Départements:Allier (03), Cantal (15), Haute-Loire (43), Puy-de-Dôme (63)
Do you like the great outdoors and dramatic landscapes on your doorstep? Do you want to avoid expat enclaves and well-trodden tourist paths? Then the Auvergne might be the Region for you.
The starting point for three mighty rivers of France, the Dordogne, Loire and Lot this region is an outdoor sports paradise. Deep forests and rugged terrain make for excellent walking and mountain-biking. Thermal spa towns, river gorges and wild beauty are the themes for this region punctuated by delightful old towns like Vichy, Aurillac and Le Puy, famous for lace. You are in the geographic heart of France so expect continental weather, that means much colder winters and much warm summers than the UK climate.
This region is less accessible than others and less on the expat trail so house prices are still very attractive – ideal either for rural escape holiday homes or a complete downshift from city life.
Flight choices are more limited with Clermont-Ferrand the first choice and St Etienne not too far if you are on the East of this region. Otherwise you’ll want to stay put and enjoy the rural tranquillity and the great variety and drama of the Auvergne countryside.
Cities and towns: Clermont-Ferrand, Vichy, Moulins, Montlucon, Aurillac, Le Puy