Long presented as a “route bis” on the road to summer holidays, the departmental could well be the big winners of the summer. And Auvergne to become an Eldorado in tune with the times … to go hunting for forgotten treasures.

How can we still ignore it? Mountains, volcanoes, rivers, lakes, hiking trails, landscapes as far as the eye can see, Auvergne is full of life-size places. At the time of the post-confinement summer holidays, the region is preparing to welcome tourists in search of large spaces, in search of authenticity, far from coastlines where overcrowding no longer seems to be the norm. From the discreet rivers of the Combrailles to the sleepy forests of Cantal, locals have kindly opened their treasure boxes to us. These hidden treasures of a secret Auvergne for those who know how to marvel at the song of a stream or a ray of light through the trees that we would however jealously keep for ourselves. But for those who know how to observe and be curious, Auvergne can be generous.

Saint-Quintin-sur-Sioule or the possibility of an island

His roots in the land are all the stronger since Fanny is heir to a long line of peasants. His father, his grandfather, and several generations before them lived thanks, with and for the earth. She warns: “I am chauvinistic when it comes to talking about my region. “ His region is Combrailles. One of the Auvergne territories with the lowest population density. In Saint-Quintin-sur-Sioule (Puy-de-Dôme), with her husband Harold, they raise their three children there in a setting of volcanoes, fields, rivers, winds, bad weather. And when the night comes, starry skies that no light or pollution come to veil.

Far from the rat race

It’s on the waters of Sioule that memories of Fanny’s teenager still float. In these fish-filled waters which take their source in the Chain of the Dore Mountains and which lick their property. 150 kilometers of a tortuous race between Puy-De-Dôme and Allier of which it is a tributary. Fanny delivers a precious commodity: “On the Sioule, the Chouvigny gorges are essential. Between the Pont de Menat and the Pont de Saint-Gal, the valley becomes very narrow, cliffs dominate us and wild flowers cling to it “. A 5-kilometer long hedge of honor for canoes, many less likely to venture there than in Verdon, Dordogne, Tarn, Lot or Ardèche. Here, therefore, no river-style traffic jam, no paddle wars. This is also the other benefit of this wild corner, 35 km northwest of Clermont-Ferrand. It’s not the rat race and it’s happy.

Chouvigny gorges: wooded slopes do not only emerge from granite points, the Château de Chouvigny also watches over the place

Chouvigny gorges: wooded slopes do not only emerge from granite points, the Château de Chouvigny also watches over the place

“Don’t go like that, it’s too bad! “

Harold even became a peasant in his turn. Rustic pig farmer, salt worker, after traveling the roads and managing assets on behalf of a mutual. In the morning, when he wakes up at 4 a.m., he savored the promise of dawn: “This is, for me, the best moment of the day, when, all around, nature wakes up, there is everything, colors, smells.” A moment of eternity. The plots dominate the Sioule gorges and mark out a piece of the GR 463. Harold adds: “People come when the weather is nice, the sun accompanies them, but they don’t know that even in autumn or winter, it is also magnificent when the elements get there”. Fanny, as a good ambassador, never misses an opportunity to open her eyes and whet the curiosity of the visitors she welcomes: “When people come to the farm after doing dozens of kilometers and they leave immediately after their purchases but I say to them:‘ ‘But don’t leave like that, it’s too bad!” Without going into the gorges, or on the GR, there is a path in a meadow that leads to a hot spring, the temperature is constant at 37 degrees all year round. That’s just great. ”.
Far from the tourist guide radars: Saint-Quintin-sur-Sioule. At the crossroads between Ebreuil, Marcillat, and Saint-Gal-sur-Sioule, this confetti promises a makeover. Until then, we were right to ignore it but now we can no longer say that we did not know.


The GR 463: passes through Saint-Quintin-sur-Sioule, crosses South Allier for 87 km, from East to West between Ebreuil and Chabanne
Happy pig farm: Harold and Fanny welcome you for a free visit to the farm every Sunday without reservation between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
The source of Charponne: hike from Saint-Quintin-sur-Sioule, 13 km signposted loop, 3 hours of easy walking
Chouvigny castle (13th century castle): open visit from July 11 to August 23