Explore the Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park

Lake in Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park

The Regional Natural Parc of Livradois-Forez is situated in the Auvergne region of France, in the departments of Puy-de-Dome and Haute-Loire. The principal entry points for the park are Chateldon and Thiers to the north of the parc, Ambert and Usson (near Issoire) to the centre and Brioude, Lavaudieu and La Chaise-Dieu towards the south.

Explore the Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park

In the park itself it is the varied landscapes that are the principal attraction, which is wonderful in all seasons with many changing colours, fauna, flora, mushrooms, red squirrels, deer and many birds of prey. There are also various small villages and hamlets to explore in the park.

As a result the Livradois-Forez Parc is excellent countryside for walking, photography and painting, and popular for both summer and winter sports enthusiasts.

Monts du Forez in the Livradois Forez Park

The landscape of the Livradois-Forez park falls into several distinct regions, each with their own characteristics:

  • the Valley of the Dore River, which passes southwards through the north-central section (see also the valley of the Credogne river, a subsidiary of the Dore)
  • the exposed landscapes of the Monts du Forez follow the north-east border of the parc
  • the gentler hills and slopes to the west around Billom and Foret de la Comte
  • the high forested plateau of the southern-central section in the Livradois
  • the rolling wooded valleys of the south-west of the Livradois-Forez
  • the first stages of the Auvergne Volcanos are to the south-east of the region (see also Auvergne Parc of the Volcanoes)

One interesting way to discover the park is to follow the 'Livradois-Forez Route des Metiers' which winds through the countryside visiting the castles, museums and artisan workshops of the region.

Note: the main picture shown above is of the plan d'eau - a swimming lake with a beach and fishing - at Champagnac-le-Vieux above Brioude.

Villages of the Regional Natural Parc of Livradois-Forez

Another way to explore is to follow a circular route round the park visiting twelve villages that have been highlighted as being of particular interest. Of course you will also discover the lovely countryside as you travel betwen the villages!

These are: Ambert, Viverols,  La Chaise-Dieu, Allegre, Auzon, Sauxillanges, Billom, Olliergues, Courpiere, Thiers and Chateldon.