VISIT THE CEZALLIER PLATEAU, AUVERGNE
WE TAKE YOU TO THE CEZALLIER PLATEAU & AROUND
To wander at a slow pace and take full advantage of the treasures that nature fills us with, Our tailor-made luxury holidays in Auvergne take you off the beaten track, to one of these places that have become rare, where you can still have the feeling of being alone, in the middle of a green gulf : the Cézallier plateau. This immense 8 million years old volcanic plateau, nestled in the center of the Monts d’Auvergne, between the Monts Dore to the north and the Monts du Cantal to the south, dotted with lakes, waterfalls, peat bogs, summer pastures, is a preserved place, ideal for recharging your batteries.
These landscapes of pastures as far as the eye can see, these steppes, are often compared to those of Mongolia or the Highlands of Scotland, but here in Auvergne, on these vast expanses, the yellow of the gentians, the typical plant of the region which produces the liqueur of the same name, the gray of the “burons” – an Auvergne term which designates the last generations of high altitude farms – and the mahogany color of the Salers cows dominate the landscapes.
Here, the wide open spaces of Cezallier have always been lands of transhumance preserving their history. As you walk there from the end of May to October, you will see cows everywhere because these vast landscapes of pastures, cleared by the monks around the year 1000, are still the seat of farms where one of our 365 French cheeses is produced: the famous Saint-Nectaire.
You will love to participate in the milking of the cows directly in the meadows, savor a delicious picnic of local specialties, visit the village of Saint-Nectaire which gave its name to the region, hosting one of the jewels of Auvergne: its church, one of the finest examples of Auvergne Romanesque art.
It is impossible not to visit the cellars carved into the tuff, like giant mouths emerging from the earth, originally built to store wine, before being used for maturing cheeses. Few refiners use them for the refining of Saint-Nectaire, despite their particular atmosphere particularly conducive to the development of the best Saint-Nectaire which will stay there for up to 12 weeks.
Between AOP Saint-Nectaire, Cantal, Salers, Bleu d’Auvergne and Fourme d’Ambert, here cheese is king and you will have understood it, the mountain pastures are more frequented by Salers or Aubrac cows than by men. It is moreover in these landscapes shrouded in mysteries, isolated, and thereby favorable to monastic life, that the monastery of Marcenat will appear to you, like a mirage, erecting its golden domes in the sky of Cézallier.
If you wonder if it’s true that at the Cézallier plateau, you can walk there for days without meeting anyone, the answer is yes ! You can be the only ones to brag about these fabulous places that it keeps secretly, these treasures like the dozens of waterfalls that dot the 300 km of this magical plateau.
To take you to the heart of these landscapes, the slow rhythm of the Vélorail created along a railway line – which at the time it was in operation, was known to be one of the most beautiful in Europe – is a fun and sporting course, a way of discovering the immensity that surrounds you. This sort of pedal boat with two saddles and two independent pedals, which can take 3 passengers in the back, will take you through the magical landscapes of the Cézallier plateau.
However, some of the most mysterious sites in Auvergne are best observed from the sky and we advise you to take the height to contemplate these traces of pastoral structures of which we know almost nothing, this juxtaposition of small cells linked to the shepherds’ shelters which would correspond to very old residential remains.
You could end your flight above another jewel of Cézallier: the two lakes of Godivelle. The lake below, of glacial origin, and the one at the top, a volcanic lake, a crater filled by the flow of water, with around twenty traces of medieval houses.
On the edge of Lake d’En-Bas, the Sagnes de La Godivelle Nature Reserve is home to an exceptional natural heritage, a paradise for all nature and photography lovers. The reserve can only be visited accompanied by a guide who will make you discover this unique place, which is home to typical flora and fauna, including several glacial remains, such as the Siberian ligular or the Lapp willow which recall by their name the time. where the Cézallier was covered with an immense glacier. You will meet protected butterflies, hosts of the gentian pneumonanthus and further down, on the shores of the lake, exceptional fauna such as the otter, a passing host, or the bug monkey, a small dragonfly extremely rare in Europe.
You can also decide to cross the Cézalier plateaus by following a legendary route long 128 km, called the Tour des Vaches Rouges or Tour du Cézalier over 5 or 8 days. We will help you choose the formula and the itinerary that best suit you to enjoy a holiday in Auvergne as close as possible to the sky.
We have no fixed itinerary, because at In-Luxe Travel France, true luxury follows no one else but you and combines rarity, knowledge, know-how, intuition. Take these itineraries as simply suggestions for the kind of holiday you might have in Auvergne, the Rhône Valley and the Alps.
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MUST SEE & DO
What you shouldn’t miss to see and do while traveling to Auvergne, the Rhône Valley and the Alps
Cézallier full trail: hike on an ocean of green waves
This 135 km hike in the heart of the incredible landscapes of Cézallier, also called the Tour des Vaches Rouges, can be done over 5 or 8 days. However, depending on your program, many day itineraries allow you to discover this ocean of green waves and its perched chapels.
Taste world-class AOP Saint-Nectaire cheese
Stop at a farm producing Saint-Nectaire farmer. The producers will make you discover cow milking and cheese manufacturing and invite you to a tasting of the delicious Saint-Nectaire. You will thus contribute to the development of fair agriculture, respectful of people and their environment.
Buron, churches and chapels: travel to the origins
Discover the magic of the Cezallier as it unveils its local gems like these small houses built in the middle of the mountains where cheese was made called “buron” along with a few hidden ones like the Dauzat-sur-Vodable church or the Saint-Valentine perched chapel.
In Luxe Travel France excells at planning the most refined and inspired travel experiences. Together with our extensive network of local experts, we deliver life-changing trips to you. Get in touch with us.
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