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Arlempdes, in Haute-Loire, reserves a pleasant surprise for those who take the detour to discover it.
Perched on its rocky spur, Arlempdes is listed as one of France's "Most Beautiful Villages", and overlooks the Loire gorges which were carved out of the lava by the river, creating an astonishing landscape in the process.
This peaceful village, which was once one of the Loire’s main defensive positions, is topped by a castle built from basalt between the 12th and 14th centuries, from where visitors can admire the outstanding view.
Each summer, the castle's ruins provide the setting for the "Théâtrales du Velay" event.
The castle, the Church of Saint-Pierre and the open-air museum