Stage 2 : Typical French Tour

Stage 2 : Typical French Tour.

CENTRAL ROUTE

Stage 2/24 - 324 kms


0 km Massiac

36 kms Issoire

69 kms Thiers

53 kms Ambert

134 Kms Vienne

32 kms Lyon

carte Massiac a Lyon

A record number of tourists visited France last year with the highest increase coming from Russia, China and Brazil. There were over one million Chinese and tourists from the rest of Europe. Visitors enjoy the beach, castles and restaurants. A typical french tour is waiting for you.

Massiac: a cultural stop

MASSIAC - France

MASSIAC - France © barbibouille - Fotolia.com

Massiac is a municipality located in the region of Cantal and the Auvergne region. With its dry-stone terraces where all kinds of fruits grow, this wonderful city is seen as a must-discover cultural stop. With its rich Neolithic remnants, the small city of Massiac harbours a treasure in its Saint-André church, a 15th century marvellous and rare kneeling Virgin. It is designated as the capital of a unique area dedicated to women painters of the 20th century in France. The Elise Rieuf Museum remains a very special attraction for lovers of fine art.

Issoire: a magnificent city for a quiet holiday

ISSOIRE - France

ISSOIRE - France © aurelief63 - Fotolia.com

Issoire is a town of the Puy-de-Dôme department, in Auvergne. It is located very close to France’s two main regional nature parks, which makes this commune a town pleasant to live in. It lies on the Limagne valley, which is characterized by ancient volcanic mounds and pleasant plateaus made of basalt flows. Summers are warm and sunny and in winter snowfalls are moderate. The mainly Mediterranean town’s architecture, the landscapes’ smoothness and the exceptional quality of light have given it the nickname of Toscane Auvergnate. Issoire-Aviation is also an aeronautical company nestled in the town of Issoire. It is also a dynamic shopping area and a real-estate attracting area for a quiet holiday.

Thiers: a remarkable rich city in history

THIERS - France

THIERS - France © Kamillok - Fotolia.com

Thiers is a commune in Auvergne in central France. It is built upon a hillside along the Durolle river valley. The steep elevation divides the town into distinct areas, with historic remarkable half-timbered houses in the high town’s old quarter. Thiers is famous for its knives, blades and cutlery industry. The town has a museum in the old quarter. Further along the valley, the industrial heritage museum, l'Usine du May, opened in 2009. Modern factories including Forges Gorce manufacture blades for agricultural machinery from hedge trimmers to combine harvesters. The town was featured in 1976, in François Truffaut’s film “Small Change”. It is also the birthplace of journalist Claire Chazal and actor Zinedine Soualem.

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Ambert: a must-discover tourist town

AMBERT - France

AMBERT - France © www.photostock.am - Fotolia.com

Ambert is a commune in the Puy-de-Dôme department. The tourist town is located within the attractive surroundings of the Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park. A small historic centre in the town which has some half-timbered houses, the town-hall and a circle building, which was formerly town’s granary, are places of interest. The Rue de Goye is one of Ambert’s most interesting streets. Typical of an 18th century street it is here that many of the rich merchants of Ambert lived. Some particularly attractive half-timbered houses can be seen on the Place des Minimes and on Rue de la Grave. Take a stroll also in the well maintained park in the centre of Ambert.

For many centuries, the town was the French centre for paper-making, with the peak for the industry during the Renaissance. There is a museum in the town to commemorate this history. There is also an active paper mill where visitors are welcome. The second museum in the town, the Maison de la Fourme d’Ambert, is dedicated to the longstanding tradition of cheese making “the Fourme d’Ambert”, an AOC classified. Be sure to try it! A third museum, the Museum of Agricultural Machinery and Steam, is devoted to the local agricultural and industrial heritage and features a collection of tractors and steam engines.

Ambert’s country region is usually popular for the surrounding landscapes of the hills, pastures and woodlands, unspoiled and primeval forests that are ideal for walking and cycling on the quiet roads.  Several marked trails are suggested by the local tourist office to help you make the most of your visit. There are also some tourist trains which run through the surrounding countryside of the Livradois-Forez region leaving from Ambert, only in summer. You can head south to La-Chaise-Dieu and Sembadel or north to Olliergues. These trains go through a lovely scenic countryside. It is also recommended to visit the animal park at Bouy, where children can come close to the animals.

Vienna "Isère department" : Ancient city with many treasures

VIENNE - France

VIENNE - France - © clarom69 - Fotolia.com

Vienna is a Roman city with surprising discoveries. Ancient, Vienna offers vestiges of its past: theater, city of Saint-Romain-en-Gal, ubiquitous bring him international fame. Guests can also enjoy during your stay, its medieval heritage to discover passages, cathedrals and Roman cloister. But many hidden treasures to discover. You will go from discovery to discovery, an unforgettable stay or you will be offered many choices of accommodation and restaurants. Do not forget to enjoy the Roman theater at the annual summer festival !

