What to do in Auvergne region
In 2023 we exceptionaly went for a travel during the summer school holiday. The reason was that Marie-Claire wanted to compete in the 2023 Vichy Ironman. Some friends joined us during this trip and we rented a great AirBnb as base location for our 10-day holiday in the Auvergne.
Puy de Dôme
The Puy-de-Dôme got a lot of attention during the Tour de France in 2023 with the legendary duel of Pogacar and Vingegaard. You are not allowed do ride the mountain with your bike and after 35 years the TDF was able to do so, but no spectators were allowed. You can either go up with a train or hike via 2 different routes. You have the shorter and steeper chemin des muletiers and the longer chemin des chèvres which goes through the forest and has plenty of wooden stairs.
The chemin des muletiers starts from the parking lot called Parking Col de Ceyssat. When you are early you should not have problems finding a spot, but later on the day the cars need to park next to the road. It took us 30 minutes to take the steep track towards the top.
We decided to go back down via de chemin des chèvres and then around the mountain back to the car. You can either follow the signs, or at some point, where you see a path but the sign sends you in the other direction take a shortcut (see our gpx). We did the latter and shortened our track back to our car.
The Puy-de-Dôme is also famous for Parapente, which is executed almost every day of the year. Due to it’s shape, the pilots can depart in any direction and circle around and above the mountain.
We selected Absolut Parapente for our flights and were very happy with our choice. We got friendly pilots who give good instructions and showed us several things in the air. It was listed on my bucket list and as of now number 63 has been ticked.
We were doubting to take a regular short flight or a longer flight, which was obviously more expensive. The reason was that we thought such a short flight would not give the full experience. With my pilot we were able to grab a hot air stream and went up to 1990 meters, which was high above the mountain. It gave great 360° views, but a flight of 40 minutes was maybe a bit too long, as you stay at the same location and the views remain the same. Nevertheless, the experience, the feeling, the thrill was amazing and I can really recommend doing Parapente if you ever have the chance.
The Auvergne is maybe not the most famous area but after our visit I can tell I’m a big fan. It’s a great area for biking! The road are quiet and in good condition. The climbs are mostly between 4% and 8% which means that as a bigger and more heavy person you can still enjoy them.
Below you can find all Strava gpx tracks but some highlights were the Gorge de Sioule with the tunnel in the rock, plenty of endless views, great roads and restaurant Les Roches. The latter we visited during our recovery ride when a storm hit us. We were able to stay dry as we could stop exactly at the moment the rain started pouring. We took two coffee while enjoying the environment. What is special is that a few chickens are running freely around between the pub and the terrace. It’s a cosy place with views on the river. We decided to stay for lunch at once. We had great food for a decent price.
Another trip was from our Airbnb in Saint-Quintin-sur-Sioule towards Vichy where I rode the big loop from the Ironman track. This as a reconnaissance for Marie-Claire as she had to rest in the days prior the Ironman.
A friend who joined us during our trip to the Auvergne found that there was a cyclosportive in Saint-Flour. It was organised on the Sunday of the first weekend when we arrived. It was a great idea and I made a goal out of it. Saint-Flour is a nice village with a lower and upper part and is a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive away from Saint-Quintin-sur-Sioule. You can read all about this race on this dedicated bike page.
Méandre de Queuille
Very easy to reach, as it’s only a 30 meters walk from the parking lot is the Méandre de Queuille. When you are around it’s definitely worth a short detour. There is a small outside bar where you can get coffee, fresh drinks or an ice cream. There is a very short walk to a higher point where you can see the barrage from a distance, but the best viewpoint for the Méandre is the lower viewpoint.
The main reason of our holidays in the Auvergne. A preparation of 8 months with hours of training, pay attention to food, avoid injuries and no alcohol for the last 2 months. You can read all about Marie-Claire her participation to the Vichy Ironman on our dedicated Triathlon page.
AirBnb in Saint-Quintin sur Sioule
We found a great house in the small town Saint-Quintin sur Sioule. The house had 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and could host 12 people in total. Furthermore there were several outdoor terraces, swimming pool, BBQ, plenty of board games and a fully equiped kitchen and loundry room. This is really an awesome place and the host is so kind and helpful. If you ever need a house this area and your lucky it’s available, don’t hesitate for a second and book it!
A few minutes away you find the town Ebreuil with a small grocery store, a butcher, bakery, a few pubs and retaurants. It’s also easy to reach the A71 highway towards Vichy. It will take you just below 30 minutes from the house to the city of Vichy.