The Ardes region will surprise you with the richness of its fauna and flora, by its green wide-open spaces and its mountains and hills.
The exceptional natural sites near the park
- The glacial cirque in Artoux
- The lakes of La Godivelle and Roche Orcine
- The peak « Le signal du Luguet »
- Rentières Valley
- Apcher and Gour d’Appât waterfalls
- Chabrut and Chamaroux mountains
- Plaine Jacquot peatland
- Nature reserves of the Rocher de la Jaquette and Sagnes de la Godivelle
The historical sites to visit in the Ardes region
- The Cistercian Abbey at Mégemont:
A historical monument, its architecture reflects a turbulent history (visits can be arranged by calling the friends of the Mégemont Abbey at (+33) 4 73 71 44 68).
- The Romanesque churches in Dauzat-sur-Vaudable, Saint-Hérent, Roche-Charles, Saint-Alyre-ès-Montagne, and the Gothic church in Saint-Dizain-d’Ardes.
- The villages of Ardes, Anzat-le-Luguet, Chassagne, Augnat and Ternant-les-Eaux have beautiful, traditional buildings.
- Besse tower (in Anzat-le-Luget), the fountain in La Godivelle, Vallette Chapel (in Apchat), and the site of Fromental Castle (Rentières) are among the interesting spots to visit during a walk.
- Apcher Mill (to arrange a visit, call Mr. Alain Vallon at (+33) 4 73 71 72 83)
The Cézallier, a protected area
An area including vast plateaus, between the Sancy Mountains to the north and the Cantal Mountains to the South, the Cézallier region represents a pause in the volcanic landscape. Located in the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park, the peak known as the Signal of Luguet is 1 551 m high. The Cézallier peat bogs, located in glacial abrasions, are home to very strange polar vegetation, such as the drosera (a carniverous plant) and peat moss…
The Artoux glacial cirque at the foot of the Signal of Luguet is a good example of man’s use of rural space, with its summer mountain pastures and its habitat.
In the plain, at the foot of the Cézallier, saltwater sources features red earth and Southern plants.
Routes to discover
The best way to experience the Cézallier is by walking.
- There are numerous small paths (called PR) for walking or mountain biking, as well as bigger paths (called GR) in the Cézallier (marked by a red cow symbol). There are also bigger paths in the Val d’Allier area (marked by a yellow line on a red line).
- The Cézallier is interesting to visit by bike, with paths and routes indicated by sign posts.
- In winter, the Parrot area in the town of Anzat-le-Luguet can be visited by snowshoeing.
Well-being and local gastronomy
It’s a paradise of open space, where walkers, horseback riders and mountain bikers are on top of the world. And where those who love cheese, mushrooms, bilberries, wild raspberries, daffodils and narcissus are well served. It’s also a well protected environment that is friendly and authentic. A place to discover nature, landscapes, French heritage and gastronomy… From the headwaters of the Couze d’Ardes River to the salty source of the Arvie River , the Cézallier is also a favorite for fishermen. They are particularly fond of the Roche Orcine Lake, which is 1 200 m above the Jassy plain.
A fascinating history
At the edge of the Cézallier is a picturesque village, Ardes-sur-Couze. It’s situated on a basaltic promontory and still has numerous elements from its medieval past. Its history is linked to the powerful Mercoeur family. The vestiges of their château overlook over the town. There are also many old buildings, such as the perched churches (Saint-Hérent, Dauzat-sur-Vodable, Roche-Charles, etc.) and the « burons » (mountain huts used by peasants in summer).
For more information
Tourist Center Pays d’Issoire – Val d’Allier
Local Tourism Agency Pays d’Issoire – Val d’Allier
9 place Saint Paul – 63500 Issoire – France
Tel. +33 (0)4 73 89 15 90
Pays d’Art et d’Histoire
Le Pays d’Issoire Val d’Allier Sud
Place du Postillon – 63500 Issoire
Tel. +33 (0)4 73 55 90 48
Regional Nature Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne
Maison du Parc – Montlosier
63970 Aydat – France
Tel. +33 (0)4 73 65 64 00