Pierre sur Haute
©Pierre sur Haute|Benjamin Vallet

Livradois Forez Regional Nature Park

Located in eastern Auvergne, the Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park covers three départements: Puy-de-Dôme, Haute-Loire and Loire. Today, with a population of over 103,000, it comprises 163 communes and 4 associated communes, including Ambert, Billom and Lezoux, La Chaise-Dieu and Thiers. These compact, dynamic urban areas are only minutes away from hiking trails. But also ski slopes and mountain lakes. What’s more, they all boast magnificent historic centers that are well worth a visit.

A mid-mountain region committed and alive

Le Livradois-Forez, libre à vous de tenter l'expérience !
Le Livradois-Forez, libre à vous de tenter l'expérience !
Le Livradois-Forez, libre à vous de tenter l'expérience !

This mid-mountain region offers the perfect setting for a respectful immersion in nature. Here, the Hautes-Chaumes du Forez rise up, followed by the glacial valleys of Le Fossat and Les Reblats, and the basalt formations of the Montpeloux volcano. The Comté forest, a veritable kingdom of oaks, as well as the Mont Bar volcano and the Rez-de-Sol add to this mosaic of natural landscapes, offering almost infinite possibilities for walks and hikes. Strolling along the hiking trails is an intimate encounter with these spaces, where the Dore valley rubs shoulders with the Forez and Livradois mountains.

On the horizon, the Chaîne des Puys, the Sancy and the Alps loom large, enriching the panorama. Livradois-Forez is characterized by its ecological diversity, including peat bogs, mountain heaths, alluvial forests, natural meadows and numerous rivers. This rich ecological fabric forges the region’s unique identity and character. The Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park, committed to preserving this heritage, encourages respectful discovery of these natural treasures.

This makes it a destination of choice for ecology and sustainable tourism enthusiasts looking for authentic experiences in harmony with the environment. Visiting the Livradois-Forez region means immersing yourself in a varied natural environment and making a commitment to its preservation. It’s an invitation to appreciate the simplicity and tranquility of the landscape, while helping to protect it for future generations.

  • The Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park perimeter

    An open territory, the Livradois-Forez Park covers 300,000 hectares. Close to Clermont-Ferrand and Vichy, it includes such emblematic places as Thiers, capital of cutlery, Billom and its famous garlic production, Ambert with its unique cheese-shaped town hall, and the ancient Benedictine abbey of La Chaise-Dieu.

    Once faced with a rural exodus, the region is experiencing a revival thanks to the arrival of new inhabitants. They are often looking for a lifestyle closer to nature.

    This area, with its blend of rural character and urban amenities, is particularly attractive to those wishing to get away from the big cities. Family homes, once secondary residences, are once again becoming primary homes, reflecting a desire to return to their origins.

    For many, moving to the Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park is a strategic choice, offering the perfect balance between proximity to the south and lush green surroundings. These new settlements perfectly symbolize this underlying trend, the quest to reconnect with nature and a more balanced, eco-responsible lifestyle in the heart of Livradois-Forez.
    These newcomers also bring diversity and know-how, enriching the community with a fresh, eclectic dynamic.

  • A land of expertise

    Thiers and the Thiers mountains are witness to a changing industry, still rooted in the cutlery tradition, but also turning towards other sectors such asautomotive,aeronautics and plastics. In Ambert and Arlanc, the traditional craft of paper and braiding has diversified to include industrial production of cardboard and insulating jackets, among others.

    Local crafts, the beating heart of the region, express themselves through a wide variety of trades. Ceramists and leatherworkers in Thiers, lava enamellers in Billom, pencil and basket makers in Olliergues, illustrators and paper makers in Ambert, wood carvers in Beurières, lacemakers and wood turners in Arlanc: these artisans share a common commitment to preserving traditional techniques in an eco-responsible way. Together, they form the Route des Métiers, an itinerary inviting visitors to discover their workshops and unique skills, in a spirit of sustainable, environmentally-friendlytourism.

Natural treasures preserved and diversified

Livradois-Forez, located in the Massif Central, is a territory whose formation goes back millions of years. Its genesis is linked to major geological phenomena, in particular Alpine folding, which shaped its relief and valleys. During the Paleozoic era, some 300 million years ago, this region was part of the Hercynian chain, an immense mountain range.

Livradois-Forez is also characterized by its geological diversity. A variety of rocks bear witness to its eventful history: gneiss, granite, basalt and many others. The region is volcanic, and preserves the traces of these turbulent times. One of France’s most beautiful sites, to the south of the park, is home to a volcano hiding a peat bog in its crater: Mont Bar, near the commune ofAllègre.
These rock formations, combined with the richness of the flora and fauna, make this region a special place for lovers of nature and geology.

Did you know?

Back in the day, the Hercynian chain rivaled theHimalayas in size. Imagine these gigantic mountains rising up where today’s hills and plateaus lie. Over time, erosion has transformed this monumental landscape into the gentle mountains, dense forests and valleys we know in Livradois-Forez.

Livradois-Forez Nature Park : a vast secret territory, and not for nothing.

The Livradois-Forez region, designated a Regional Nature Park in 1986, represents a delicate balance between economic, social and cultural development and respect for the environment. This area, rich in biodiversity and natural landscapes, places great emphasis on preserving nature and its diverse flora and fauna.
The people of Livradois-Forez have preserved the traditional techniques of many trades, such as papermaking, cutlery, weaving and the production of Fourme d’Ambert PDO. These ancestral skills, testimony to a rich agricultural and industrial history, coexist today with dynamic, innovative industries.

Despite the rural exodus and reduction in agricultural activity, the region retains a strong forestry presence, covering half of its surface area. Textiles, leather, paper and light metallurgy, present since the 15th century, continue to shape the character and culture of the area.

The Livradois-Forez region is home to a varied architectural heritage, ranging from artisanal constructions to religious and agricultural buildings, spread across small hamlets and towns. Despite its accessibility, the park requires rigorous protection to preserve its beauty and appeal. Regulations and the classification of certain sites as Espaces Naturels Sensibles and Natura 2000 support biodiversity while integrating human activities.

The use of pisé, an ancestral building technique, is particularly notable in Livradois-Forez. After the decline of this method in favor of concrete and other modern materials in the 1950s, there was a revival of interest in pisé. Today, local residents and craftsmen alike recognize its ecological, economic, social and culturaladvantages. Innovations in adobe construction techniques offer solutions adapted to contemporary requirements, while preserving the region’s architectural heritage.

You're free to try in Livradois-Forez

Explore this vast natural territory at your own pace. Here, trails wind through varied landscapes, inviting families, friends and couples to explore at their own pace. Hikes through forests, valleys and peaks offer moments of discovery and tranquillity.
The area’s villages, castles and museums tell a story of tradition and craftsmanship. It’s a meeting place for those seeking to connect withlocal history and craftsmanship.
Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet, nature or cultural discovery, Livradois-Forez offers a range of activities to suit everyone. Let yourself be guided by the beauty of its landscapes and the richness of its heritage for an authentic and memorable experience.