Most Beautiful Villages

Montpeyroux ©Riot House, Pays d'Issoire

Montpeyroux ©Riot House, Pays d'Issoire

Usson ©N.Dutranoy, Pays d'Issoire

Usson ©N.Dutranoy, Pays d'Issoire

Montpeyroux

Visits in the village: Medieval keep of Montpeyroux, La Moulerette educational farm

You can see the village of Montpeyroux from a distance – a hillside village with its towering medieval keep. Easily accessible from the A75 motorway, exit n°7, this is a picturesque medieval town. Its name comes from “mons petrosus”, stony mountain, and was long famous for its arkose stone quarries. This rock with its ochre and sand colours gives the houses and streets of Montpeyroux their warm colours. In the labyrinthine streets, winemakers’ houses and mansions bear witness to the town’s rich winemaking past.

The hiking trail “along the arkose route” is a chance to explore the village, the River Allier and the fine estate of Chadieu.


Usson

Visits in the village: Saint-Maurice Church, A Visual History of Usson

On the side of a volcanic peak in the Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park, Usson was the place of exile of Queen Margot for almost 20 years at the end of the 16th century. She was imprisoned in Usson castle, which was reputed to be “the finest stronghold in the kingdom” with its 20 towers and three surrounding walls. Despite this enforced exile, Queen Margot made Usson one of the most refined courts of the time, where poets, musicians, singers and nobles were gathered. A little later, in 1633, when the castle was seen as a threat to royal power, it was destroyed on the orders of Richelieu.

In the village, follow the salamander up past the village’s basalt columns to the hilltop. From there, you can enjoy an exceptional 360° view over the Puys mountain chain, the Sancy mountain range, le Cézallier, and the mountains of Cantal and Livradois-Forez.

The Queen Margot path is a family trail giving visitors a chance to explore the village and leading them up to a breathtaking panorama.


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