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Musique in Haut Allier - Auvergne - France


Music Valley - La haute vallée de l'Allier, Auvergne, France
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Music Valley - La haute vallée de l'Allier, Auvergne, FranceMusic in Auvergne :

The high valley of the Allier

from Brioude to Langeac – peace and quiet, history and an unspoilt natural environment

Nature, wildlife

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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.

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, cycling

Generally speaking, the Haute Loire department has one of the most extensive networks of marked cycling trails of any department in France. The area round Brioude is particularly well equipped in cycling trails for all types of cycling, including road routes (Brioude hosted the arrival of the Bastille Day stage of the Tour de France in 2019), cycle tourism trails, mountainbiking circuits and e-bike trails. In 2019, there are 14 graded and waymarked cycle circuits in the area of Brioude,  (see cycle circuits map ) and eight more around Langeac to the south.  The V70 cycleway linking the EV5 Loire Valley Euro cycle route to the Mediterranean follows the Allier valley throughout the Haut Allier area, and though the waymarkers for this itinerary are not yet in palce, the detailed route can be seen on this map.

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.