This region has France's largest National Park "Parc Naturel Regional des Volcans de l'Auvergne" and also incorporates the spectacular Massif Central. It has wild landscapes, wide open spaces and it is famous for it's now extinct volcanoes which form grassy peaks. Rivers have cut through the rock over the centuries to leave deep, narrow gorges, sparkling rivers and green valleys The unspoilt countryside is dotted with beautiful medieval towns and villages, medieval chateaux and Romanesque churches
There are eighty volcanoes in the Puy mountain chain which runs for 40km, from North of Clermont Ferrand down the Puy de Dome directly West of Clermont (visit the welcome and information centre at the summit) to Puy de Sancy in the South
Make sure you visit Le Puy-en-Velay South of Clermont Ferrand, a town that occupies a spectacular setting, as it is built on a series of volcanic spires. Visit also the Romanesque churches of Retournac and Chamalières-sur-.Loire. Visit also St-Saturnin, 20km South of Clermont, with its close-packed houses and narrow alleys, retaining much of its medieval atmosphere.
There are many old villages to explore and it is a great area for hiking with many signposted long distance footpaths. Visit the famous gorges de Tarn and the Vallée du Lot, hire a canoe for a trip on these rivers. The Auvergne is an area to explore not just visit.
Chateaux to visit - Visit the 13-14-17th century chateau at Chazeron, NW of Clermont, Loubeyrat and Pionsat. Just South of Clermont at Chanonat, visit La Batisse (15-18th century with gardens), visit Opme (11-17 century) in Romagnat, Chateau Dauphin (12-15th century with gardens and mine museum) in Pontgibaud