The majestic gothic cathedral soars skywards. It crowns the hill in Clermont’s historical centre.Work began on current-day Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral in 1248, under the supervision of architect Jean Deschamps and of the episcopacy of Hughes de la Tour.
Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage, the Notre-Dame-du-Port Basilica takes visitors into the spellbinding world of Romanesque art. The basilica was built of beige arkose during the first third of the 12th century. It was fully restored ending December 2008.
North of the town of Le Puy-en-Velay, Aiguilhe is famous for its rock (a dormant volcanic pipe) with an astonishing and magnificent chapel dedicated to St Michael built in the 10th century.
This is one of the most important pre-Romanesque and Romanesque monuments in Auvergne.
Prosper Mérimée included the building in the first list of Historic Monuments drawn up in 1840. More recently, it came fourth in the list of French people’s favourite monuments in 2014.
Godescalc, the Bishop of Puy, and Truannus, the dean of the chapter of Puy Cathedral, commissioned work on a chapel devoted to St Michael in 961. Godescalc was also the first French pilgrim to follow the Way of St James in about 950, inaugurating the "Via Podiensis" trail to Santiago de Compostela.
The original oratory in this imposing structure was limited to today’s choir area. It was enveloped in a larger monument in the 12th century, built to follow the outlines of the rock’s summit. The extended chapel was built without foundations, and contains a nave, an ambulatory and a tribune, along with a remarkable polychrome and trefoil-shaped facade.
The Bobbin Lace Education Centre was set up in 1974. Its two main missions are to pass on the tradition and practice of bobbin lace-making and to preserve the lace heritage.
The earliest records of lace-making in Velay date from the 16th century. The art briefly declined in the 17th century, after the Toulouse Parliament prohibited it. The Jesuit Jean-François Régis helped to revive lace-making and today is the patron saint of lacemakers.
Over time, the Centre has acquired an international reputation. Its correspondence courses are followed all over the world, making it a reference in the field.
A themed exhibition is organised in the exhibition rooms each year.
The Puy-en-Velay Cathedral, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, ranks as the 2nd favorite monument of the French in the show presented on France 2 by Stéphane Bern in 2015.
After a first church built in the fifth century, the cathedral was built on Mount Anis. In the twelfth century, the influx of pilgrims led to sit four spans above a vaulted porch, to compensate for the slope of Mount Anis. The entrance was made by a staircase which opened in the middle of the central nave.
In the nineteenth century, the building was considerably transformed, but the six cupolas and beautiful painted decorations were preserved. From 1994 to 1999, an overall restoration allowed the restoration of the central staircase closed in the eighteenth century, the repair of interior facing and the winding of the organ with its double-sided buffet of the seventeenth century.
A new altar was placed at the crossing of the transept, while the altar of the "pilgrims", against the wall, carries the "Black Virgin" who replaced the primitive statue, burned to the Revolution.
The Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation astounds the visitor with its avant-garde architecture and carefully-chosen exhibits, nudging you to uncover more of what Lyon’s Roman, Gaul and Celtic forebears got up to.
Facing the rising sun and the Alps, way up over the Confluence of Rhône and Saône, the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation chronicles five centuries of the city’s history under Rome when Lyon was known as the dazzling capital Lugdunum. Dug deep inside Fourvière hill in the 5th district of Lyon, with its two huge windows overlooking its neighbouring Amphitheatre and Odeon, the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon is akin to a submarine, set to journey through the undergrowth and vestiges of this ancient civilisation.
Step on-board and be subtly wowed by polychrome mosaics, the sarcophagus of the triumph of Bacchus, the unique Gallic Coligny calendar, a plan-relied of the ancient town, a rare circus mosaic, not to mention the Tabla Claudiana, reproducing a speech by the emperor Claudius, all set inside an avant-garde architectural experience whipped up by Bernard Zehrfuss.
The Museum inherited over two million pieces collected from the 16th century through today. Referred to as “the 21st Century’s Cabinet of Curiosities,” the institution’s finds relate to paleontology, mineralogy, zoology, entomology, and ethnography.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is a vital part of the Lyon cityscape and you’d be a fool not to go up there. Mr Mayor, Gérard Collomb, even calls it a “treasure of humanity”. With one of the best views over the entire city, it understandably draws in busloads, who all load off to celebrate Mary and the paraphernalia of Christianity.
Then you have those who hike up there for a brisk morning walk to lord it over the panoramic view and feel regal.
The beautiful white Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, known by locals as the upside-down elephant, sits on the top of Fourvière hill, aka the ‘praying hill’, in Lyon’s 5th district, where the world of Catholics rubs shoulders with vestiges of Ancient Rome.
From its dominant position, looming over the city below with vantage points aplenty, Fourvière has become a symbol of Lyon, attracting over 2 million visitors annually. Designed by Pierre Bossan, Fourvière basilica draws from both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, two non-Gothic models that were unusual choices at the time. It’s actually one church on top of another.
