The house is in the tranquil upper village, away from the
main road. It lies within a catapult shot of a restored 13th
century crusader castle -- just inside the fortified village
walls, which can still be seen. There is none of the tourism
clutter you will find in Provence and on the Mediterranean
The massive stone construction keeps the house cool in
summer. Heated floors and wood burning stoves (you’ll find
split, seasoned stove-length wood outside your front door at no
charge) make it cosy in cooler weather.
This vacation rental home was once a working farm house with
rooms formerly devoted to livestock sheltering, hunting,
wine-making, pigeon keeping, chicken raising, meat processing,
hay storage, grain threshing, fruit processing, and a making a
home for generations of Auvergnats. Look for clues to the past
in the renovation and decoration details.
Birds love our courtyard. You will too. It has herbs and berries
in season, a pleasant kitchen balcony and a sun-dappled pergola
for outdoor dining.
The village of Montaigut is picturesque and unspoiled, with
warm, dry summers, crisp winters and gentle winds: sweet weather
compared to the crowded Midi.
You will see smiling ramblers and hill walkers passing your
16th century front gate at all times of the year. The village is
a crossroads of many quiet walking trails (and also tracks or "chemins"
for all-terrain bicycles). They are well marked and maintained
and you can head off in any direction and find something new.
Check out the 100 wine caves in St. Julien. Look in our house
library for maps and descriptions.
From the house, it is a short (but steep) walk down to the
boulangerie, fromagerie, and charcuterie. Pick up fresh
croissants for breakfast while the coffee brews.
There is a supermarket 2 kilometres down the road, and a fair
sized town (Champeix) another kilometre on, with hairdressers,
hardware store, bank machine, drug stores and internet café.
Friday is market day.
Click here for a Google map of Montaigut le Blanc »
Auvergne geography is rolling hills and farmland, lakes,
rivers and striking volcanic mountains. It has a distinctive
rural architecture, classic Romanesque churches, famous cheeses
and an attractive regional cuisine.
A fascinating history of crusades and struggles among the
great European powers belies its peaceful present. You may have
heard of Vercingetorix and the Romans, famously recreated by the
French comic strip characters Asterisk and Obelisk. Our castle
was at one point shared by two brothers, each the general of a
great international army (the Templars and the Hospitalers) so
tiny Montaigut was once upon a time a European power itself.
Visit the caves, home long ago to cave dwellers, the hot
springs, and the potteries. The French visit often – this is a
traditional holiday area for tourists from other parts of
France. Kids should enjoy the Parc des Volcans and the excellent
private Musee Servaire in Condat, which has dinosaur stuff and
Shop in Issoire (16 km) or the regional centre
of Clermont Ferrand (26km). Both have fun small
shops and vast supermarkets and department stores. You will find
fresh fish, fine meats, and sophisticated packaged foods (try
the fish soups). There are exciting restaurants in both cities.
Check the local paper for weekend flea markets (vide greniers).
Winters are crisp and snowy in the nearby mountains. There is
excellent downhill skiing (Mont Dore and
Super Besse). The summer trails become cross country ski
routes in winter, even in the hills around Montaigut.
How to Get
This holiday rental is approximately seven hours drive from
Calais and four hours on the auto-route south from Paris. Less
by train. Car rentals are readily available in Clermont Ferrand.
There is an airport in Clermont with Air France flights to
Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Ryanair flies to St.
A fine base for touring, Montaigut is roughly equidistant (4 to
5 hours by car) to Bordeaux, the Pyrenées, Côte d'Azur, and the
French Alps; closer to the Loire and Rhône valleys, and next
door to the Dordogne.