Buron de Niercombe: put your feet up and enjoy the views from this former shepherd’s hut

The best restaurants and hotels in the region, plus quirky accommodation to write home about

Related articles: Travel Destinations: Auvergne, France’s Wild Child
Great Outdoor Activities in Auvergne

TOP HOTELS

Hôtel Le Bailliage

If you’re going to stay in one of Auvergne’s prettiest villages, then you need to do it in style. Hôtel Le Bailliage has plenty of that. There are 27 rooms, many with astounding views of the Monts du Cantal, plus a swimming pool and spa. www.salers-hotel-bailliage.com

Château Royal de Saint-Saturnin

Since the 13th century, this château has lorded it over the medieval village of Saint-Saturnin. Immerse yourself in its charms with a stay in one of its guest suites steeped in history and enjoy the stone towers, wall tapestries, four-poster beds, courtyard and extensive grounds as if they were your own. www.chateaudesaintsaturnin.com

QUIRKY ACCOMMODATION

Natura Tazenat

Not far from the volcanic lake, the Gour de Tazenat, there’s a delightful ‘cabin village’ with four wooden cabins perched up in the trees and (for the vertiginous among us) one on solid ground. Depending on which cabin you choose (they’re all named after cute woodland creatures), you might get heating, a terrace, a hot tub or a water fountain. www.natura-tazenat.com

Natura Tazenat

Buron de Niercombe

“Here you’ll feel like you’re the only one in the world,” claims the Auvergne tourist office of this shepherd’s hut, high in the Cantal. Up to six guests can stay here, but you’ll need to cater for yourselves. Prices from €950 for two nights. www.un-jour-en-auvergne.com

Le Bois Basalte

“With axes, saws and hammers in our hands, and smiles on our faces, we embarked on a Robinson Crusoe-style adventure,” say the four young architects who built Le Bois Basalte, on this remote rural site near the village of Manzat. There are two cabins and a glamping tent available, for between two and four people. Breakfast and picnics are on offer. Dinner, a sauna and a hot tub are being added soon. You can swim in the nearby Gour de Tazenat volcanic lake. cabanes-auvergne.fr

Cosy Camp

Safari lodges, treehouses, cottages, caravans, tents… You can take your pick at this gorgeous campsite near the village of Chamalières-sur-Loire, on the banks of the River Loire. Yes, France’s longest river has its source all the way up here in the Massif Central. www.cosycamp.com

TOP HOTEL-RESTAURANTS

Château de Codignat

“Château de Codignat is a five-star hotel in a fairy-tale castle,” says the tourist office. Some 450 metres up, and overlooking the village of Bort-l’Etang, in the Puy de Dôme,
it certainly is a medieval gem. The accompanying restaurant, La Tour du Château, has a Michelin star and is run by chef Mathieu Barbet. Wild boar and Auvergne truffles, venison fillet steak, Charolais steak and trout are all on the menu. www.codignat.com

L’Auberge des Montagnes

Hôtel Radio

Art Deco fans, pay attention. This hotel, set up in 1930, is a shrine to your favourite décor. Lots of floor mosaics, arched mirrors, wrought-iron light fittings and antique radios. The restaurant is great, too. “Authentic products from committed professionals,” claim the owners. “Some from far afield like the Breton fish merchants, Burgundian wine growers, and Norman cider-makers; others from right here in Auvergne like the local farmers, cheese-makers, market gardeners and beekeepers.” www.hotel-radio.fr

Maison Decoret

There are only five rooms in this Vichy hotel. But what a lovely five rooms. The décor and architecture takes you straight back to the time of Napoleon III. Then there’s the restaurant, with its Michelin star and highly respected chef Jacques Decoret. A sign of his confidence is that one of the set menus will set you back €195 per person. There are cooking courses, too. maisondecoret.com

Aletti Palace Hotel

Spoil yourself at this luxurious four-star hotel overlooking Vichy’s Parc des Sources. Enjoy an aperitif in the Ascot Bar, with its stained-glass windows; have a splash in the outdoor pool (heated in summer); then dine at La Veranda restaurant. www.hotel-aletti.fr

Will it be verdantly green or snow-white when you visit l’Auberge d’Aijean?

Auberge d’Aijean

Near the Puy Mary volcano, 1,200 metres up, a converted barn is now home to a lovely hotel-restaurant. Depending on the time of year, hosts Bruno and Valérie will welcome you into their “verdantly green or snow-white setting for a sporty or touristy stay”. There’s also a very good spa there with solarium, hammam and hydro-massage. www.auberge-puy-mary.com

L’Auberge des Montagnes

“A small corner of paradise… in the mountains,” is how your hosts, the Combourieu family, describe their lovely inn, in the Cantal village of Pailherols .There’s a fine restaurant, spa, carriage rides, and great walks right from the front door – what more could you want? www.auberge-des-montagnes.com

From France Today magazine

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