Le Jardin Rosa Mir, or the Rosa Mir Garden, located in the heart of Croix-Rousse in Lyon’s 4th arrondissement, is one of Lyon’s unique treasures, founded in the dreams of a self-taught artist.
The Rosa Mir Garden is a small, originally private garden located in the courtyard of an apartment building. Created between the years of 1957 and 1977, the garden is a tribute to the creativity and artistic vision of its creator, a Spanish mason called Jules Senis Mir.
Made up of pillars, basins, obelisks and pergolas sculpted from pebbles and shells, the monument pulls its inspiration from Arab-Andalusian motifs and styles. It is filled with over 10,000 plants, from cacti to perennials to roses to oregano and lemon.
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest French and European museums. Located in the heart of Lyon, between the Rhône and Saône rivers, it is found in a magnificent building dating from the 17th century.
The collections are exhibited in over 70 rooms and offer visitors an outstanding sample of art from antiquity to contemporary art. The museum is regularly enriched, through an active acquisition policy that relies on donors, art lovers, collectors and the descendants of artists.
Place des Terreaux was once a huge bog, believe it or not. Today, the famous Lyonnais landmark deserves a visit, either as a starting point to explore the presqu’île and the City Hall area, or as a beautifully-constructed square to while away the hours.
Place des Terreaux is a famous Lyonnais square, grand and grey. It’s a perfect rectangle in fact, located in the 1st district of Lyon inside the peninsular or ‘presqu’île’ between the Rhône and Saône rivers, at the foot of the Croix-Rousse hill. It’s a Lyon landmark and a UNESCO heritage site, the place to meet, inside which you can sip beer in the outdoor cafés, perch on the steps of the Fine Arts Museum and observe the Bartholdi fountain, or pop into the beautiful City Hall to pay new mayor Mr Képénikian a visit.
It’s the largest pedestrian square in Europe. So whether you want to get to the Tourist Information centre inside, join a march, jump on the big wheel, or just simply sit, this oversized square reinvigorates the lungs and stretches the horizons.
As the central focus of shopping on the presqu’île and the chosen starting point for most city visits, Bellecour is the kilometre 0 of Lyon and all distances are calculated from it. Four major streets start from this famous square: rue de la République, which takes you up to Hôtel de Ville and the Opera; rue Victor Hugo and rue du Plat both leading to Perrache; and rue du Président Édouard Herriot, with a concentration of luxury shops all the way to the Place des Terreaux.
Surrounded by linden trees, wild cherries and beautiful Napoleonic buildings, Place Bellecour is the third largest square in France after Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux and Place de la Concorde in Paris, measuring 312m by 200m, not to mention the biggest pedestrian square in the whole of Europe. Fact.
Influenced by the style of an English garden Le Parc de la Tete d’Or is the largest urban park in France and contains numerous attractions for all the family including a zoo, boating lake, botanical gardens, miniature railway, pony rides for children and more.It’s an excellent place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty and includes dozens of trails for walking, jogging or bicycling and large open spaces for activities and picnics.Created in 1857 by the brothers Denis and Eugène Buhler in the same year as New York’s famous Central Park, Le Parc de la Tete d’Or has seen numerous additions since it’s initial creation, including in 1865 the impressive glass houses containing species of plants and flowers from all over the world and in the 1960’s the inclusion of the rose gardens featuring 30,000 rose bushes comprising 350 different varieties.The name of the park originates from a legend that says treasure with the “head of Christ” could be buried somewhere in the park.France’s second public zoo after the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris contains almost 400 different animals divided into 64 different species.The last 10 years have seen improvements to the zoo’s infrastructure including in 2006 the new African Savannah featuring zebra, giraffes and pink flamingos. The zoo is a member of EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is dedicated to the preservation of species threatened by extinction.
Imagined by Bernard Tschumi, this building made of Limousin Douglas pine wood and wrapped in polycarbonate fits perfectly, thanks to its transparency, into the surrounding forest. With a welcoming capacity of 6,000 seats, it is dedicated to the great artistic and cultural events of the city.
This large 18th-century-style building, designed by the Brousseau brothers, used to be the town's Bishop palace. The building was also used as a fire station as well as a hospital. It was restored from the 1802 concordat, onwards into the 19th century:
Limoges's central market hall was built between 1885 and 1889. It is a remarkable example of 19th century architecture. The metal framework's triangular shapes each weigh 14 tonnes. It was designed by two engineers, who studied the Eiffel technique: Levesque (who spent a long time working with the manager of the Eiffel-Seyrig studies) and Pesce.
Born in Bourges some time around the year 1400, Jacques Coeur rapidly rose to the top of the social ladder. After his appointment as Finance Minister to the King and being made a nobleman, he began the construction of his Palace, which was finished around 1450.
