• At a glance
  • Locality & Walks
  • Accommodation & Meals
  • Travel options
  • Photos
At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


   
Independent Walking Holiday
  • Tranquil Auvergne Trail

Dates for 2017
  • Everyday (depending on availability) from 15 May to the end of September
Price
  • £685 (single supplement £200)
  • €770 (single supplement €220)
Grade
  • walking grade moderate
Profile
  • 7 nights: 6 days independent walking in a circuit moving between guest houses
Highlights
  • The world heritage town of Puy en Velay with its volcanic spires topped by religious monuments
  • Unique circuit through open, wild and remote upland countryside punctuated by volcanic hills, secluded valleys and historic settlements
  • Gently undulating terrain giving easy and moderate walking
  • Historic villages and hamlets with a specific rural architecture and chateaux lining the upper Loire Valley
  • A rich upland flora and fauna
  • Friendly, authentic guest houses full of local character
Testimonials
  • "We enjoyed the flora at this time of year (June.) Such a delightfully quiet region." S & P Bloomfield, UK
  • "Very quiet and peaceful. Beautiful countryside: wild flowers, birds. Very 'French.' Made to feel welcome. Thanks - we had a brilliant time." J. Goddard, UK
  • "Mont Mezenc was so beautiful. We had a wonderful holiday." J. Baker, UK. More testimonials from the Auvergne
Accommodation and Meals
  • Each night you'll be staying in a different guest house; either B&B or Auberge. They are 2 and 3 star equivalent in quality, offering authentic and comfortable accommodation. They are historic properties that have been lovingly restored where you'll be reserved a warm and generous welcome and enjoy home cooked fresh cuisine.
What's included
  1. Transfer between the train station at Puy en Velay and first and last accommodation, transfer on day 2 to start of walk, 7 night's accommodation. B&B in Puy en Velay, full board whilst on trek. Full walking notes and maps, transport of luggage between guest houses
What's not included
  1. Travel to Puy en Velay, France. Lunches on arrival and departure days, plus two evening meals in Puy en Velay. Drinks in some guest houses. Any excursions and entrance fees.
 
  1. Return to all self-guided walking holidays
Walks

Rural Tranquility in Southern Auvergne

The Haute Loire, in the southern Auvergne in the Massif Central provides the walker with a truly unique experience in la France Profonde. If you like peaceful surroundings, solitude, and timeless rural scenes then this is the walking holiday for you. For the most part a gently undulating plateau of farmland provides for gentle walking across a remote and wild scene whose seemingly endless views leave you with a sense of horizontal vertigo. These wide open spaces are punctuated by small volcanic hills (known as Sucs), circular lakes, woodland and secluded valleys with tumbling streams. As you go south east so you gradually rise to the Mont Mézenc (4th summit in the Massif Central), making the department the second most elevated on average in France. The eastern edge of the plateau is broken in a spectacular fashion as the slopes fall away into the Ardeche, providing breathtaking views. Traditional sturdy stone buildings, covered in stone tiles or thatch, pepper the landscape making for a pretty scene. The flora is colourful and typical of high mountain pastures.Your walk starts and finishes in Puy en Velay, the remarkable world heritage town, known for its volcanic spires impossibly topped by religious monuments.

Walks

The walks average 15 to 22 km over gently undulating terrain. Individual ascents and descents are generally no more than 250m at a time. Mixture of paths, tracks and minor roads. The paths are generally good, although they can be rough and stony in places. The holiday is suitable for the occasional walker as well as those who walk more regularly. The walk is relatively long for the grade, although the ascents and descents are relatively gentle. Mont Mezenc reaches a height of 1753m.

 

map haute loire walking

Day 1: Arrival

Welcome in Puy en Velay and transfer to guest house

Day 2: Puy en Velay to St Julien Chapteuil

Explore the amazing town of Puy en Velay, a World Heritage site. Transfer to Laussone. A gentle afternoon’s walk crossing a pretty countryside of volcanic summits that pepper the rolling farmland. You'll finish your day at the pretty village of St Julien Chapteuil with its beautiful Romanesque church. Option of longer walk via St Pierre Eynac (for those who have an extra day in Puy en Velay). 12-19km, +290m - +410m.

