Auvergne is a historical region in central France filled with mountains, forests, and dormant volcanoes. The volcanoes are tens of thousands of years old, with the most recent eruption dating back about 6,000 years. The hardened lava outlining summits are referred to as “puys.” Natural hot springs have created spa towns, including Vichy, a former World War 2 headquarter for the French State’s government.
Since January 1, 2016 this region is referred to as Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes. There are four provinces, with the main city and university town of Clermont-Ferrand located in the province of Puy-de-Dome. You can see this province in the 2002 movie “To Be and to Have.” This is also the place where you will find most hostels in Auvergne. The hostels tend to rate around 3 out of 5 stars, as they are minimal yet good to rest your head at night. There are also B&B’s, motels, and apart-hotels within a similar price range that might offer a bit more quality. When searching for hostels in Auvergne, look for the French word “auberge.”
Puy-de-Dome is not only the location for most of Auvergne’s hostels, but it is also the best spot for sight-seeing in the region. Here is the well-known Romanesque Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port, one of five greater churches of Auvergne. Founded in the 6th century by Saint Avitus, it was built on a floor plan in the shape of a cross. It was burned down and rebuilt in the 11th or 12th century, and has been restored several times. Today, it is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Also in the Puy-de-Dome province, you can partake in the 4-day Renaissance Festival of the Bird King in September. It is a colorful event where residents wear traditional outfits and indulge in music and dancing.
For the kids and children-at-heart, Puy-de-Dome has a wonderful, volcano-themed amusement park called Vulcania. Check online to be sure the park is open at the time of your visit. It is easily accessible by shuttle bus, train, and plane, and just a 20-minute drive away from Clermont-Ferrand. Here you can enjoy rides and animations that will teach you about volcanoes as well as planet Earth. Spend a leisurely day enjoying the scientifically and environmentally themed park. At the end of the day, there are several hostels surrounding the area where you can settle down and catch up on your Z’s in preparation for the next day’s fun.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Auvergne hostels. Welcome.