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Most Beautiful Villages in the Auvergne background image

Most Beautiful Villages in the Auvergne

A land of volcanic peaks, fertile valleys and hot mineral springs, the Auvergne offers stunning scenery and ancient heritage in abundance. The Chaîne des Puys, a series of rounded volcanoes, stretches out over the landscape in a display of wild beauty, while Romanesque churches stand in regal sophistication in the region’s towns. The most notable of these include the cathedral at Le Puy-en-Velay, a starting point on the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage route, and the basilica of Notre Dame du Port in Clermont-Ferrand.

The region now forms part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

Points of interest: Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne | Clermont-Ferrand and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption | Le Puy-en-Velay | Vichy

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This small village perched atop a volcanic peak and nestled in a meander of the River Loire is dominated by the ruined remains of the Château d’Arlempdes dating from the 12th century. The small Roman style church and chapel is also worthy of a visit. Its bell tower is unusual in that it features a series of arches each containing a bell. The ruins of its château serve as backdrop for the “Theatrales du Velay” drama festival every summer.

By Maciej Poltorak / Vanupied - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Blesle [📸 Maciej Poltorak]


Discover the beautiful Romanesque architecture, typical of the region, as you wander the pretty streets of Blesle. Founded in the 9th century and built around a Benedictine abbey, the village was gradually expanded and gained a castle in the 11th century (the keep still remains) and ramparts were added later. The village is home to the Musée de la Coiffe or Headdress museum.

By Jochen Jahnke, CC BY-SA 3.0
Lavaudieu [📸 Jochen Jahnke]


Home to the last surviving Romanesque abbey to feature a preserved cloister in the Auvergne, Lavaudieu is bathed in culture and tradition. Walk along its narrow streets and discover its traditional vineyard houses built with golden stones and rounded tiles. Its abbey, surrounded by kitchen gardens, is a listed Historical Monument and houses a Byzantine fresco in the former refectory.

By Szeder László - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Pradelles [📸 Szeder László]


Just 30 minutes from Le Puy en Velay and lying on the crossroads of Velay, Gevaudan and Vivarais, Pradelles is a medieval, and latterly renaissance, fortified village. Robert Louis Stevenson, the famed author who published Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes in 1879 briefly stayed in the village and the Stevensons trail (GR 70) now runs through the settlement.


Charroux [📸]


A wander through Charroux’s cobbled streets will reveal its artistic and artisanal past. Discover arty stores and workshops of painters, sculptors, potters, candle makers and glass blowers and little shops selling oil, conserves, soap and other locally made delicacies. Explore the village’s timber-framed market hall, old wells splashed with flowers of blush and crimson and its own local museum.


By Torsade de Pointes - Self-photographed, CC0
Montpeyroux [📸 Torsade de Pointes]


A visit to this medieval village will transport you back to feudal times. Dominating the village is the keep, which offers views of the Alier valley and Massif du Sancy mountains. Montpeyroux translates to ‘rocky mountain’, a reference to its surround quarries of arkose which was used to build the village’s houses.

By Krzysztof Golik - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Usson [📸 Krzysztof Golik]


Usson rests on the side of a volcanic peak and overlooks the chain of Puys and the plateau of Cézallier. To get an uninterrupted view of the Puys, ascend 640m above sea level and visit the hillock of Usson. Standing proudly at its summit you will find a statue of the Virgin whose mission is to protect passing airmen.


By Christophe.Finot - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5
Tournemire [📸 Christophe Finot]


Sitting at an altitude of 780m, with some parts exceeding 1000m, and dominating the Doire valley, Tournemire was founded between the 11th and 12th centuries around a medieval stronghold. Guided tours of the village are available. Wander the empty streets and take in the attractive stone houses - built using the stones of the former castle.

Salers [📸]
Salers [📸]


Located on the edge of the Regional National Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne, this small town has altered very little since its 16th century heyday. Its former grandeur is a result of the village becoming the administrative centre for the Auvergne highlands in the mid 1500s. Local gastronomy includes Salers cheese, truffles and bourriol (pancake made using buckwheat flour).

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