Livradois-Forez Regional Park

You'll find the very best of nature in the Livradois-Forez natural park, as well as a great variety of industrial skills, a precious local heritage which has been carefully adapted and passed down from generation to generation, always with that same warmth and innovation. An impressive area with an unspoiled natural setting which is well worth a visit. Located two hours from Lyon, not far from the towns of Vichy, Clermont-Ferrand and Le Puy-en-Velay, it covers more than 320,000 hectares and has 110,000 inhabitants. The Livradois-Forez landscape’s beauty and the richness of its fauna and flora have been shaped by the area’s high altitudes, numerous waterways and varied terrain. The Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park stands out for the ingenuity and adaptability of its inhabitants, who kept pace with the market developments. They thus introduced new technologies and have constantly improved and fine-tuned their skills.

The Pilat Regional Natural Park

Pilat Regional Park - France

Pilat Regional Park - France - 357680 © ANDRE CUZEL - Fotolia.com

The Pilat Park was founded in 1974 and covers an area of 70.000 hectares. It has about 50.000 inhabitants. The park is located south of Lyon and east of St-Étienne. It is named after the Pilat Plateau. The park’s altitude ranges from 150 to 1430 meters above sea level. Because of this difference the climate varies. A Mediterranean climate in the Rhône Valley to a sub-alpine climate in the higher areas. Water is one of the major resources of the area and the park supplies water to all major cities and towns in the region. Already in Roman times, dams and canals were built to get the water to populated areas. Water also played a vital role in the region’s industrial development by supplying water to the silk industry and power to machines for spinning and forging steel.

The Rhône Valley is the park’s sunniest area, the valley is lined with vineyards and orchards. Some of France’s best wines are produced here. The Rhône Valley is a major route for rail transport and motor traffic towards the south. The tourists enjoy the park for an overnight stop or for a day. The park is usually crowded during the summer and holiday season. The centre of the park is formed by the Perdix Ridge and the Oeillon Ridge, rising at 1000 meters. Pine forests and moors cover these higher areas. From some places and by clear weather, a good view can obtained of the surrounding area and the Alps can be seen to the east. There are ski resorts in this area. The western part of the park overlooks the industrial towns of St-Étienne and St-Chamond. St-Étienne is one of the cities in France where the industrial revolution started. It was also France’s starting point of the first railway line in France and it ran from St-Étienne to the Loire to transport coal from the mines of Paris. In the park’s northern section, you will find dairy farms along with orchards.

Lyon: France’s capital of gastronomy

LYON - France

LYON - France © rochagneux - Fotolia.com

Lyon is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region. The city is known for its historical and architectural monuments and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon was historically known as an important region for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as France’s capital of gastronomy. It has a significant role in the history of cinema thanks to Auguste and Louis Lumière, who invented the cinematograph in Lyon.

Lyon’s historic site

Lyon, the ancient town at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône, capital of the Rhône-Alpes region, has played a key role in Europe’s political, cultural and economic development since the Roman times. The city’s extremely rich heart contains many historic buildings from all eras and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage since 1998. According to UNESCO’s site, Lyon bears exceptional testimony to the continuity of urban settlement over more than two millennia on a site of great commercial and strategic significance, where cultural traditions from many parts of Europe have come together to create a homogenous and strong community.

Lyon was annexed to the kingdom of France in 1312. It continued to be an important centre for the trade in spices, silk and books. Merchants from all over Europe were attracted by its many fairs, especially the Florentines who developed their banking activities in the city. In the middle of the 15th century, it had 36 districts, each with its own special trade. Around the middle of the 16th century, the city’s territorial expansion was regulated, on the initiative of the religious orders, which were concerned about overpopulation and the risks of epidemics. In the 17th century, new districts were created in the new classical style, particularly around the Place Royale.

"Notre-Dame de Fourvière"

According to a pious tradition, Saint Pothin, Lyon’s first bishop, brought with him an icon of the Virgin, in 150 after J.C. In 1168, a chapel at Notre-Dame was built on the hill of Fourvière. This chapel was destroyed in 1562 by the baron of the Adrets but rebuilt soon after. The Marian devotion continued to grow in Fourvière, becoming particularly popular in 1638 when King Louis XIII consecrated France to the Virgin Mary. In 1643, the Lyonnais were devoted to Notre-Dame de Fourvière and committed to carry out a solemn procession on 8 September each year, in thanksgiving for the end of a plague epidemic. On that day, the people offer the Virgin a candle weighing seven pounds and a gold coin. This annual procession still goes on till today, with the participation of the Mayor of Lyon or one of his representatives.

In 1830, the chapel’s belfry was considered in a poor state and dangerous and it was demolished. The architect M. Duboys was selected and it was decided that a golden statue of Mary would be added to the belfry. The inauguration of the renovated chapel initially scheduled on 8 September 1852, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, was postponed to 8 December following heavy rainfalls which flooded the warehouse where the statue was kept. The inhabitants of Lyon had placed lanterns on their window sills as a sign of their devotion. What is known so far, the streets’ festival of lights of December 8, has become an annual tradition in Lyon.

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