Enjoying your stay in Velay also means discovering the most beautiful villages in France and the small towns of character a few kilometers from Puy-en-Velay. According to your desires, go and meet these labeled gems which will surprise you with their heritage and their charm!


Polignac is located just 5 minutes from Puy-en-Velay! Perched on its volcanic promontory which serves as a pedestal, the imposing fortress of Polignac watches over the village and offers a 360° panorama of the Velay mountains and the Meygal and Mézenc massifs.

In our volcanic territory of Velay, Polignac was born under the waters of a lake covering the surrounding area more than 2,5 million years ago. Numerous explosions attenuated by the large quantity of water thus created the relief and in particular this basaltic dike on which the fortress was built.

This, like a large part of the buildings of Polignac and its numerous hamlets, was designed from this lava stone formerly quarried on the outskirts of the village. Originally from the 11th century, the Saint-Martin church constitutes another example of construction made from volcanic breccias. As if echoing its history, the geological origins of Polignac give the village both power and elegance.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 6km
  • Between 5 to 10 minutes



Dominating the Haut Allier valley, on the Régordane route linking Auvergne to Languedoc, Pradelles was an important stopover for merchants importing foodstuffs from the South as well as for pilgrims en route to Saint-Gilles and coming from Puy-en-Velay .

Witnesses of this prosperous era, the noble residences with stone walls and arcades, whose high facades stand against the Cévennes squalls, have seen generations of travelers, sometimes famous, like the Scottish writer Robert Louis. Stevenson who gave his name to this route which became the GR 70.

The ancient fortified city of Pradelles, with its medieval streets lined with houses built over the centuries, offers you a spectacular view of the entire Haut-Allier valley. Don't miss the Saint-Pierre church and visit the Notre-Dame de Pradelles chapel.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 34km
  • Around 35 minutes via the RN88



Arlempdes is a picturesque village dominated by one of the first castles on the banks of the Loire. The remains of the medieval fortress appear as a veritable sentinel of the river gorges.

On arrival in Arlempdes, the visitor is immediately charmed by the spectacular view which presents itself to his eyes at the bend of a bend: this typical little village with stone houses is perched on a volcanic peak surrounded by a meander of the Loire.

Surrounded by basalt flows, this postcard-like village with its timeless charm is a real gem of the Loire gorges. On the heights of the village, at the top of the rocky spur, we discover, after taking a path, the remains of the castle built in the Middle Ages by the lords of Montlaur, which still offer a very beautiful panorama of the landscape today. wild surroundings.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 27km
  • Around 30 minutes via the RN88



The village of Lavaudieu (the valley of God) is an obligatory detour for history lovers. The village offers many curiosities to see that will satisfy the whole family. Between cobbled streets, winegrowers' houses and agricultural tools from yesteryear, Lavaudieu immerses its visitors in another era!

Built on the banks of the Senouire, Lavaudie is built around an old Benedictine abbey founded by Robert de Turlande in 1057. Saint Robert decided to establish a Benedictine monastery in Lavaudieu because the site combines mild climate and relative proximity to the mother abbey. Nuns lived in this monastery until the revolution. A remarkable abbey complex remains: a Romanesque cloister – the only one in Auvergne to have escaped destruction – Inside the cloister stands a magnificent monumental fresco of Byzantine influence.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 53km
  • Around 50 minutes via the N102



Located in the heart of the Allagnon valley, on the borders of Haute-Loire and Cantal, Blesle, a unique village with its half-timbered houses, is the delight of experienced lovers of “old stones”. It is to its Benedictine abbey created in the 9th century that Blesle owes its existence and its development. If all that remains of the fortress built by the barons of Mercoeur is a keep, towers and surrounding wall, half-timbered houses and carved doors still bear witness to the village's medieval past.

The history of the village of Blesle begins in the 9th century with the founding of its Benedictine monastery. In the 14th century, the increase in the population was such that the abbess decided to build a second church, called Saint-Martin and reserved for the people. An entire hardworking population ensured the life of the city. A craftsmanship of the highest value was grafted onto the important rural fabric, favoring the growth of liberal activities.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 80km
  • Around 1 hour and 20 minutes via the N102



Lavoûte-Chilhac takes its name from the Latin volta, the loop", a reference to the winding course of the Allier in which the village is enclosed, which we also find in the first mentions of the place.

It is around a Cluniac priory that the village will develop, adapting to the requirements of the site, made up of a rocky cirque and the Allier river forming an almost perfect loop and a narrow isthmus. Today, nothing remains of the old priory founded by Odilon de Mercoeur, modified several times until the revolution. Most of the visible buildings date from the end of the 18th century.

In Lavoûte-Chilhac, nature dictates its rights! This is how the village has completely adapted to the tumultuous character of the Allier which runs through this region in wild gorges. It is thus organized into two districts. That of Barrys, where the priory is located, is the oldest in the village and is characterized by its traboules which allowed the inhabitants to reach the river or to go quickly from one street to another. On the opposite bank, leaning against the rock, 19th century houses are lined up, the impressive height of their facades suggesting the impetuous movements of the Allier.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 50km
  • Around 50 minutes via the N102


The Velay territory also has its Small towns of character who reveal their charms to visitors. In the Puy-en-Velay area, Allègre and Saint-Paulien hold this label.


A picturesque town with two volcanoes, gateway to the Livradois Forez Regional Natural Park, Allègre is an ancient feudal town from the 12th century built around a castle whose remains today give the summit its Stem.

The oldest houses of the village are staged on the slopes of Mont Baury facing the imposing volcano of Mont Bar whose beech forest, crater and peat bog are unique in Europe.

The city can be discovered through its charreyrons, narrow streets once used by water carriers. A tour guide made up of 2 circuits takes the walker to the foot of the imposing Porte de Monsieur then to the splendid Place du Marchédial with its 6 mansions.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 28km
  • About 30 minutes



From La Chaise-Dieu, you cross Velay, of which Saint-Paulien was the capital 2.000 years ago. The Ruessian city highlights its past and its Gallo-Roman remains thanks to its unmissable collegiate church but also its historical museum.

Numerous woods and trails surround the village of Saint-Paulien. You will discover some of the most surprising fauna and flora there. For angling enthusiasts, the region offers numerous trout rivers.

Very close to Saint-Paulien, the Rochelambert castle hangs on a basalt cliff, remains of an ancient volcano. It houses an exceptional collection of Romanesque and Gothic sculptures.

Distance from Puy-en-Velay

  • 15km
  • About 18 minutes


Was this content useful to you?