|Le Ballon Bleu
Links and adresses
General touristic information
The Tourist Office (Office de Tourisme) of the 'heart of the Combrailles' has an extensive website, some of which is also in English.
Places to stay
Les Garachons, B&B and table d'hôtes in the Sioule valley near Sauret-Besserve. *
Alavala, chambres d'hôtes (B&B) and gîte in Saint-Priest-des-Champs, also with table d'hôtes (dinner). *
Chateau la Perche in Buxières sous Montaigut.*
Les Eydieux is a B&B that offers luxury rooms with hamams and other things to spoil you rotten.
Auvergogne, luxurious chambres d'hôtes (B&B) with an indoor swimming pool and a restaurant run by a former Parisian chef, known for fabulous desserts.
Brenazet, camping and gîtes in Vernusse (towards the Allier, direction of Montmarault). *
Appartements 'Le Viaduc' en 'Belle Vue' * in a former railway hotel near the Viaduc des Fades and the Fades-Besserve reservoir lake.*
* You won't have trouble with English here. Or Dutch.
Things to do
Of course you must visit the monumental Viaduc des Fades, dating from 1909, when it was the world's highest bridge (it still is the second highest railway bridge in the world, and rests on the world's highest traditional masonry pylons).
The Puy de Lemptegy is a quarry in an old volcano turned into a tourist attraction and geological research center, unique in the world. They have preserved the interior geology of a real volcano. Recommended! Just across the road of Lemptegy is the more famous attraction park of Vulcania.
You can engage in watersports on the reservoir lake of Fades-Besserve, only a few kilometers from here.
You can go canoeing, mountainbiking or paintball-shooting at Auvergne Aventures in Chateauneuf-les-Bains. They also have a riverside grill-restaurant and an ancient watermill that produced flour, which is then baked on the spot into wonderful bread.
At Volc'Anes you can hire a donkey to carry your luggage or small child during a hike.
Don't forget to buy the Pain de Combrailles, bread baked from biologically produced wheat flour unique for the area. Several bakers sell their own varieties. Just ask.
Go cloudspotting. The volcanoes often provoke spectacular cloud formations. And click the logo on this page to become a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society so you'll never forget to live with your head in the clouds. ;-)
You can also go hiking amongst monumental works of art, visit the Michelin museum in Clermont-Ferrand or take a train ride to the top of the Puy-de-Dôme. Just ask.
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