The last wild river in Europe, the Loire has its source at the gates of Haute-Loire, at Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc in Ardèche. Very quickly, it threads its way towards Auvergne in Haute-Loire from south to north. An intrepid river, it has dug nearly 100 km of majestic gorges with basalt cliffs, with the first castles of the Loire as sentinels. Let's go for an unforgettable road trip to discover the wild Loire.

Day 1: Arlempdes to Chamalières-sur-Loire

From Le Puy-en-Velay, by the RN88 in the direction of Aubenas/Mende (south). In Costaros, turn left on the D49 to reach the village ofArlempdes. En route, you will enjoy the vast viewpoints offered by the Devès plateau, the largest volcanic plateau in France, famous for the cultivation of the green Le Puy lentil.


Arlempdes and the first castle of the Loire

Arlempdes and the first castle of the Loire

Arlempdes is a picturesque little village dominated by the remains of the first castle on the banks of the Loire. In summer, impossible to resist swimming on one of the fine sandy beaches by the river

Towards Goudet and the ruins of the feudal castle of Beaufort

Then leave Arlempdes in the direction of Goudet (D54 then D49). Before reaching this village, the ruins of the feudal castle of Beaufort stand before you. A strategic position that allowed the Vellavian lords to control the entire valley and the inhabitants to successfully resist the troops of Henry IV.


Lavoûte-sur-Loire and its castle on the Loire, stronghold of the Polignac family

Then, continue your journey to Lavoûte-sur-Loire and the Lavoute-Polignac castle, its silhouette worthy of the castles of the Loire Valley and its surrounding nature, wild and peaceful. A pleasure chateau with a Renaissance period garden and an important collection of paintings, works of art and even archives that trace the entire history of France

Up to Vorey-sur-Arzon on the road to the Loire gorges

From Lavoûte-sur-Loire, continue to Vorey-sur-Arzon on the road to the Gorges de la Loire (D103). You are in the heart of the Emblavez which means “wheat land”. The variety of landscapes there is amazing. The juices of the Emblavez, like its Yssingelais cousins, are surprising geological growths in the shape of a dome, unique in Europe, which appeared 14 million years ago. They provide natural materials such as the slates which adorn the roofs of the territory's traditional habitats.

Canoeing, an activity not to be missed in the Loire gorges.

Embark at Vorey for a descent of 6 to 15 km or choose to discover the gorges further downstream by renting a canoe towards Retournac or Bas-en-Basset. Know that in the summer, the descent of the Loire is very accessible. Think of Reserve.

Day 2 : from Chamalières-sur-Loire to Pont-Salomon




From Vorey, continue until Chamalières-sur-Loire via the Gorges de la Loire road (D103). Because Chamalières-sur-Loire and its priory church from the XNUMXth century turns out to be a jewel of Romanesque art

Retournac and its castle

Le Artias Castle overlooks the meanders of the Loire. The remains of this medieval castle and its chapel (XNUMXth century) are accompanied by a botanical garden and medicinal plants. In the village of Retournac, take a break at the Museum of Lace Manufactures, where you will appreciate the contemporary and interactive museography of the places

On the Route des Sucs towards Aurec plage

Leave Retournac by the D9 (away from the Loire). After 2 km, continue on the D46 (in the direction of Monistrol). It then turns into D42. At the end of the latter, take the D12 in the direction of Bas-en-Basset and follow the indications " Rochebaron Castle ". On the road, pretty viewpoints await you on the Yssingelais juices, these strange rounded volcanic shapes

Lunch break around Aurec-sur-Loire

Aurec beach

Labeled Breathing area, Aurec beach, it is the possibility of enjoying multiple outdoor activities:

  • Supervised swimming in summer
  • Canoe kayak and pedalo
  • Fishing
  • Mini acrobatic course, archery, mini golf
  • Hiking, circuits and mountain bike rental
  • Playground for children, trampoline, volleyball, table tennis

The trip is over, it's time to go home!

To return to Puy-en-Velay (60 km, 50 min), take the D45 to re-enter the N88 at Pont-Salomon.

To head back towards Saint Etienne (20 km, 25 min), Lyon (80 km, 1h05), take the D108 towards Unieux, then, before Unieux, take the D3 to join the N88. To join Clermont-Ferrand (160 km, 1h45), take the D108 towards Unieux, cross Unieux (D25), then take the D3 towards Roche-la-Molière. After this, take the D201 to join the A72. Welcome back and see you soon in Haute-Loire and the Gorges de la Loire.

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