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Shaded by the Cantal mountains, in the heart of the Auvergne Regional Volcano Park, discover the stone-tiled roofs and ancient ramparts of Salers, one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of France". Enjoy walking the cobblestone streets of this medieval village and tasting the famous cheese of the same name.
Before the summer crowds fill up its squares and alleys, as used to happen in the days of the medieval fairs, the unexpected atmospheres you find in Salers come as a surprise. Experience the view produced by the amazing Cantal sky. So in the clear springtime air, every one of the sun’s rays appears to highlight a colourful detail of the town’s features. Whether it’s a coat of arms, a metal gate, conical “pepperpot” roofing, or a gothic doorway, the brilliance and luxury of this Auvergne village is on show.
It is in moments such as these when we can let our imaginations run wild or engage in conversation with a local who is highly inclined to share such exceptional moments. Leaning on the wall of the Barrouze esplanade, though they may have done so many times before, these contemplative souls also give themselves up delightedly to the vastness of the scene comprising Le Puy Violent and the Maronne valley. Looking just as they always did, unchanged just like this Auvergne village.
And Salers has never lost the importance it acquired during its golden era, during the 15th and 16th centuries, under the leadership of its officiers de justice. This is especially striking at Place Tyssandier-d’Escous, where you’ll find the Bailiwick, the town hall, the Maison de la Flojade and the Maison de la Ronade. These Renaissance buildings, which were re-built in the strict style of Haute Auvergne, interact with one another above a monumental fountain from which wine used to flow during the Fête de la Nativité de la Vierge. When this custom came to an end, pilgrims rarely came to the church of Saint-Matthieu, with its Romanesque porchway. This also retains the memory of the days of opulence, especially through its Aubusson tapestries and a multi-coloured stone entombment from the 15th century.
Salers placed its possessions behind its ramparts and succeeded in resisting marauders, and its two gateways ― the Porte du Beffroi and the Porte de la Martille ― still exist; but the Revolution saw to it that the importance of this Auvergne village evaporated. Unchanged in appearance, it devoted itself to its successful cattle breeding, with which we are familiar, only awakening for its agricultural shows.
But that was all ages ago, and Salers has recovered its panache thanks to the tourist industry, opening up its stalls to restaurateurs, artists, craftsmen and second-hand goods dealers who have fallen under the spell of this black pearl of Cantal.