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The Massif Central, that mountainous core of France's vast heartland, still remains relatively unknown to the average tourist. Visitors often return with tales of ancient cities, lovely valleys, and of a provincial cuisine that makes one dream of going back to savor the delicacies. The Massif Central is the most unspoiled and untainted part of France — your chance to see and be part of a life all too quickly fading. From the spa waters of Vichy to the volcanic puys of Auvergne, there is much to interest the visitor, and much to learn of the art of good living. The ancient capital of the Auvergne is Clermont-Ferrand, an old "double ...

The Massif Central, that mountainous core of France's vast heartland, still remains relatively unknown to the average tourist. Visitors often return with tales of ancient cities, lovely valleys, and of a provincial cuisine that makes one dream of going back to savor the delicacies. The Massif Central is the most unspoiled and untainted part of France — your chance to see and be part of a life all too quickly fading. From the spa waters of Vichy to the volcanic puys of Auvergne, there is much to interest the visitor, and much to learn of the art of good living. The ancient capital of the Auvergne is Clermont-Ferrand, an old "double city" that has witnessed a long parade of history. On the Tiretaine River, it lies 112 miles (180 km) west of Lyon and was created in 1731 by the merger of two towns, Clermont and Montferrand. In the distance is one of the great attractions of Central France, Puy-de-Dome (you'll definitely want to take an excursion to this volcanic mountain).

Danforth Prince
About the Expert

Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince have written many guidebooks for Frommer's, including Frommer's France and Frommer's Germany.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Elevated region in south-central France, separated by Alps and Rhone River, consisting of mountains and plateaus.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring, summer, early fall