We can turn the thing around in all directions, no way to deny that Auvergne is the most beautiful region of France! All the evidence is there. A good ten. And again, we only chose the most obvious because there is also food (Auvergne has the best culinary specialties). But here, we focused on the beauty of the region. On the ten points that make it on a purely aesthetic level, it largely dominates all the others…
The volcanic massifs of Auvergne have two major advantages: first, they are magnificent and lend themselves wonderfully well to long hikes, and second, they present no danger! The oldest have been extinct for 65 million years and the most recent for 7000 years. These are located on the Chaîne des Puys. The oldest volcanoes in all of Europe are here, as is the largest. A giant composed of several peaks which is still 70 kilometers long, 60 kilometers wide and 1855 meters high. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the site, which has 80 volcanoes, is therefore a real national treasure.
Auvergne is one of the richest regions in France in terms of biodiversity. For example, there are 80% of the dragonfly species in France and 56% of the butterfly species. You can also come across animals such as the amphibian vole, the gray shrike, the Montagu’s harrier or the red kite.
3. The Livradois-Forez Regional Park
A beautiful corner! The fourth largest park of its kind in France. Mountain moors, peat lakes, alluvial forests, meadows, breathtaking panoramas! And the most beautiful: almost no human! This gives the 51 species of mammals plenty of time to evolve there in peace.
4. There are no big cities
Because big cities = pollution and noise, it is a good thing that in Auvergne, the municipalities remain of very reasonable size. Only Clermont-Ferrand, which acts as a megalopolis, goes a little out of the frame. 409,558 inhabitants in the urban area and 141,004 in the city itself. We are still far from Paris, Marseille or Lyon…
5. The ski resorts are magnificent
No need to look here for descents like you can find in the Alps or the Pyrenees but the Auvergne slopes, despite everything, put forward solid assets. Corners like Super Lioran, Mont-Dore or La Loge des Gardes are not only sublime but also very welcoming. And if you prefer cross-country skiing, this really is the perfect place. Visiting the region on skis, over the 900 kilometers of slopes, is a daydream.
6. For Salers
When you visit the Regional Natural Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne, you have to go through Salers, this small village with gray stones, rich in turreted houses and other mansions. A wonder !
Having played a central role in the history of France, Auvergne has a good number of castles. Dilapidated, for lovers of ruins and much more flamboyant like the Château de Val in Lanobre, the Château d’Anjony in Tournemire, the Château de Denone in Effiat, the Château de la Trémolière in Anglards-de-Salers or the Chateau de la Batisse in Chanonat.
8. Stunning lakes
And who says lakes, also says beaches! One more proof that Auvergne is a perfect region for example. Lakes such as Lac de Lanobre, Lac d’Aydat, Etang de Vieure, the incredible volcanic Lac du Bouchet… Not forgetting Lac des Lastiouilles, with its beach located near the spectacular castle of Bort-les-Orgues.
9. Clermont Ferrand
As we said above, Clermont-Ferrand is a big city without being one. A dynamic city, which does not swear in the landscape and even brings a small added value to it, with its impressive Gothic cathedral, its very pleasant Montjuzet park and its pretty tram. Clermont? A city where life is good.
10. Le Puy-en-Velay
The other must-see city in the region, here it is! Le Puy-en-Velay and its unique location to encourage hiking (it is also the starting point for one of the main branches of the Compostela route), with also a sublime cathedral and nature never far away.