the city’s role in World War II, and the Musée de l’Hôtel-Dieu tells the story of the city’s long and varied history. For those looking to experience French culture and cuisine, Moulins is the perfect place to visit. The city is home to several excellent restaurants, cafes, and cafés, all offering traditional French dishes.

The city also has several wineries and other small producers, meaning there are plenty of local wines to sample. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the countryside around Moulins is the perfect place to go. The Allier Valley is full of idyllic villages, stunning scenery, and excellent walking and cycling routes. There are also several nearby lakes and rivers, which make for great spots for swimming and fishing.

Brioude

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Brioude is one of the best places to visit in Auvergne. As part of the “Way of Saint James” pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, Brioude boasts the largest Romanesque church in Auvergne. The Basilique Saint-Julien was built in the 11th to 12th centuries from multicolored masonry and featured 300 richly carved Romanesque capitals. Gothic vaulting was added in the 13th century.

The cathedral is decorated with intricate 12th-century frescoes that depict biblical stories and contemporary stained-glass windows that illuminate the space. In addition to being a beautiful attraction, Brioude also has an aquarium that houses 800 fish of 35 different species. The museum educates visitors about salmon biology and the history of salmon fishing.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no doubt that Auvergne is a beautiful region in France with many places to visit. Of all the places we have discussed, I believe Saint-Flour is the best place to start. Its charming villages and historic sites make it an excellent destination for any traveler. This list of the Best Places to Visit in Auvergne has helped help you plan your trip. Bon, voyage!

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