Fun for the curious
The Sancy region possesses many beautiful examples of its cultural heritage:
- Romanesque churches, such as the Saint-André in Besse et Saint-Anastaise, which will captivate you with its superb carved capitals and which is - from late September to July - home to the famous Black Madonna. Castles such as that of Murol, a listed building, where you can relive the 13th century watching a show with period costumes. Villa’s and old palaces with characteristic Belle Epoque architecture but also traditional houses made of lava stone.
- The cultural heritage of the Massif du Sancy would however not exist without the bread ovens, washing basins and mills, the true witnesses of its rural past.
- You can deepen your knowledge of the past of the Auvergne region by visiting a museum, especially the Toinette museum in Murat-le-Quaire. This museum will let you discover the life in the Auvergne region in the 19th century.
We can say that water, of glacial origin, and fire, through volcanic eruptions, are the two creators of the Auvergne region offering so many breathtaking landscapes, especially:
- beautiful lakes such as Lac Pavin, an almost perfect circle with a 800m diameter, whose water can be as turquoise as the sea,
- impressive waterfalls such as the Grande Cascade at Le Mont-Dore with its 30m drop,
- glacial valleys including the Vallée de la Fontaine Salée in Chastreix,
- and of course, the top of the Puy de Sancy, which allows you to enjoy a wonderful view not only on the surrounding peaks and valleys but also on 1/7th of France!
Finally, for those who want to know more about the scientific origins of this remarkable scenery, do not miss out on a visit to Vulcania, a scientific theme park dedicated to volcanoes and to of earth and universe sciences.
Fun for active persons
The varied landscape will certainly not displease active persons who can roam the area on foot, horseback, mountain bike, quad, 4x4 ... But that's not all because many more activities are offered. There is something for everyone: from an adventure park in tree tops via paragliding to rock climbing for the more adventurous. From golf via ten pin bowling to fishing for those wanting to take it a bit calmer. Or a wellness holiday with massages and treatments for the tired ones.
Food lovers delights
Those in favour of discovering a region by its flavours will not be disappointed: Auvergne stew, pounti (a type of salted flan with prunes), stuffed cabbage or truffade (baked potatoes with melted local cheese) are among the dishes you can taste in the inns and restaurants of the Massif du Sancy. And even if you have eaten well, always remember to keep a small room for the local cheeses!
The region has 5 AOC* cheeses :
- fourme d'Ambert,
Cheeses are the best ambassadors of the Auvergne. In the Massif du Sancy some farms offer guided tours where you can see the making of Saint-Nectaire and other cheeses.
* Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), which translates as "controlled designation of origin", is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO) - (source: Wikipedia).