This monument was unique in France for its time but illustrates well the original personality of its builder. It is a precursor of the mansions of the Renaissance period: the large main building is constructed against the Gallo-Roman wall. The galleries running around the courtyard link it to the chapel over the main doorway.
The façade on the street side and that of the main building are beautifully decorated with Jacques Coeur's royal emblem, together with a multitude of sculptures portraying religious themes, Jacques Coeur's travels or scenes of everyday life.
What gives this garden its special charm is the sculpted vegetation: the hedges, the distinctively French lime trees, the immaculate lawns, the beautifully trimmed yews, which are enhanced by the less orderly arrangement of the flower-beds and ponds.
The Prés Fichaux, inaugurated in 1930, still boasts typically Art Deco ornaments and statues which earned its addition to the supplementary inventory of historic monuments in 1990.
Square tower from the end of the 12th century, erected for the king of Aragon Alphonse II, surmounted in the 17th century by an octagonal tower intended to receive the communal drone and the clock.
42 meters high, 210 steps to climb to reach the summit and admire the panorama of the city and the surrounding causses.
Last climb, 1/2 hour before closing. Out of season open for groups by reservation.
In the centre of Millau, a town hotel from the 18th century houses the museum: 30 exposition rooms dedicated to palaeontology, prehistory and regional archaeology, as well as traditional activities of leather craft and glove-making.
Palaeontology: diverse fossils including the famous skeleton of an elasmosaur. Pre-history: furniture from the palaeolithic to the monolithic. Archaeology: the most important collection of vases from the Roman Empire with the production of the Graufesenque workshops. Leather and gloves: a DVD film retraces the specific savoir-faire, rich of ancestral traditions and modern techniques enabling skins to be worked on. A recreated workshop shows how gloves were made.
Free for the individuals the first Saturday of the month.
In the 1st century AD, for two centuries, more than 600 potters produced the red, shiny sigillated ceramics, distributed throughout the Roman Empire. The remains of workshops, ovens, residential houses, sanctuary bear witness to this.
Historical presentation. The circuit on the site. Visit a part of the village of Gallo-Roman potters with a view of sanctuaries, baking ovens, workshops and residential houses. The visit lasts on average one hour.
Millau viaduct holds the world record for the tallest bridge, culminating at 343 metres (higher than the Eiffel tower), 2460 metres long and touching the bottom of the Tarn valley in only 9 places.
Conceived by the French engineer Michel Virlogeux and designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, it fits perfectly into the naturally intact and grandiose landscape: a very thin slightly curved steel roadway supported by stays gives it the appearance of a huge yacht and the ensemble rests on 7 very slender pillars.
This unique viewing area, created in the old cassonade farm of Brocuéjouls, is the ideal place for discovering Millau viaduct, the Aveyron, its cultural and natural heritage and the local gastronomy. Both a “viewing area” and “tourist information centre”, it also offers a “gastronomical area”.
Take a few minutes to climb to the belvedere viewing point from where you can admire the sublime and panoramic view of the viaduct. You can then taste, amongst other things, the famous “capucins” made by the Michelin starred chef Michel Bras in the gastronomical area or learn all there is to know about the viaduct and its construction in the Eiffage company Expo/Boutique area.
The Donjon de Gouzon houses a space of Industrial Archeology on 4 levels.
This dungeon of the twelfth century. and thirteenth century, restored houses a museum space on four levels.
The vertical movement is ensured by an elevator (public commission of the Delegation to the Visual Arts), work of the architect designer Sylvain Dubuisson.
The Vizille Estate is first and foremost a chateau that played a key role in history and a landscaped park that has been classified as a “Remarkable Garden.” But it’s also the only museum dedicated to the French Revolution that brings together so many valuable works. Set foot in this historic and natural landscape.
Inside the park, you will be able to admire the tremendous ornamental lake which often served as a playground for swans, ducks, and even herons. Along the banks, you will discover the French-style gardens and magnificent rose gardens.
An animal park is a home to stags, deer, and roes roaming together more or less freely. With 100 hectares of protected natural landscapes, the gardens of the Vizille Estate bring together human history and wild nature. It is, for sure, the ideal place to play, stroll, and dream.
Get a bird’s eye view of Grenoble and the surrounding valley with a ride up the cable car. The first urban cable car in France, it was inaugurated in 1934, before being transformed into “the bubbles” in 1976. These round gondola lifts with their clear sides take you up to the Bastille fort: 500 meters up in just 5 minutes!
Located at the back of the Poitiers Town Hall, this new garden built on ancient remains uncovered after archaeological excavations, is popular with young and old with its children's playground, green lawn and furniture. garden on the model of that of the Tuileries Garden in Paris.
Built between 1922 and 1930, the Basilique de la Visitation is the chapel at the Visitation monastery and the place housing the tombs of Francois de Sales (1567-1622) and Jeanne de Chantal (1572-1641), co-founders of the religious order.