Sparsely populated and home to some truly impressive mountain landscapes, the Auvergne region is known for being a natural paradise for outdoors enthusiasts. Its eerie volcanic landscapes attract thousands of visitors every year, and the region's picturesque towns and villages are packed with historical remains that bear witness to the region's ancient history.
The Auvergne region is a predominantly rural area that has been inhabited for thousands of years due to its strategic location between the Alps and the Pyrenees. For centuries, the region's economy has relied primarily on agriculture, although rural tourism began to gain importance when the region's potential as a kick back-and-relax destination was discovered. Nowadays, the region's medieval architecture, imposing fortresses, excellent gastronomy, and breathtaking scenic beauty are the highlight of any trip to Auvergne.
Like other regions in central France, Auvergne is characterised by its continental climate. This means that the region experiences significant changes in temperature throughout the year, as winters in Auvergne are cold and long and summers are warm and short. Average temperatures during the winter months are in the region of 3.5°C, with snow being common in mountainous areas. During the summer, average temperatures hover between 20°C and 25°C, and it is at this time of the year that rainfall is more abundant. May and August are the wettest months of the year, whereas January is the coldest. A holiday in Auvergne is possibly throughout the year.
There are important regional variations that visitors need to be aware of. For example, Clermont-Ferrand is considered one of France's driest and warmest cities. Visitors on a walking holiday or interested in exploring the outdoors must keep in mind that snow is present until late May in many areas.
July and August see the highest number of visitors to Auvergne, as most French and Western European people take their holidays during these months. There is a large number of festivals and cultural events that take place at this time of the year, so the summer is indeed a great time to visit Auvergne and to explore everything that this unique region has to offer.
Due to its location in the heart of France and to its rich cultural and historical heritage, the Auvergne region can be considered one of France's most quintessential destinations. Every single thing in this region is geared towards enjoyment and relaxation, as Auvergne lacks large cities and is instead known for its slow pace of life. Auvergne is rich in natural resources, as it is evident in the large number of visitors who flock to the spa town of Vichy. A holiday in Auvergne offers numerous opportunities to engage in outdoor sports, such as cycling, fishing, golfing, alpine skiing, rock climbing, wakeboarding, and paragliding.
Auvergne has a lively cultural scene during the summer months. Some events worth attending include the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival, the Cherry Festival, and the Brass and Jazz Music Festival at Monastier-sur-Gazeille.
Being a prosperous agricultural region, Auvergne offers a large number of unpretentious delicacies that are only possible thanks to the region's top-quality land and natural resources. The local cuisine features cold meats, potatoes, and cabbage as its main ingredients. The potée Auvergnate is the perfect representative of the local gastronomy. This is a hearty and tasty casserole dish made of pork, Puy lentils, potatoes, and garden vegetables. Other regional specialities worth sampling include aligot, a local version of fondue that incorporates potatoes and garlic; soupe au chou, a delicious cabbage soup; and tarte aux myrtilles, a blueberry pie.
Auvergne is also known for its superior-quality dairy products. This region produces a large number of cow's milk cheeses, such as Bleu d'Auvergne, Fourme d'Ambert, Saint Nectaire, and Salers.
Local wines boast woody and fruity flavours, with the most popular being Les Volcans rosé, Olivier Merle, Latitude 45, Rennaissance blanc, Concept-Saint Verny, and the sparkling Saint Verny Brut.
Size: 26,013 square kilometres
Capital city: Clermont-Ferrand
Provinces / Departments: Allier, Haute-Loire, Cantal, Puy-de-Dome
Landscape: Fertile plains, pastures, and agricultural land in the north, magnificent mountain landscapes and volcanoes in the south.