It took some 300 volcanoes to create Haute-Loire’s hills and mountains. From Mont Gerbier de Jonc, where it starts, the River Loire winds its way through the hilly landscape to carve out stunning gorges nestled between high basalt cliffs. This setting is ideal for white water sports such as canoeing, and for mountain biking along trails. With hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails, these vast expanses are also perfect for exploring on foot.
The Haute-Loire region’s mountains offer a wealth of heritage including its crowning jewel: Puy-en-Velay. This UNESCO-listed town is brimming with history from the cathedral built on the town’s heights to the Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel perched on a rocky outcrop. You can explore the many mediaeval castles and villages spread across the region and even discover modern art in Firminy, a town on which architect Le Corbusier left his mark.
The small town of Sainte-Sigolène possesses several museums which are well worth a visit. LA FABRIQUE is a living museum where a team of old style haberdashers allows you to discover 400 years of weaving and 50 years of plastic fabrication. LA MAISON de BEATE (the House of Beate) was a place of learning for young country dwellers.
Sited at 820 metres of altitude between Le Puy-en-Velay and Saint Etienne this reservoir, owned by the City of St Etienne, provides a leisure base spread over about 500 acres. Reputed for it's fishing the nautical centre also provides rowing, canoeing ,wind surfing, sailing and pedal boating. Among other possibilities hot air ballooning, mountain bike trails and hiking.
The small town of Monistrol/Loire has a picturesque town centre of which the Bishops Castle is emblematic, flanked by 2 round towers dating from the 15th Century. For children there is an amusing play path, the Balade de Pitrelou, which permits them to discover the town s history in an amusing way. THE OZEN, the aquatic center with one relaxing space proposing a Jacuzzi, two saunas and a hammam.
Touristic train between the Haute-Loire and Ardeche departments which runs between Dunières and St Agrève aboard a picturesque train of yesteryear. The track runs through prairies and forests where you will discover the vast and magnificent landscapes.
Every Thursday morning the regional market takes place where many local producers offer their specialties. The Sucs of Yssingeaux are old extinct volcanos, weathered by the ages which give to the region it's very distinctive topography.
The Rochebaron Eagles, demonstations of birds of prey in free flight and visit to The medieval Rochebaron Castle in the Loire Canyons. Possibility of Canoeing and Kayaking on the Loire, the last untamed river.
Situated on the Loire, Europe s last remaining untamed river which springs from the ground at the foot of the Gerbier de Jonc mountain. From this town, in the Loire Canyons you can visit several Loire Castles. Park Respirando. Situated in an exceptional environment spread over some 25 acres of water and pastures where you can partake of nautical and land-based activities.
The town of FIRMINY is best known for its architectural heritage by Le Corbusier. Among the works of this innovative architect are the Maison de la Culture, the Stadium, the Modern Housing Unit and above all the Church.
This museum has for objective the preservation of the time honored craft of Lace Making. In addition to a collection of laces going back to the 16th Century this national museum, which offers 1000 sq meters of displays, also has demonstrations of hand-made lace making.
Learn about ‘memories and resistance during WW2’ during a visit to the Vivarais-Lignon Plateau and Le Chambon-sur-Lignon village. In addition to this history-laden site, you can also find a golf club at the place known as La Pierre de Lune, at an altitude of 1,000 metres at the foot of Mount Mézenc and Suc de Lizieux. This golf club features a par 72 golf course that is 5,882 metres long, on an undulating, tree-filled landscape.
The Blue Lake which is to be found at Champclause owes it's name to it's striking colour which oscillates between blue and green. At the origin of this striking color are the « lauzes » these volcanic rocks which line it's depths.
Whilst the city does not deny its industrial past it presents today the image of a dynamic, modern city. Among the visits not to miss are the Modern Art Museum, The Art and Industry Museum, The Museum of Mining, and the City of Design.
At St. Germain de Laprade it is possible to visit the Pagés Distillery where the liqueur Verveine de Velay has been produced for 150 years. This visit will permit you to discover all the secrets of this liqueur which has its place in the gastronomic history of the Haute-Loire.