Photo above: the hamlet of
relaxation, natural heritage area, plenty to see close by
comfortable three-bedroom gîte in a hamlet in one of the most
undiscovered parts of France. Open
from late April to
Lou Coucaye is taking bookings for
The best of all worlds :
An ancient (and now re-developing) wine-growing area, the Haut Allier
is the sunniest and
driest valley in the Massif Central. The area round Chazieux
Natura 2000 wildlife conservation area and also a listed "art and
history area" on account of its many historic monuments.
In the hamlet of Chazieux,
is just one among many assets. As well its magnificent and
environment, the area round Lou Coucaye is one of
France's original 41 officially designated Art and heritage areas,
thanks to its rich heritage of mediaeval
castles, churches, and unspoilt villages. In addition, the area offers
a wealth of opportunities for outdoor pursuits,
river swimming and biking, kayaking
Art . The
of Brioude, 15 minutes drive away, is
one of the most interesting small towns in France. It has a mediaeval
basilica with unique
frescoes and mosaics (and 3 stars in the Michelin guide)
and plenty of
art and craft shops; from June to October 2023 the Brioude
Contemporary arts centre
will be home to major art exhibition
(to be announced), following acclaimed exhibitions featuring Picasso (2022), de Stael (2021), Miro (2020) and Chagall (2018). In July, Brioude will celebrate the 10th International Watercolour Biennial, one of Europe's leading watercolour events.
Allier probably has a richer summer classical music programme than any
other part of rural France.
Over July and August, there is a choice of up to 40 concerts
in historic churches and other locations - from full
concerts to piano recitals, smaller ensembles duos and choral concerts.
Check out the programme
There is so much to see and explore in the area around
Among popular excursions are a choice of three tourist trains in the
Haute Loire, the funicular to the top of Puy de Dome, the Auvergne
volcanoes (they are not active!), and many castles and historic
Hiking and mountain-biking Explore the area on foot or on mountain-bike, with marked trails directly from the village.
Lavoûte C.hilhac, officially designated as one of the "most
beautiful villages in France" is 6km on foot or by bike, 12 by road
km from Lou Coucaye, Brioude,
the local market town, is one of the most
attractive small towns in France, with a weekly market and some
excellent restaurants.... Yet being off the busy tourist
trail, it has kept its character, unlike many of the more famous small
towns in France, which are now just tourist traps. Its 12th century St
Julien's basilica was recently awarded a Michelin three-star rating,
the top rating in the famous "Green guides" scale.
"Brivadois" is one of the drier parts of France, with
2200 hours of sunshine
a year, and is also an area where there is
to do even on a rainy day.
As well as the
beautiful natural environment, in July and August,
is an extensive programme of evening concerts in the
and chapels of the Haut Allier - many with top class performers.
tastefully restored farm cottage gîte is in a small and
friendly hamlet in the rural area of Saint Ilpize,
the heart Auvergne's beautiful Haut-Allier
valley, 90 km. south of Clermont Ferrand. The stone-built
has been carefully and attractively restored. The hillside
behind (starting just behind the house) (map
is a class 1 nature reserve (ZNIEFF type 1 - French
equivalent of a class 1 SSSI) . The area is a haven for nature lovers,
with its wealth of wildlife - birds, mammals and plants - including
eagles, deer and even small wild prickly-pear cacti. And the valley
still has some of the old terraced vineyards that made it famous in
past centuries. A short walk from the village is a small heritage
vineyard, conserving many old varieties of vine, and just beyond it the
impressive mediaeval castle of St. Ilpize.
Chazieux is at the end of the road, and there is hardly any vehicle
traffic in the village. The only
traffic jams occur when the road is taken up by a flock of sheep.
Guests at Lou Coucaye are welcomed with fresh flowers and maybe also
fresh vegetables from the
garden. Click for panorama
of the village
(high resolution jpg photo)
a spacious living area with dining table for six, and comfortable
chairs, under a beamed ceiling. The two windows look out over the
valley, with views
down to the river and up to the hilltops opposite. There is a
semi-enclosed kitchen area with gas cooker, fridge-freezer, microwave,
washing machine and cupboards.
is also a
wash-basin, and a cloakroom under the stairs.
The front door gives onto a large stone paved terrace, with chairs and
a table for al fresco dining, with views over the valley and up the
This area tends to become the main living space for visitors
during the summer months. Throughout the summer, it offers sunshine and
shade. There is adequate shade in the heat of the day, but
Stone paved patio with sunshine and shade
La terrasse en dalles de
pierre, avec soleil et ombre
terrace, facing west, catches the early evening
contains the main bedroom
rugs): one double bed, built in wardrobe; the window looks out over the
valley. The adjoining bathroom has a full-size bath with shower, plus
second toilet and washbasin.
The second floor
has two bedrooms, one with a double bed, the other, under a sloping
wood panelled ceiling, with two single beds. The double-
bedded room has
windows facing up and down the valley; the single bedded-room, has a
secured floor-level window with views down to the river, and a
skylight. This room, with its selection of toys and games, is
children, but suitable for adults too. Both second-floor rooms have
carpets. All bedrooms have curtains, not shutters.
Further details :
Lou Coucaye is the white house, centre left
Lou Coucaye est la
maison blanche, centre gauche
Broadband Internet access (Wifi and ethernet
connections) , DVD/CD player and LCD
monitor. (Some DVDs can be borrowed)
Books in English and French, books about the
Toys, books and games for children,
There is generally mobile phone reception in the gite, or (for some
phones) outside. .....
The river is popular for fishing (fly or coarse fishing) kayaking and
swimming, and the area
abounds in historic monuments....
