The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 12

Sensational cities to tiny villages, food and wine, culture and heritage. Champagne, an aristocratic saffron grower, Anger, Montparnasse, Morzeine, Carol Drinkwater shares her passion for France. Gorgeous photos and fabulous features will transport you to the heart of France in this brilliant, free magazine...

Auvergne is a region of

Auvergne is a region of natural beauty and dramatic landscapes, located midway between Paris and the Mediterranean, anchored in the centre of France by the Massif Central and almost 100 volcanoes. From the stark Monts du Cantal in Salers and the Puy Mary area, to the lush green fields and gardens of Vichy, Auvergne is a very diverse region. The Hills Are Alive Clermont Ferrand is a great city to base yourself as from here you can explore the region or just relax and unwind. The famous and thankfully dormant Volcano Puy–de-Dome is just 6 miles away; at 1,465m high it is the largest though not the tallest in this chain of volcanoes. Within half an hour of arriving in the Auvergne, I was at the top of it. While some brave souls grabbed pitons, those metal poles that help to anchor climbers, and tied ropes round their waists, ready to shimmy up the side, I went up on the train. The views from the top are sensational. You overlook many of the extinct volcano craters that the area is famous for, the summit dominated by a massive telecommunications antennae that sits alongside a Roman Temple. City Life Back down in the city I based myself in the Hotel Mecure in the corner of the Place de Jaude, Clermont’s largest square. It’s a pleasant place to sit in the evening with a glass or two of wine and watch the world go by. From here everything is within walking distance, though there is a fairly new and exciting Translohr tram system which is great fun. Clermont is a dark city architecturally and has many stunning buildings which are nearly all built out of black Volvic rock, giving it a very distinctive look. Now whilst I would have been happy to stay and explore the lanes and shops, and the many wine cellars that run under the city there was a lot more to see. So next morning my hire car and me headed a short distance north to the town of Riom.

Mountain Towns Riom is an historic town with 16 listed monuments and a further 57 registered monuments. There are many beautiful old houses with internal courtyards and a famous clock tower with 128 steps to the top from where the views are fabulous and worth the effort of climbing and having your chest thump like a drum. The Saturday morning market is very pretty and watching everyone go about their business is a great way to get a feel for this pretty town. The local wine is Saint-Pourcain, made from grapes grown in one of the oldest vineyards in France. And, it would have been plain wrong not to have visited a vineyard whilst there. A wine tasting is a must and I visited Domaine Grosbot- Barbara where the guide gave a long and passionate explanation of his craft, though eventually he did open several bottles. - delicious! Credit: Callips, Wikipedia Moulins and the Museum of Ballet If someone had told me before I went to the Auvergne that one of my favourite moments would be a visit to a museum of ballet costumes I would have laughed. But the next morning I visited the National Centre for Stage Costumes which is based in a former Cavalry barracks in the town of Moulins. It is the home of over 10,000 set costumes from the Opera National de Paris and the Comedie Francais and features many outfits created by France’s top designers and the way in which they are displayed is truly stunning. Fans of Rudolf Nuryev the great dancer (who died in France) will love the exhibition of the costumes he danced in as well as many of his personal effects.

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