La Chaise Dieu
(A Half-Day Excursion)
A few kilometres south of the village, on a forested plateau is the town of La Chaise Dieu. In the 11th Century, Robert d'Aurilac studied at Brioude near the basilica of St-Julien, at a school open to the nobility of Auvergne. Having entered their community, and being ordained priest, Robert distinguished himself by his piety, charity, apostolic zeal, eloquent discourses, and the gift of miracles.
For about forty years he practised at Cluny in order to live under the rule of his compatriot saint, Abb Odilo, until ordered back to Brioude where he started anew for Rome. He needed to consult the pope on a new project that he was hoping to begin. Pope Benedict IX encouraged him to retire with two companions to the wooded plateau south-east of Auvergne. Here he built a hermitage under the name of Chaise-Dieu (Casa Dei).
The renown of his virtues having brought him numerous disciples, he was obliged to build a monastery, which he placed under the rule of Saint Benedict (1050). Pope Leo IX sanctioned the building of the Abbey of Chaise-Dieu, which became one of the most flourishing in Christendom. At the time of Robert's death there numbered 300 monks and had sent multitudes throughout the centre of France. Robert also founded a community of women at Lavadieu near Brioude.
Through the elevation of Pierre Roger, monk of Chaise-Dieu, to the sovereign pontificate, under the name of
Clement VI, the abbey reached the height of its glory. The body of Saint Robert, preserved therein, was burned
by the Huguenots during the religious wars. His work was destroyed by the French Revolution, but there remain
for the admiration of tourists, the vast church, cloister, tomb of Clement VI, and Clementine Tower. The feast-day
of St. Robert is 24 April.
Because of the nature of the terrain, hang-gliding and paragliding clubs have been formed in the region. As long as we know in advance, we can arrange for a day excursion to participate in this unusual and exhilarating sport. Lessons are available for the novice. However it must be pointed out that this sport very much depends on prevailing weather conditions, so might not always be available. P.O.A. Summer only.
The countryside surrounding the Linux Coaching Organisation offers some spectacular scenery. Travelling around the almost traffic-free roads, through dense woodlands, along mountain gorges and through sleepy villages is quite possibly one of the most popular outdoor activities.
Stimulating the muscles and breathing deeply of the fresh mountain air, both clears the lungs and puts a bloom back onto the face of the desk-bound city worker.
Bicycles are available from the centre.
Travelling through the Auvergne countryside on horseback is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Horses, ponies and caleche with driver can be hired by the hour, by the half-day or full-day at reasonable prices and fairly short notice. Supervision for novices is available if required. P.O.A.
Le Puy en Velay
(Full Day Excursion)
Less than an hour's drive south from the LCO through the rolling hills of the Haute Loire lies the picturesque and historical city of Le Puy en Velay. One of the principal "Ville Sanctuaires" on a par with Chartres, Lourdes and Mont St Michel etc., this city of pilgrimage offers a wealth of spectacular attractions.
The Chapel of St Michel, completed in 962 AD, and perched atop its towering volcanic pillar, is a breathtaking sight and even more breathtaking climb.
The gigantic 22 meter tall, rose coloured statue "Notre Dame de France" atop its soaring pinnacle and dominating the city, weighs a massive 835 tons and was inaugurated in 1860 before 120,000 pilgrims.
The 11th century Cathedral, accessed by a grand staircase of 130 steps, houses a collection of frescos, rare manuscripts, religious statuary and artifacts of importance.
The old city offers shops and galleries of arts and crafts. With elegant restaurants and sidewalk cafes where you can sit and enjoy a coffee or aperitif.
Cheese and Wine Tour
Known as the "Cheeseboard of France", the region is justifiably famous for five main cheeses - Bleu d'Auvergne, Saint-Nectaire, Fourme d'Ambert, Cantal and Salers. On this highly gastronomic tour, you'll visit farms, dairies and maturing cellars all of whom produce according to traditional methods, to discover the delights on offer.
Rich in aroma and character, the wines of Auvergne are perfect with any meal. Gamay, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Madargue, Chateaugay and many more are produced in the region.
St Alyre d'Arlanc lies on the scenic railway known as the Discovery Route.
During the months of July and August, journeys begin from the city of Ambert. Travel north on the historical steam locomotive along the Dore valley through to Olliergues, or choose the panoramic railcar to follow the gorges and viaducts of the Dorette south through the unique landscapes of the National Park via Arlanc, St Sauveur, La Chaise Dieu to Sembadel.
Prices and timetables to be announced
On wednesday morning at 9am during the summer season, residents of the village form a group for walking tours of the area. There is no charge, and everyone is welcome to join in. The walk starts from the square opposite the LCO and lasts 2-3 hours. Comfortable hiking boots are recommended.