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In the Auvergne, we're not quite sure whether there are more castles than volcanoes. Open for visits, representing an A-Z guide of French history from the ancient Gauls through to Romanticism, and dotted around the landscape in a way rarely seen elsewhere, these sites represent the eternal heritage of France. They offer a huge choice of historical entertainment features and organised visits (e.g. Murol), or concerts (Vollore). And many even offer bed and breakfast accommodation.
As you explore the Auvergne Castles History Trail you will be discovering the history of France at first hand.
The Allier department is home to more than 500 castles in the Bourbon region, over 50 of them are open to the public and several even offer bed and breakfast accommodation.
Don't Miss :
• the Medieval fortress of Bourbon-L’Archambault, one of the oldest and most impressive feudal ruins;
• Château de Lapalisse, in the Allier: the ceilings have raised colourful box beams inlaid with gold, from the first Italian renaissance;
• Domaine Royal de Randan, a remarkable example of the French neoclassical and romantic period.
In Haute-Loire, the Château de Lespinasse, from the 17th century, is still inhabited by the Lespinasse family. It is listed as the "Oldest conserved castle in the Brivadois area".
The Forteresse de Polignac, perched on a volcanic hill, offers visitors animated historical visits in addition to a panoramic view of the Cevennes and the Velay mountains.
The Cantal also has its fair share of 15th century fortresses that are open to the public. The Château de la Vigne, inhabited and beautifully decorated, is living history of the Haute Auvergne region. The Château d’Anjony includes a very impressive and still intact dungeon. Other not to be missed castles in the Cantal are Auzers, Val and La Trémolière.
And finally, the Château de Sédaiges, is still inhabited by the family that built the castle in the 15th century, thus preserving its remarkable interior decor.
In the Puy-de-Dôme department, the château de Murol welcomes visitors with authentic medieval spectacles in its military fortress.
The forteresse de Ravel, also of the Middle Ages, became a royal castle in the 18th century under the Admiral d'Estaing du Moyen-Age.
And for a remarkable collection of artwork and a decorated interior, the Château d’Aulteribe is a medieval fortress, restored in the 19th century romantic style.
The Auvergne Castles History Trail weaves its way between 43 castles offering outstanding diversity. These offer simple yet surprising visits including a warm welcome, in which the guides are often the enthusiastic inhabitants of these castles. They look forward to seeing you.