La Bourboule travel guide

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Visit La Bourboule (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France)

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La Bourboule is a 19th century spa town and winter ski resort in the Auvergne region of central France, a few kilometres west of Mont-Doré and south-west of Clermont-Ferrand.

The Dordogne river runs through the centre of the town, which also falls within the scenic Natural Regional Parc des Volcans.

Explore La Bourboule

France This Way review: as you stroll through La Bourboule you could almost be stepping back in time 100 years, with the thermal baths, the casino and the grand houses dating from the so-called 'belle epoque' - the time of prosperity between the end of the 19th century and the start of the First World War.

The main centre of La Bourboule centres around the church and a large open square, and is a good place to start your visit.

Church in La Bourboule town centre

In the square and along the main street you can discover various buildings of historical interest and examples of local architecture from the end of the 19th century when the town flourished.

Among the grandest of the buildings, note in particular the town hall, the casino, and Les Grands Thermes (the spa treatment centre), with their decorative stonework and ornate balconies.

Strolling along the Boulevard Georges Clemenceau you can see many other buildings dating from this period (19th century), and perhaps take a pause in a cafe on the square before wandering along the riverside.

The church in La Bourboule, in the neo-roman style, was also built in the 1880's - if you have travelled around the Auvergne a little you will see that it is based on a style of church very popular in the region.


Next take a stroll through the Parc Fenestre, in summer a pleasant park with shade from the trees and with several amusement rides for children.

The park is the departure point for the cable car to the ski centre on the Plateau de Charlannes (for hiking and mountain biking in summer or skiing in winter).

Spa treatment in La Bourboule

The properties of the local spa water have been attracting visitors to La Bourboule since the roman epoch, but it was only from the 19th century that a thermal spa opened in the town to allow access to a wider public.

The spa continues to be popular, with reputed healing properties including allergies, asthma, skin problems, and general pain relief. (Spa treatments are very popular in all areas of France, with the majority of French believing there are substantial benefits in the treatment.)

View along the river in La Bourboule town centre

Other attractions

Outside it's use as a ski and spa resort, La Bourboule would make a pleasant base for exploring the western Monts-Dore region, with numerous opportunities for scenic walks and drives in the beautiful Auvergne countryside and throughout the Parc des Volcans.

Towns to visit include Mont-Doré, quite similar in style to La Bourboule and further upstream on the Dordogne river, and the town of Clermont-Ferrand to see the imposing towers of the black cathedral and other historic monuments.

Explore elsewhere in the Massif Central. You can find more travel ideas in the Puy-de-Dome guide and the Auvergne guide.

See also: 

Photos of La Bourboule

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Map of La Bourboule and places nearby


Visit near La Bourboule with France This Way reviews



Mont-Dore is well placed to explore the scenic splendours of the area such as the Vallee de Chaudefour, and is also a small ski resort

Mont-Dore guide


Orcival is home to one of the most important roman style churches in Auvergne and has several natural scenic highlights nearby

Orcival guide


The highlight of a visit to Murol is the Chateau de Murol that stands high on a rocky mass above the village

Murol guide


It is the impressive roman architecture of the Church of St-Nectaire-le-Haut that attracts visitors to Saint-Nectaire

Saint-Nectaire guide
Parc des Volcans

Parc des Volcans

The Natural Regional Park of the Volcanoes is a beautiful region of forested volcanic domes

Parc des Volcans guide
Chateau de Val

Chateau de Val

The Chateau de Val is an impressive medieval castle on the edge of a lake in Cantal

Chateau de Val guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Puy-de-Dome

Address: Bourboule, Rochefort-Montagne, Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne, 63150, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 45.5892, longitude 2.74

Plan your visit to La Bourboule, Puy-de-Dome

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Banne d'Ordanche: site of natural beauty (4 km)
  • Lac du Guery: site of natural beauty (7 km)
  • Puy de Sancy: site of natural beauty (9 km)
  • Jardins de Cordès: remarkable garden (13 km)
  • Eglise de Notre Dame (Orcival): religious monument (15 km)
  • Lac Pavin: site of natural beauty (16 km)
  • Eglise de Notre Dame (Saint-Nectaire): religious monument (18 km)
  • Volcans d'Auvergne: regional natural parc (24 km)
  • Puy de Dome: grand site of france (27 km)
  • Eglise Notre Dame (Saint-Saturnin): religious monument (28 km)
  • Saint-Saturnin: most beautiful village (29 km)
  • Jardins du château de la Batisse: remarkable garden (30 km)

Market days in La Bourboule, France

Regular market(s) are held in La Bourboule each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at La Bourboule (Francais)