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7 must-see experiences near Aurillac

Are you planning a getaway to the Cantal on your next business trip? Or perhaps you'd like to prolong the vacation atmosphere by combining telecommuting and tourism? In this corner of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, discover great treasures between an exceptional natural heritage and centuries-old monuments. Here are 7 unmissable sites near Aurillac to explore during your stay.
Published on December 28, 2023

1. Tournemire and Château d'Anjony

In the Cantal region, a number of well-preserved châteaux offer a journey back in time. Such is the case of Château d'Anjony in the village of Tournemire, halfway between Aurillac and Salers.

This 15th-century fortress is a vestige of the time of kings. Built in 1430 by Louis d'Anjony, a companion of Joan of Arc, the château is still inhabited, generation after generation, by the same family.

Open to the public for almost a century, the building is listed as a "Monument Historique". As you approach the rocky promontory, you'll see 4 round towers, each around 40 meters high.

As you enter the château, you'll discover 16th-century religious frescoes, followed by a series of magnificently preserved secular frescoes. You'll then pass through the weapons room before reaching the parapet walk. At the top of the keep, a breathtaking view of the Doire valley awaits you.

2. The medieval village of Salers

Classified as one of France's most beautiful villages, it has given its name to a breed of cattle and to the famous cheese made from raw milk from the high mountains. But Salers is also a charming fortified village.

Remains of the medieval ramparts can be seen here, notably at the Porte du Beffroi and Porte de la Martille. You'll also see beautiful 15th-century mansions with turrets, atypical houses with corbelled towers or a gabled turret. Don't miss out on this distinctive architecture, with its black volcanic stone buildings and lauze roofs, by booking a flight to Aurillac Tronquières airport.

3. Gorges de la Jordanne

Twenty minutes fromAurillac, in the rural commune of Saint-Cirgues-de-Jordanne, immerse yourself in a breathtaking 4-kilometer trail. Set in the volcanic soil of the Cantal region, follow the trail through the wilderness, through gorges 20 to 60 metres deep, carved out by water in volcanic breccias.

The route takes you from the bottom of the gorge to the ledges, via streams, wooden footbridges and even zip lines for the more adventurous.

All along this several-hour tour, you'll find a number of fun stations to help you learn more about the flora and fauna. Taking a break in nature is an excellent way to recharge your batteries before returning to city life and your professional obligations.

4. Le Puy Mary

At the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d'Auvergne, Puy Mary is a veritable emblem of the Cantal region. The ascent to the summit of this protected site is made easy by a path built from the highest road pass in the Massif Central.

Awarded the Grand Site de France label in 2012, access to the summit of Puy Mary offers an exceptional view of Europe's largest stratovolcano and its seven glacial valleys. The summit can be reached after a forty-minute walk from the Pas de Peyrol.

A 360° view from the orientation table lets you discover this giant of Auvergne, with a diameter of 70 kilometers and a surface area of 2700 km2. These features make it the largest extinct volcano in Europe.

The Maison de Site at the foot of the summit welcomes you to learn more about the volcano's history, formation and landscape. Other activities include cycling, horse-riding and paragliding in summer. And in winter, the site offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

5. The Garabit Viaduct

The Viaduc de Garabit is a listed structure in the Monuments Historiques and Ponts remarquables du Sud de la France network. This railway viaduct was built by Gustave Eiffel and his engineering company in the 1880s.

The 565-metre-long metal structure is an extraordinary feat of architecture, spanning the Truyère Gorge to link the two banks of the river. Situated 122 metres above the river, the Viaduc de Garabit stands out during the day thanks to its red color, and lights up at nightfall.

6. Chaudes-Aigues thermal waters

The reputation of the waters of Chaudes-Aigues is well established. The commune boasts some thirty springs, the best known of which is the Par spring, whose water comes out at 82°. This unique feature bears witness to the volcanic activity of the Cantalien massif.

The Caleden complex offers spa treatments on the exact site of the old thermal baths. But when you're staying near Aurillac, don't forget to visit Géothermia. This museum retraces the history of thermalism through an interactive tour.

The town's built heritage includes a 15th-century church, cobbled streets, lauze roofs and a hot-water washhouse...

7. Le Lioran resort

In the heart of the Cantal mountains, less than an hour from Aurillac, the Lioran resort is a vast ski area offering a wide range of activities in both winter and summer.

A must for outdoor sports enthusiasts. The resort of Le Lioran welcomes you with its 75 kilometers of cross-country ski trails, 44 downhill ski runs, dog sledding and snowshoeing...

In summer, hiking activities take over, inviting you to discover the local flora and fauna. The cable car takes you up to the Plomb du Cantal in 10 minutes, offering breathtaking views of the Massif Central peaks.