And of course, it is also a wonderful spot for those who just want to
► ► ►
Besucher vor uns haben wir uns in Chazieux sehr wohl
gefühlt! Besonders haben wir die Ruhe genossen. Es
erstes Urlaub in der Auvergne, a ber bestimmt nicht unser letztes.
Vielen Dank für Eure Gastfreundschaft ! (Like
all your visitors, we really enjoyed our time. We particularly
appreciated the peace and quiet. It was our first trip to Auvergne, but
surely not our last one. Thanks for your friendly welcome ! )"
& Jochen, Darmstadt, Germany
"We marvelled at the vallée, the villages and
did the butterfly walk, saw chateaux, abbayes, puys,
églises, and still
found time to play tennis. And above all we met
people wherever we went, or if we just stayed put. Thanks Andrew
Ginny for your warm hospitality and advice. Lots to do when we come
Bruce & Jenny, Sydney, Australia
"Two black kites showed us the way from Saint Ilpize, a
fitting beginning for two weeks full of birds, butterflies, plants, and
above all sunshine. We all love it very much here. Chazieux is an ideal
place if you want to spend some time in a quiet place with incredible
Sandra, Rinke and family, Newcastle, England
troisième année consecutive, nous voici en
Chazieux. C'est avec un très grand plaisir que nous avons
gîte, sa terrasse, et son paysage splendide, la baignade et
dans l'Allier. Nous reviendrons ...
(For the third year in a row, here we are again on holiday in
Chazieux. We're delighted to be back in the gite, with its terrace and
splendid countryside, the swimming and the fishing in the river.
We'll be back again..... ) ."
Famille George, Lyon, France
"Wonderful week at Lou Coucaye – think we only
surface of things to see and do, but we did manage Puy Mary as well as
the train trip down the Allier gorge, well worth
back very relaxed !
& Mary, Worcestershire, England
"What luck for us to discover this unspoilt corner of
Coming in Spring, we must have witnessed one of the most beautiful
times in the valley; magical greens of the beeches and birches on the
hillsides, the wonderful meadows of grasses, cowslips, orchids, even
narcissi, flowers of the wayside, broom in bloom, and the sound of
birdsong... We heard hoopoes, nightingales, bonelli's warbler, and saw
kites, short-toed eagle, harriers and honey-buzzard. The
been a delight, and the weather always dry...."
Jeffrey & Mary, Surrey, England
"A very special holiday has been enjoyed by us
Children loved the beach and searching for wildlife along the river. We
have seen eagles, deer, kites, hoopoes, lizards, red squirrels, and
much more. A nature-lover's paradise. Fantastic walking and
breathtaking views. The gite is comfortable and clean... and we hope to
Surrey, England -
seen enough and enjoyed
the special beauty of this part of France to know that we want to come
back; and we have appreciatd the warm hospitality, the cosy comfort and
so many other aspects of this gite and hamlet."
Mary & Norm,
Kalamazoo, Michigan USA -
"Spent a very
pleasant relaxing week
the views and the surrounding area. The gite was comfortable and well
equipped, with a spectacular view. Thankyou very much"
& Dave, Yorkshire,
relaxing week; we especially enjoyed walks around the gite, down by the
river and around the hills. the gite was very comfortable and ha
everything we neded; the barbeque was well used."
The Dales family, Essex England
"We've had a lovely
Chazieux. What a beautiful part of the world this is! We've seen
beautiful sights, and
we feel rested! We walked to St. Ilpize every day, and we loved the
river route back. Thanks so much for your generous hospitality and your
Sheila & Jeremy,
"We enjoyed our two
weeks' stay at wonderful Lou Coucaye. The view from the gite was
breathtaking, and every day was a joy to behold. We will always
remember the friendly people, the region, the gorgeous food and of
course the excellent wine. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Thank you!"
& S . Staffordshire , England
really had a lovely time at Lou Coucaye. It was a
really regenerative holiday. We
also much appreciated the fact that the house was so clean and also
equipped. We have stayed at many cottages both in France and England
some have been neither clean nor well equipped! It was a
S.W. Yorkshire, England.
to say how much we enjoyed
our week in your gite from
13 to 20 September. We were lucky because the weather was perfect with
a cloud in the sky all day every day, and starlit nights. Apart from a
visit to Puy Dome, and necessary shopping, we hardly used the car at
enjoying the peaceful and beauutiful surroundings."
are now back in Sweden, after a very good
time in your Gite. We felt very well, all the time. Oh yes, at day
arrival, the skies opened and we got some centimeter of rain,
only that day, the rest was very fine. We saw Le Puy, Thiers, Clermont
Cantal and of course the nearest surroundings. Thank you very much for
a nice time."
"We are back from our glorious
honeymoon in Chazieux
and we wanted to thank you so very much for an absolutely delightful
to spend our first days of marriage. We took great care of
place and I hope that you have found it in great shape after our use.
found the information on the bookshelf very helpful and we were able to
travel around quite a bit.. The kind lady and
live in the grey house at the centre of Chazieux recommended some great
day excursions so we were able to see Brioude, Lavoute Chilliac, Ally,
de Margeride, Viaduct du Garabit, Murat, We drove as far as we could
to Puy Mary but the road was shut because of (May) snow but
made it pretty
high. We visited Le Puy en Velay. We did spend a lot of time,
just enjoying the gite and the surroundings of Chazieux.. The
flowers were beautiful and the weather was great. It is a
of heaven and we really hope to return some day - sooner rather than
"May 2006 -
a wonderful relaxing
two weeks. Everything we needed was here, and the location is
fantastic. One of our best holidays....... We will definitely be back".
J & C ,