the A75 motorway at the point where it enters the high country of the
Massif Central, the
north of the Haute Loire department, from Auzon to Chanteuges
Langeac, offers a wealth of opportunities in terms of heritage tourism,
ecotourism and visits. Whether in the "Pays d'art et d'histoire" (rural
heritage area of outstanding artistic
and historical value) or in the immediate vicinity, this is a
region that abounds in historic monuments, castles, old abbeys and
churches, remarkable landscapes, and other unusual tourist attractions
such as underground visits in a Gallo-Roman tin and antimony mine, the
French Resistance museum at Mont Mouchet, or a distillery producing
organic essential oils, at Saint Hilaire.
: God - detail from 14th century murals in the church
of Saint Cirgues.
In the valley of
the Allier :
From north to south
built on a promontory around the abbey.
Laurent. 12th century romanesque church, 14th century
visits until 12/09 at 10 am and 3 pm.
aquarium telling the story of the Allier, one of France's main salmon
Maison de la
Dentelle - lace museum
- Weekly market Saturday morning
St. Julian's Basilica
the largest romanesque church in Auvergne, and
one of the finest. Classed with the top three-star ranking by the
Michelin Green guide. Medieval frescoes, carved capitals,
remarkable mediaeval mosaic floor. The location for several concerts.
Visits in July and August daily Tuesday to Saturday. 11 am, 3
4.30 pm. The 3pm visit lasts an hour, the others half an hour.
de la vigne -
this museum tells the story of Haut Alliers heritage as a wine
- Fine 19th century single-span stone bridge over the Allier
Site of the village.
Small romanesque church
- Saint Ilpize.
atop a volcanic rock, three hundred feet
above the river Allier below. Free access.
* Old suspension bridge
high above the river Allier. Built in 1879 by
Arnodin, this was the first modern suspension bridge in France.
* Vine conservatory
- collection of historic varieties in a restored
romanesque early gothic parish church, with vestiges of mural
paintings. There is also a delightful
small romanesque chapel in the
small parish church boasts a fine collection of 14th century frescoes
or murals, including the two famous trumpeting angels.
* Magnificent late medieval triple-arch stone bridge across the
* Maison des Oiseaux - museum
and diorama of the exceptionally rich
bird life in the Haut Allier.
* Clunisiac abbey , formerly a major monastery, founded in the 11th
century. Important medieval polychrome crucifixion.
Mediaeval church, with a remarkable collection of
murals (14th and early 15th century), some in very good condition.
perched dramatically on top of an old volcanic
lava-flow, beside the river Allier.
* Amazing basaltic "organ
rocks", and 19th century suspension bridge over the Allier.
Christian Guth Paleontological
museum, small, but top quality museum
with the fossilized remains of mastodons, rhinoceros and other
creatures that inhabited this area 2 million years ago.
Abbey, with remarkable mediaeval polychrome sculptures.
with remarkable polychrome sculptures, and some remaining mediaeval
historic town centre.
on Thursday mornings.
up the Allier Gorge. Website
abbey and cloisters
perched on a rocky outcrop above the village and the river.
Medieaval fresco depicting Death, in the abbey of Lavaudieu. Dated 1355
the Pays d'Art et d'Histoire area - valleys of the Allagnon and the
Senouire, and in between
antimony mines, with guided underground visits .
listed as one of the "plus beaux villages de France". Old
home : the
historic seat of the Marquis de Lafayette - of specific interest to
Near Paulhaguet. Fine mediaeval fortress,
with living history activities in summer.
Hilltop village overlooking the valley of the Allagnon. Impressive
ruins of medieval castle, renovated terraces, magnificent views.
Paulhac. mediaeval castle overlooking the Brioude plain
- Lavaudieu: Tourist
as one of the Plus beaux villages de France
cloisters in Auvergne, with the remains of a medieval
convent. Both the church and the ancient refectory contain remarkable
and unique medieval frescoes.
Visits daily in summer.
Allier" heritage area.
Puy en Velay
Remarkable romanesque cathedral and cloisters, with unusual use of
coloured stonework. One of the main departure points on the great
pilrimage route to Compostella.
St Michel de l'Aiguilhe, le Puy
Tenth century hermitage chapel perched on top of a spire of volcanic
Abbey of La Chaise-Dieu
Ancient Benedictine Abbey, founded in 1043. Famous for its remarkable
mediaeval fresco of the Dance of Death, and for its classical music
festival in August.
Museum of the French Resistance
Well presented museum commemorating the activities of the French
Resistance in this area in the Second World War.
► Discover More