10 family activities that you shouldn’t miss in the Pays d’Issoire
On family holidays in the Pays d’Issoire? You are on the right page! We offer you 10 must-do activities to do with your children in the Pays d’Issoire.
1° The Auvergne Animal Park
It is not only we who love the Auvergne Wildlife Park: in 2017, it was elected “Favourite Zoological Park of the French” in 2017 (zoo of – 100 000 visitors). Its specificity? It is the only zoo in Europe specialising in the fauna of the world’s summits. In Ardes-sur-Couze in the Cézallier, in an exceptional setting, 400 rare animals are presented on 25 hectares. You will meet giraffes, red pandas, lions, tigers, monkeys, gluttons, lemurs and many other animals…
2° Visits at the farm
Drive 25 mn south of Clermont-Ferrand, take exit 7 on the A75 highway. Here you are at the Moulerette educational farm in Montpeyroux, in one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. The setting is pretty nice, isn’t it? At the farm, the children learn how a farm works, how to take care of animals and all the little things to do every day. During school holidays, the farm organizes children’s workshops: butter workshop, bread workshop, wool workshop. The farm also offers horse-drawn carriage rides, pony rides and donkey rides.
At 10 min from Issoire, we also recommend you to visit the Ferme Douce Laine. Here, the stars are the angora goats! They produce beautiful wool used to create beautiful hats, scarves, plaids, socks… Children can discover the weaving and the whole world of mohair wool. The goats are also accompanied by rabbits, ponies, horses, donkeys that can be cuddled, brushed, fed or just watched for pleasure!
3° Visit a masterpiece of Romanesque art with your children
The Abbey Saint-Austremoine is a must-see in Issoire! And there’s no reason why children shouldn’t enjoy it! For this purpose, the Land of Art and History of the Pays d’Issoire has written a game booklet “Tell me about the abbey church of Saint-Austremoine”. Thanks to this booklet, children will know everything about this masterpiece of Romanesque art that is one of the 5 major Romanesque churches in Basse Auvergne! To be discovered online or requested at the Tourist Office reception desk next to the abbey.
Idea: On the apse of the abbey , have your child look for his zodiac sign. Be careful, there’s a trap, a 13th sign has slipped in. Will you be able to find him?
4° Family walk in the 2 Most Beautiful Villages of France of Puy-de-Dôme
From a distance, Montpeyroux is easily recognizable with its dungeon overlooking it. It is a pretty medieval village built with local stone, the arkose which offers pretty ochre and blond colours. As you walk through the streets, you will discover winegrower houses that testify to the prosperity of Auvergne’s wine industry in the 19th century. Next to the car park, one can also discover the old arkose quarry which made it possible to build this beautiful village. During your visit, do not miss the visit of the donjon and the beautiful walk “on the way of the arkose“.
Usson is also an easily recognizable village, nestled at the foot of its hill. In the Middle Ages, it was a huge fortress, some even said it was the “strongest in the realm”. For this reason, Queen Margot was imprisoned there at the end of the 16th century for nearly 20 years. In the 17th century, the fortress was destroyed. Children can discover the village by following the salamander and climbing up the volcanic peak to discover the view of the Sancy, the Puys chain, the Cézallier and the Livradois mountains.
5° Découverte de l’améthyste, pierre semi-précieuse
Become an amethyst seeker during your family holidays! One of the most important veins in France is located in the Pays d’Issoire, around the Vernet-la-Varenne, in the Livradois. In some places, the ground is still sprinkled with these famous purplish shards. At 25 minutes from Issoire, 2 structures offer you to know more: the amethyst house in Vernet-la-Varenne which offers educational workshops such as “choose and polish your stone”, “the prospector’s game” and the amethyst of Auvergne, the mines of Pégut in La Chapelle-sur-Usson which offers the visit of an active deposit. These activities are well suited for children aged 6 to 12.
6° Visite du château de Villeneuve-Lembron
When arriving on site, you will at first sight think that this castle was built in the Middle Ages: imposing towers, cannon port, ditches. But when you visit it, you will notice that the interior courtyard and the painted decorations are more Renaissance. So, the Château de Villeneuve-Lembron, Renaissance or Middle Ages? Well both, because it was built in a period of architectural transition and it is what makes it unique! Moreover, what is absolutely essential to see in this castle are the painted decorations. Fabulous! Discover the metamorphoses of Ovid, mythological figures, a port city and even the lord of the place, Rigaud d’Aureille! Do not hesitate to visit the castle with your family. Activities are often organized especially for children!
More information about the château de Villeneuve-Lembron
7° Workshops for young people in the Land of Art and History
We are lucky to have a country of art and history in the Issoire region. From May to October, it offers many family visits and workshops for young visitors, supervised by guides. These visits are free and you will learn a lot! Here are some of the workshops available:
- Game-visit the pearls of Queen Margaret in Usson: adults and children must find the pearls of the Queen’s necklace by solving riddles one by one
- Quiz-visit of the builders in Montpeyroux: in the footsteps of the old arkose quarries up to the top of the Romanesque tower
- Troglos with the family, in Perrier, family visit to discover the caves of Perrier
- Visit workshop, knight, raise your shield to introduce children to knighthood
- Visit treasure hunt, Ardes and the 5 gates of time, on the trail of the characters who marked the city
8° Swimming at the Vernet lake
The essential moment of a family holiday is swimming! The only “official” swimming site in the Pays d’Issoire, the Vernet lake is a pleasant and quiet place to spend a day with your family.
9° Visit of a snail farm
A visit always enjoyed by children! Based in Jumeaux, Antoine Chenard offers to visit his helical production from A to Z. He does everything by himself and controls all the steps of the process: snail collection, fattening, processing in the laboratory. You can visit the farm “l’escargot des murailles” from May to September by reservation.
10° Horse-drawn carriage ride in Auvergne
In the horse-drawn carriage, everyone is welcome, young and old alike! Starting from Vernet-la-Varenne, Pepinos will take the whole family on the trails to discover this part of the Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park. An activity to share with the whole family!
Discover the caravans of Pépinos