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The allier, a land of adventure...
on foot, by bike, on horseback or by canoe

With its gently rolling landscapes and vast network of picturesque winding roads, country lanes, and pirouetting rivers, the Allier is an ideal setting for family excursions by bicycle, on foot, on horseback or by canoe, as well as more demanding sporting activities. Whether you choose an escapade lasting a few hours or a few days, you will be surprised by the wealth of natural and cultural heritage in this part of the Auvergne region!

Walks and hikes

The Allier is a haven for walkers. The landscape is perfect for this activity and allows you to safely explore the flat prairies of Sologne, the gently rolling patchwork countryside, and the gently sloping mountain meadows to your heart's content and offers shaded winding paths alongside the  Sioule, Bouble, and Besble rivers, to name but a few. And as tradition would have it: at Villefranche-d'Allier, the church of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur is situated on one of the routes of the Way of Saint James of Compostela; the ‘Master Pipers' hike' between Berry and the Bourbonnais, from Nohant to Huriel, follows the initiatory route of the bagpipe players described by George Sand in her novel ‘The Master Pipers'. And everywhere, at almost each wind in the path, you will discover astonishing elements of the region's heritage.

 

Cycling through the Tronçais Forest
Cycling through the Tronçais Forest

The Allier by bicycle

The Allier is also ideal for cyclists: pedalling along the quiet country roads, in the midst of the surrounding greenery, castles and other places of interest, is the guarantee of a fascinating day out. Don't miss the key sites to be discovered on the route called “l'Allier à vélo” (the Allier by bicycle) which is the essential cyclist's guide. The region also lends itself well to mountain biking and several circuits are worth checking out. The French Federation of Bicycle Tourism (FFCT) is established here at the 'Le Vert Plateau' and in the 'Monts de la Madeleine'.

 

Galloping across the Allier on horseback

Riding is a truly natural way to discover the countryside: the Allier is a horse rider's paradise with its many forests, its gentle mountain slopes and also in the patchwork countryside and prairies. The region has numerous clubs for riding enthusiasts

 

Canoe on the Sioule River
Canoe on the Sioule River

By canoe

And why not see the sights from the river itself? A canoe is the best way to explore the meanders of the region's rivers in the dappled shade of the trees on their banks. Whether you seek excitement on the faster flowing Allier, prefer to take it cool on the Sioule, or are tempted by the charm of the Cher valley, the choice is huge and the itineraries are equipped accordingly.

 

Quick some adrenalin!

'La Loge des Gardes', a small downhill ski resort in winter, welcomes fans of other, newer 'sliding sensation' sports in summer. Kart racing, quad bike and 4-wheel drive excursions, hot air balloon rides, flights in a ULM, and lots of other activities await the more extreme sensation-seekers.

 

See also

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Tourisme en Auvergne
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