Day 3: St Julien Chapteuil - Bigorre

Today starts with a climb onto a pretty ridge before descending to the pretty historic village of Montusclat with its dark stone buildings. Your trail winds around valleys and ridges to reach the tiny hamlet of Bigorre, made up of traditional thatch properties, where you’ll find your guest house. 19km, +570m

Day 4: Bigorre - Moudeyres

Climb onto the plateau where the views reach for miles. Visit the pretty village of St Front clinging to the hillside before heading north watched by grazing cattle munching on rich grassland. You’ll then climb to the historic village of Moudeyres with its wonderful stone and thatch buildings dating back centuries. A short walk brings you to your beautiful guest house in a magnificent stone property, immaculately restored. 18km, +320m

Day 5: Moudeyres - Les Estables

Today is a shorter day giving you the chance to ascend Mont Mezenc and take in exceptional views that, on a clear day, stretch to much of southern France. Gaze in wonder upon the Alps and much of the Massif Central. Descend to the pretty village of Les Estables and your auberge in a traditional stone building. 11 - 15km, +380m - +630m

Day 6: Les Estables- Le Monastier sur Gazeille

A long but gentle day’s walking across open undulating farmland heading away from the heights to the historic village of Monastier sur Gazeille. A great days walking with marvellous views all the way. 22km, +230m

Day 7: Le Monastier sur Gazeille - Puy en Velay

You'll climb onto the edge onto a ridge with fine views. A walk that follows a smaller scale landscape of fields and copses close to the young Loire Valley overlooked by historic chateaux. You'll then follow an old railway line taking you back to Puy en Velay. 24km, +360m

Day 8: Departure

Exploration of the world heritage town of Puy en Velay. (Option to book an extra day to have more time in the town.) Transfer to train station.

Please note that the exact location of some night's accommodation may change according to availability.

Independent walking holiday Haute Loire France Mezenc wildlife

Independent walking holiday St Front roman church Haute Loire Auvergne France

bigorre and views velay walking trail france

Independent walking holiday Farm Moudeyres Haute Loire Auvergne France

mont mezenc views self guided walking auvergene france

independent walking velay haute loire

st julien chapteuil church volcanic walking trail france

For useful advice about independent walking and preparing for your self guided holiday please take a look at the articles in our top-tips section.

Once you have booked on this independent walking or trekking holiday, further information about the walking, the region and what to bring, will be sent to you. We do have a web page dedicated to what clothes and equipment you should bring. In addition, our travel shop has direct access to all the top walking and travel retailers. Please contact us if you need any further information.

Bed

Accommodation & Meals


Each night you'll be staying in a different guest house; either B&B or Auberge and hotel in Puy en Velay. They are 2 and 3 star equivalent in quality, offering authentic and comfortable accommodation. They are historic properties that have been lovingly restored where you'll be reserved a warm and generous welcome. Below are two examples of the type of guest houses we use. Sometimes they are located in villages, sometimes, they are in isolated locations.

Name Type Details Rating  
Le Moulinou B&B Lovely sturdy old farmhouse built from volcanic stone in a great location nr Moudeyres in the heart of the upland plateau 3 Corns Le Moulinou guest house Haute Loire Auvergne France
L'Herminette Auberge Classic historic property located in a village of ancient thatched cottages built from volcanic stone. Beautiful views, warm welcome and home-cooked cuisine.   L'Herminette authentic guest house haute loire Auvergne France
Travel Options

Travel Options


You have 3 main options for getting to Puy en Velay: driving, taking the train or flying to Lyon and then taking the train.

By Train

Eurostar and the TGV provide a quick and relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu direct or via Lille or Paris. This part of the journey takes about 6 hours

At Lyon you'll need to change for St Etienne, where there is a last change of train before arriving at Puy en Velay. The journey from Lyon takes about 2 and a half hours
www.raileurope.co.uk
www.eurostar.com

By Car

Once in France, the journey from Calais to Puy en Velay takes about 9-10 hours (excluding long breaks). Tolls amount to about 30 euros each way. Channel crossings are provided by the following companies.

www.poferries.com

www.dfdsseaways.co.uk/

www.eurotunnel.com

Parking is available at the first guest house free of charge

Flight Options

At Lyon airport you'll need to catch the bus link (Satobus) to Lyon Part dieu in order to catch the train to Puy en Velay

Easy jet: Luton, Gatwick, Edinburgh – Lyon

Flybe: Birminham – Lyon

British Airways: London Heathrow - Lyon

Please note – This information is correct at the time of publication. High Point Holidays cannot be held responsible for any change in schedules made by the above operators. Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. In addition, we can only guarantee transfers from the practical flights listed above. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you. You can also visit our on-line travel shop which contains useful links.

 

Photos

Photos


Independent walking holiday Haute Loire Auvergne cevennes France
Independent walking holiday Mezenc Haute Loire Cevennes France
Independent walking holiday haute loire puy en velay France
loire valley auvergne french walking tour
independent walking holiday haute loire auvergne France rural accommodation
independent walking holiday haute loire auvergne France rural accommodation
independent walking holiday haute loire auvergne France
independent walking holiday haute loire auvergne France rural farm