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Beyond Paris: A Journey Through Auvergne

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Volcanic peaks and lunar landscapes are hardly the first images that France brings to mind. But you’ll find them in Auvergne, a detour-worthy region full of natural wonders. Travelers have typically come here to pursue hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and other adventures. But there’s plenty more to recommend Auvergne, between its quaint towns, growing food scene, and abundance of castles and thermal baths. Indeed, it’s the home of Volvic, which sources its water from the mineral-rich spring.
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63870 Orcines, France
Located in central France, the Auvergne Regional Park of Volcanoes counts 80 dormant volcanoes, known as the Chaine des Puys. They amount to a one-of-a-kind geological ensemble that’s comparatively youthful (the last eruptions occurred 7,000 years...
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Clermont-Ferrand, France
The regional capital of Clermont-Ferrand is a university town that majors in history and charm: a twin-spired cathedral; a Roman basilica made from volcanic rock; stately public squares and fountains; and Jardin Le Coq, a park with a...
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63710 Saint-Nectaire, France
Many towns in the Auvergne region are renown for their thermal baths, which have attracted visitors since Roman times. Saint-Nectaire, for instance, features spas like Thermadore that draw on the surrounding natural springs and their mineral-rich...
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Clermont-Ferrand, France
This crowd-pleasing museum in Clermont-Ferrand traces the story of Michelin, a homegrown family business launched by two brothers back in 1889. Manufacturing rubber tires was just the beginning; Michelin created the red Michelin Guide in 1900 (in...
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Les Roches, 63230 Saint-Ours, France
Much of this interactive museum is set underground in a volcano-like cone structure designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Hans Hollein. Its displays, films, and rides help educate visitors about earth sciences—and impart a better...