Music Valley - La haute vallée de l'Allier, Auvergne, France Haute Loire - Auvergne - France:

 The high valley of the Allier.
the area of Brioude and Langeac

Outdoors & wildlife

open-air activites.

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Before there was music, there was the Haut Allier. And if artists and musicians have settled in this part of deepest rural France, it is not because the area had any inherent musical tradition; they came for the environment – a magnificent natural environment that to this day is prized by those who love the great outdoors. This is an area with remarkable wildlife, a profusion of wild flowers in Spring, birds, butterflies, reptiles and other creatures great and small throughout the year. In this part of the Haute Loire department, there is always something to do outside; miles of old tracks for rambling, rivers for sport or for relaxation, a natural environment to be enjoyed, photographed, painted, and taken away in memories.
Welcome Places to visit Concerts and music Accommodation  Restaurants Access

River sports.

Kayaking, rafting, swimming, angling.

A number of organisations hire out kayaks and canoes for the afternoon, the day, or longer. The river Allier between Langeac and Brioude is ideal for beginners and all ages. However,  the stretches of calmly flowing water are interspersed with gentle rapids, so beginners ned to be accompanied.
White-water kayaking is possible upstream from Prades, just south of Langeac.

There are beaches all along this part of the river, and river swimming is a popular activity in the warm months of summer.


Short term fishing permits can be obtained. Once France's major salmon river, the Allier is in the process of being restocked. Salmon fishing is not yet permitted (and will be very expensive when it is), but the river offers opportunities for fly fishing and normal angling.

Other outdoor pursuitsHiking in France - Haut Allier, Auvergne

Hiking, rambling.

 The area offers magnificent opportunities for hiking and rambling. There are kilometres of old paths and tracks, many of them marked, others needing the help of a detailed map. For the less energetic, there are short walks without much climbing; but for the energetic, there are trails climbing from the valley floor , to the summits of the hills all around, some of which are over 1000 metres.

Mountain biking

Many of the walking trails can also be used by cycling enthusiasts.

Bird watching, ornithology, etc.

The High Allier valley is extremely rich in bird life; it includes Europe's largest concentration of  short-toed eagles, as well as eagle owls, harriers, shrikes, golden orioles, and plenty more to whet the appetite of bird-watchers. The Upper Auvergne. bird centre in Lavoute Chilhac organises birdwatching field trips. During the warm months, the area also abounds in butterfly life, with a rich variety of different species.

Flora, botany.

prickly pearThe area is remarkable for its distinctive plant life. Near the villages of Chazieux and Chilhac, small prickly-pear cacti grow in the wild; and in spring time, orchids grow profusely on the dry hillsides. There are also rare Pasque flowers, and a wealth of other wild flowers.

Tourist guide to France Holiday cottages and gîtes in Auvergne Hiking routes across France, with map

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