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Auvergne Holiday Cottages Introduction text
AuvergneLarge1 - Visitor Information - Outdoors

Apart from activities written up in more detail below, there is climbing, hang gliding, mountain bike hire (was possible in Condat - update needed please), golf at Le Mont Dore, even bungee jumping. Ask us, see information leaflets and local tourist offices.

Adventure playground: claimed to be “between Tarzan and Indiana Jones” Lioran Aventure at Le Lioran opens at weekends in Spring and daily from 15 June. Suitable for all ages, several acres of trees seem to be involved. Information from 06 7497 4094 or visit their web site

Fishing: rivers and streams contain wild brown trout, some stocked rainbows and their offspring. You need a permit which is inexpensive and can be bought in many shops (e.g. the café next to the lower bakery in Condat). As a conservation measure, crayfish may only be caught on a single day in August.

Gathering: blackberries, plums, juniper berries, raspberries, strawberries and bilberries grow wild; find mushrooms in the fields and beech woods which surround us. The Hunters sold ceps in Condat for € 10 a kilo. We have several books on fungi if you need them.

Horses: riding stables at Montboudif and Condat. Mounts look reliable more than inspiring. Horse lovers might also enjoy visiting the stud of draft stallions at Aurillac (see Haras National, page 17). On your next holiday, why not ride one of France's great bridle ways? Basic overnight accommodation for horse and rider (as in the Gîte Equestre by the waterfall at Egliseneuve) at each day's end.

Skiing: downhill at Super Besse, cross country throughout the area - Besse, Picherande (where the National Sled Dog races are held), Egliseneuve, even Montgrelieux. Prices are lower than in the Alps which undoubtedly has more choice and a longer season for downhill. However over fifty miles of cross country pistes within half an hour of here offer unequalled skiing in magnificent surroundings. Lessons in both types of skiing at Super Besse. Ski hire everywhere.

Swings: good play area at Besse and another in Riom-ès-Montagnes

Nature24 Winter2
Egliseneuve8 Walking13

Swimming: pools at Condat (praised by visitors, several children have made friends there, paddling pool for littlies), St Amandin if you’re eating at the restaurant (handy pool-side bar for non swimming imbibers), a good indoor pool at Super Besse, and in most towns. Over a mile long, Lac Lastouilles has numerous little beaches to swim from; we found the water warm, clear and clean; perfect for a day out or just an evening dip; from Montboudif go through La Crégut, keep the lake on your left, pass the Base de Voiles, keep left wherever you can, through a carpark, cross the top of a long dam and the further you go, the better it usually is. Nearby Lac Taurons is quieter but access is not as easy. Try the River Rhue at La Chapelle for paddling, cooling off and construction of dams.

Tennis: Condat has 3 hard courts, about € 6 an hour, book in the Gardien's office. When the Hawkins played, Saskia (7) enjoyed the adjacent mini golf.

Train: A little train runs from Bort-les-Orgues to Lugarde. Called the train touristique or more impressively, the Gentaine Express, you can join it at Riom-ès-Montaignes and trundle sedately across the Cézalier. Enquiries and bookings at the Riom Tourist Office. It tends to stop at level crossings which are treated very seriously, even if the railway only crosses a farm track.

Vélorail: a fun idea. Pedal along the disused railway line from Landyrat through beautiful countryside. Your trolley has a double seat between two bicycle seats with pedals. Mornings are quieter, afternoons can be hot and prone to monsoons in thundery weather. See leaflet. We did the 8 hour run in 5 hours, picnic included. Take at least twice the amount of water you think you’ll need. It runs at set times, booking is essential - we can phone for you. The editor did not do their highly entertaining translation. Now much more formal and organised than at the beginning, you are given a good talking to (in French) before you set off!

Water sports: the Base de Voiles on Lac Lastouilles (see Swimming, above for directions) hires sailing dinghies, sail boards, etc.. Teenagers staying in 1997 went out in their dinghies and recommend it.

Temperature conversions

C F 1 C = 1.8 F
-30 -22 Canadian winter cold
-20 -4 European ski resort minimum
-10 14 Normal winter low at ski resorts
0 32 Freezing point
10 50  
20 68 Room temperature
30 86 Normal summer high at La Borie
36.9 98.4 Normal body temperature
40 104 A hot day in France
60 140 Water too hot to keep your hand in
100 212 Boiling point