Book our special package «Auvergne history».
Towns and villages
Since 1985, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication has pursued a policy of preserving and promoting France's heritage. Historic towns and districts have been designated “Villes et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire” (Towns and Lands of Art and History).
In Auvergne, theme paths will make you discover the main attractions of the cities or villages, to understand how they have developed their identity.
From the biggest one...
- Clermont-Ferrand (37 km): this town is known for its building material, the Volvic stone, taken from the Chaine des Puys. Volvic stone is a very hard rock that, for several centuries, was held in very high esteem. Many buildings in the city and in the region around were built by using this dark stone.
Main sights: the Romanesque church, Notre-Dame du Port (nominated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO), the Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral (Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de l’Assomption) built in Gothic style, the chapel of Cordeliers-Vieux, the Vielle ville, the Chemin des fontaines and the Chemin de Blaise Pascal.
- Thiers (17 km) : famous for its knives, blades and cutlery industry from the 15th century.
Main sights: the Museum of cutlery, the Château de Chassaigne, the Donation de Calamy, the Vielle ville and its half-timbered houses. For more information about cutlery, please visit our “Experience Savoir-faire” section.
- Ambert (50 km): capital of the Blue cheese of Auvergne.
Main sights: the Hotel de ville ronde (unique in Europe), the Cathedral, the Vieille ville, the market (thursdays), the Moulin Richard de Bas, the Panoramic train (summer only). For more information about cheeses, please visit our “Gourmet experience” section.
...to the smallest one
- Billom (14 km) : the medieval village of Billom fascinates for its many half-timbered houses, its wine history, its cobbled streets and its St-Cerneuf college. A guide is available in the tourism office.
Main sights : on Mondays (morning), the market is one of the best in the region.
- Montpeyroux (34 km) : this former winemaking village perched on a hillock has houses built using arkose rocks winding around the keep. The building, which has recently been restored, has amazing views over the Allier Valley.This village is considered as one of the most beautiful in France.
- Riom (37 km): Riom has a historical town centre with no less than 16 listed monuments and 57 monuments entered into the World Heritage register. In the heart of its pedestrian district you can stroll around the town’s religious or civil architectural treasures.
Main sights: don't miss the museums of Riom, including the Musée Mandet, housing fine and decorative arts, the Court of Appeal and its gardens, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Basilica of Saint-Amable and the Church of Le Marthuret, the Hôtel de Ville with its galleries and spiral staircase and the Clock Tower, a permanent exhibition area offering an excellent view across the town.
- Glaine-Montaigut (11 km) : the village kept its medieval appearance.
Main sights: The church of Saint-Jean (XII-XIII° century), the Maison de l'Apothicaire.
The Auvergne is the land of castles, living witness of its historical, artistic and architectural heritage.
The Historic Road of the Auvergne collected, in 2014, 43 castles open to visitors on 4 departments, and welcomes every year between 300 000 and 350 000 visitors www.routes-historiques.com.
− Château de Ravel (2 km): built in 1147 its first occupant was Pierre Revel.
This royal fortress of the XIII° century was rebuilt in the XVIII° century. Many furnished rooms, large garden and beautiful view.
− Château d'Aulteribe (10 km): Its medieval architecture was restored during the Romantic period with luxurious lounges and more intimate bedrooms, and it houses an outstanding collection of furniture and art works.
− Château de Busséol (23 km): the Château de Busséol was built in 1170 on the remains, which are still visible, of a 11th century Gallo-Roman castrum at an altitude of 700 mt, on a volcanic dyke overlooking the Limagne. This amazing fortress belonged successively, from its beginnings, to illustrious people.
Sacred and simple, Romanesque art is the perfect architectural style for Auvergne. With more than 250 buildings, the Romanesque heritage in the region is one of the richest in France and Europe. The Romanesque style, with its modest proportions, is mainly embodied in religious architecture. Visit Auzon, Blesle, Brioude, Clermont-Ferrand, Issoire, Lavaudieu, Orcival, Mailhat-Lamontgie, Saint-Nectaire et Saint-Saturnin.
− Notre Dame du Port (Clermont-Ferrand, 37 km)
− Eglise de Saint-Saturnin (Saint-Saturain, 41 km)
− Abbatiale Saint-austremoine (Issoire, 43 km)
− Notre Dame du Mont Carnadore (Saint-Nectaire, 54 km)
Start the Michelin adventure! Located in Clermont-Ferrand, the 2000mq museum includes old cars, interactive models, projections and animations, all set up around the past, the present and the future of the Michelin group www.laventuremichelin.com.
Sport & Relax
In the heart of Auvergne The Auvergne region invites you to discover its heritage, its landscapes, and its handcrafts. Holidays in Auvergne...