Visit Auvergne

The Legacy of the Lord of the Rings in Auvergne

The crag, the precipice, the perilous pass, the castle-crowned hill, the arched bridge, the untutored mountaineer, the ravaging baron, the robber chief, the ugly legendary tale of death, the pretty tale of love and fairyland luck — all these come into the story of Auvergne.

Lake Treasures: The Underwater Wine of Lac des Graves

Auvergne’s millennia-old lakes are natural vaults, full of — to paraphrase Shakespeare — ooze and sumless treasure. Many secrets lie hidden beneath their waves. In former times, some lakes — like the volcanic Lac Pavin — were believed to be the watery lairs of phantoms and monsters. Today, some lakes have become the resting places […]

A Getaway on the Lake: What to do in Aydat

You are now in the real Auvergne country as you near Lake Aydat that shines through its fringing firs-red soil, stunted shrubs, and, all round, rocks that look as though they have been hurled by giants in the last æons-ago eruption. -Robert Herring With its beaches, nature trails, and shoreline restaurants, Lake Aydat is one […]

A Werewolf in Auvergne: A Poem

Auvergne has a long tradition of loups-garous (werewolves). In fact, one of the most famous loup-garou legends first appeared in Discours execrable des Sorciers (1602), a book by the French magistrate Henri Boguet. In Boguet’s tale — which is set in 1588 — a man hunting near the village of Apchon (in modern-day Cantal) is trapped by a […]

Auvergne is Home to France’s Least-Polluted Region

Since Roman times, Auvergne has had a reputation as a perfect destination to, as the saying goes, “take the air”. Visitors and residents were well-aware of the positive impact of its montane landscapes and pristine water on the mind and the body. Although Auvergne is still regarded as one of the most eco-friendly geographic districts […]

Explaining the Beauty of Auvergne to American President Thomas Jefferson

What did nineteenth-century Americans think of Auvergne? In 1801, American ambassador William Short told President Thomas Jefferson that the Limagne — a sun-kissed expanse of meadowlands and pastures in Auvergne — was “certainly the most fertile the most highly cultivated & the most magnificent district that I have ever seen”. Here’s an excerpt from Short’s […]

Where to Stay in Montpeyroux: La Charmeraie

Located thirty minutes south of Clermont-Ferrand, Montpeyroux is a fortified village that has the look and feel of a Tuscan citadel. Surrounded by the Limagne campagne — a vast plain of wheatfields and wildflowers — the town is a picturesque assemblage of cypress-lined terraces, sun-washed villas, and vine-clad alleyways. Like so many Auvergnat communes, it’s […]

The Puy de Dôme: A Mystical Olympus in Auvergne

In the minds of the mythographers of ancient Greece, Mount Olympus was the home of the gods. Frequently covered in clouds and snow, it was wild and inaccessible — a constant reminder of the elemental nature of Zeus and his fellow immortals.  A similar and perhaps more numinous mountain exists in the Auvergne highlands: the […]