The landscapes of the Haute-Loire have been shaped by more than 300 volcanoes, which can be seen in lakes, domes, organs, coulees, rocks and headlands. The 36 most spectacular sites have been developed with lookouts and interpretation areas. You can easily access Mont Mézenc (1,749 m), the highest point in the Haute-Loire department, not far from the Gerbier de Jonc and the sources of the Loire in Ardèche.
From gorges to summits
The setting is animated by the valley of the young Loire, as well as the Allier and Arzon gorges. Enjoy the contrast between the Limagne plain, the wooded hills of the Margeride and Livradois, or the Velay and Meygal mountains.
Occupying a central position, Le Puy-en-Velay, the capital of the Haute-Loire, is an unmissable diversion. Admire the Romanesque cathedral and especially the two spectacular perched sites of the Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe chapel and the statue of Notre-Dame de France. You should also know that the fine and sought-after dentelle du Puy lace, launched in the 15th century, has lasted more than 500 years, employing up to 120,000 people.
In the valley of the Borne, in Espaly, a monumental statue over 22 metres high announces the perched basilica of Saint Joseph of Good Hope. On its plateau, the prestigious Gothic abbey church of La Chaise-Dieu catches your eye, where echoes of a great music festival resound. Other listed sanctuaries include the abbeys of Pébrac (11th), Lavaudieu (12th) and La Séauve-sur-Semène (13th).
Great cultural diversity
Stop in the beautiful villages of Blesle, Arlempdes and Pradelles, then in the small towns of character of Chilhac, Auzon, Allègre, Monastier-sur-Gazeille and Saint-Pal-de-Chalencon. The sites of Bigorre, Brioude, Chalencon, Chanteuges, Moudeyres, Saint-Cirgues and Lavoûte-Chilhac are also very interesting.
Among the fifty or so castles to visit, don't miss the fortress of Saint-Vidal, from La Rochelambert to Saint-Paulien, from Polignac set on its volcanic table, from Bouzols to Arsac-en-Velay, from La Lavoûte-Polignac to Lavoûte-sur-Loire, from the Tour des Anglais to Saugues.
Four picturesque tourist trains also offer you other beautiful views of the countryside, from the stations of Langeac, Estivareilles, Raucoules and La Chaise-Dieu.
From family walks to sporting routes, there is a wide range of walks and cycle rides, not forgetting many pleasant swimming spots along a river or lake.
Campsites in Haute-Loire
For your next holiday, choose one of the campsites located in the Haute-Loire: we recommend the Bouthezard campsite *** in Aiguilhe, the Bageasse campsite *** in Vieille-Brioude, on the banks of the river, Les Moulettes **** in Vorey or the Cosycamp campsite **** in Chamalières-sur-Loire, in a large botanical garden of 4.5 hectares.
Finally, pay tribute to the tasty specialities of the Haute-Loire department: cheeses, cold meats, verbena, wild trout, green lentils, Yssingeaux brioche, fine fat meat from the Mezenc, blueberries and chestnuts.