Set high up on the edge of a forest in the Parc Livradois Forez, the south-facing property stands at the front of a small hamlet with impressive views across towards the mountains of Cantal in the south and the ski resorts of Super Besse and Mont Dore to the east. It feels as though you're on the top of the world!
Star gazing is particularly good when the sun goes down, given the pure air and no light pollution. The house is one of only five in the village and behind the village goes directly into untouched countryside and forest, with fabulous walks directly from the hamlet itself. The village has a water trough (natural springs) and its own lavoir (washroom). The house itself has 5 bedrooms with flexible accommodation to meet the needs of larger groups (three bedrooms on the top floor, two doubles on the first, 2 living rooms on the ground and first floor, 2 bathrooms and a cloakroom. The top floor rooms are actually quite large with space for more beds if needed. There is also an upstairs games area on the third floor with pool and darts, a table tennis table in the first barn, a home-designed climbing wall in the hanger and various outside and indoor games. You will never be bored in this house!
There is central heating as well as a large stove in the downstairs dining area, so it can be used all year round - for skiing in winter, seeing the daffodils in spring (untouched land) or as a wonderful retreat in summer. As the house stands at just under 1000 metres, the days can be hot in summer but the evenings are cooler – perfect for sitting outside on the patio. Just a short walk away you can get a view over the whole of the Puy-de-Dome area.
Things to do in the region include freshwater swimming and boating on nearby lakes, canoeing on the Allier, and enjoying the high mountains and famous cycling routes of the Sancy range with mountain biking tracks starting from behind the house. Horse trekking in the forest is a great option for kids with the riding centre a short distance away. The ski resorts of Super Besse and Mont Dore are just an hour away. The city of Clermont Ferrand has its own attractions with its historic centre, Puy de Dome with its spectacular views and the nearby Parc des Volcans theme park.
There are hundreds of kilometres of tracks and paths to explore both on bike and on foot, while for those seeking more leisurely pursuits the area offers fishing in the rivers, a range of options to see how traditional farming operates now and in the past and many historic villages such as Montperoux and Usson. For those who like their food there is something for every palate, whether it is St Nectaire, Bleu d'Auvergne or Cantal cheese, Auvergne ham, Charolais beef from Salers or the local myrtilles (bilberries) and mushrooms from the surrounding forest which we collect. Local restaurants serve all the above along with the iconic dishes of the region such as Truffade and Potee Auvergnate. There is an English-run restaurant just 15 minutes away. The nearest shop is 10 minutes away but there are delivery vans that visit most days of the week with fresh produce (everything from baguettes to fruit and vegetables). The larger supermarkets are in Cunlhat (15 minutes), Sauxillanges (20 minutes) Ambert (25 minutes on a beautiful road with stunning views) or Issoire (30 minutes down at the foot of the valley). Both Ambert and Issoire are historic towns with great markets. Ambert is a centre for cross country skiing and has a tourist train which takes you down the valley to Chaise Dieu with its Benedictine abbey. Issoire with its Romanesque church has lots of craft and artisan food shops to potter around and the central square is the place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a leisurely lunch.
The house has plenty of space for everyone to enjoy themselves. You can play pool on the top floor while others are relaxing playing games in the upstairs living room or sitting on the comfy sofas and Indonesian traditional wooden bench with silk covers downstairs. There is a large oval chateau dining table, so plenty of room to gather round while putting another log on the stove under the large fireplace. In summer, you may be playing badminton or relaxing on the patio under a sun umbrella. We normally eat outdoors - even breakfast! There are traditional wooden cupboards in the rooms on the first and ground floors - dating from when this traditional farmhouse was built in 1876 - plus Indonesian wooden chests of drawers and Brazilian paintings. On the practical front, the house is fully equipped with a washing machine, dryer and dishwasher. There is a utility room downstairs next to the kitchen, with plenty of room to dry off ski kit. The downstairs bathroom has a separate shower.