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In the Haute-Loire, we propose an alternative taste of southern France that includes heat without heat waves, plenty of space without pollution, mountains with abundant natural springs, sweeping horizons and the harmonious terrain of our green and well-preserved landscapes. These natural assets are watered by the young Loire, a wild river that takes its source just south of the department. Just like the pilgrims on the famous St. James Way, the salmon know exactly where they’re going, as they make the arduous journey from the Atlantic to the pure sources of our rivers.
During a weekend stay or a longer holiday you can discover our traditional villages, where you can visit some of the major bastions of the area's religious faith, and the Romanesque architecture built here over the centuries.
Southern Auvergne is a surprising area, in which you will even find the first of the Loire chateaux, such as the Chateau de Lavoûte-Polignac.
The "mountain" town of Puy-en-Velay is nicknamed "Le Mont Saint-Michel des terres" (Mont Saint-Michel on land). This town forged by the water and volcanoes went on to become a religious centre and the starting point for the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail.
During your holidays, we hope you'll find our "South of France in the Auvergne" perfect for all kinds of open-air activities. Our river gorges and domed volcanoes, the "sucs", offer a variety of terrains to hike, explore or view from the sky.
In the Haute-Loire, there are many ways to enjoy the water, including swimming, white water sports and fishing. As an outstanding region for hiking, we propose an unrivalled network of both short and long trails.
When planning your hiking trip, insist on getting the"Respirando" brand. It proposes hiking enthusiasts a selection of high-quality walks through some of the finest nature reserves.
Whether on foot or by mountain bike, a trip along these marked-out trails offers a treat for all of your senses. Simple pleasures which are accessible and practicable at any time of year.
What's more, the terrain is ideal for walking and cycle touring, particularly in the spring and autumn.
All year round, a genuine family spirit can be enjoyed at the area’s festivals and festivities, including the Craponne Country Festival, the outstanding religious music festival of La Chaise-Dieu, or the extraordinary journey back in time to be experienced during the Renaissance "Bird King" festivities in Le Puy-en-Velay, making excellent use of the numerous natural, heritage-related and religious sites open to you.
The local cuisine is comprised of the products and produce for which the area is rightly famous, used in a wealth of delicious recipes constantly improved by our greatest chefs such as green lentils from Le Puy, salted meat products from the mountains, mushrooms, and also more unusual products such as Fin Gras du Mézenc beef, local cheese, Vellavia beer… not forgetting of course the famous Velay Vervaine liquor (to be consumed with moderation). You simply won't believe your taste buds! These mouth-watering delicacies are just a part of the area's excellent art of living.
And finally, wherever you go in Southern Auvergne you'll find charming accommodation with a warm welcome awaiting you, including attractive hotels, country inns, rural gîtes and B&Bs brimming with character, in addition to campsites and holiday villages in outstanding natural settings. We can also offer themed stays for those who prefer. There's no shortage of ideas…. or possibilities!