Vieille Brioude in Auvergne – A lovely All-Rounder among French Villages


Vieille-Brioude in Auvergne is a French village straight from your imagination. Its geographic location and thus the resulting scenery make it a must-visit when touring through the region. Come on board and discover what else is in store for this lovely all-rounder.

What to expect

1. About Vieille-Brioude in Auvergne

Located in the northern part of Auvergne’s Department of Haute-Loire in central France, Vieille-Brioude surprises with a bunch of beautiful aspects for an 1100 inhabitants’ village. Thanks to its topography, the diversity of gorgeous perspectives is almost non-matched for such a tiny place. Due to the fact of being situated next to the Route Nacional N102, linking Clermont-Ferrand with Le Puy en Velay, makes Vieille-Brioude a great stopover when touring in Haute Loire or Auvergne in general.

As I don’t want to spoil too much right at the beginning, the next chapter will prove the greatness of taking the exit from N102.

2. Overview of a lovely French Village situated in the Valley of L’Allier River

Do you remember those art classes when you analysed classic landscape paintings? Those landscapes which looked more French than a croissant? Well, here we are.

As soon as you leave the Route National, it’s going downhill. That feeling of discovering the unknown kicks in right there. You might have seen pictures or video clips before. But nothing beats the real thing. Thus, it only takes a few seconds to reduce the travel speed, just to get blown away.

2.1 Closer Look over the picturesque Valley

From that point, the overall view of Vieille-Brioude is nothing but picturesque. Typical and old houses with the mandatory belltower, crown this French old town. Due to the topography, walls from older ages show where the village protected itself. Furthermore, you get a glimpse of the L’Allier river at the valley’s bottom.

Focussing on the old arched bridge, which connects both sides of the valley, opens up totally different views. Astonishingly, the hilly landscape behind Vieille-Brioude is aesthetically curvy. This is definitely a place where you could hike around endlessly.

But first, let’s approach the old bridge for new perspectives.

3. Standing on the old Bridge Pont de Vieille-Brioude

Approaching the village’s river crossing gateway, Le Pont de Vieille-Brioude leads to wonderfully new insights. Therefore, the bridge has several observation coves. Nevertheless, by paying close attention to the pavement, you notice a lovely mosaic-like structure on the pedestrian side. Right afterward, by refocussing on the environment, your jaw might drop again.

3.1 The marvellous View over River L’Allier to the North

Now, it’s time for L’Allier to shine. Standing on the northern side of the bridge enables a marvellous view over the river and its banks. Depending on your position, you might also spot the small island. However, the overall view combined with the hillside is the real gem. Especially, when the river’s surface creates a mirroring effect.

So, what about the bridge’s southern side?

3.2 Looking to the fantastic southern Side

Luckily, the opposing side unleashes additional perspectives par excellence. Here, the hill flattens gradually towards the river plain. This has a great effect on the arrangements of the houses. So far, there’ve already been plenty of amazing photo motifs. But having a glimpse of the gorgeously arched bridge and the inhabited flatten hill on the same capture is beyond a lucky strike. Moreover, the L’Allier river and its environment seem to become a French version of the Amazon.

Now, it’s time to jump towards the village itself.

4. Amid the French Village of Vieille-Brioude in Auvergne

Being finally amid Vieille-Brioude doesn’t disappoint. While the grand spectacle stopped, smaller details are standing out now.

4.1 Lovely French Houses with colourful Highlights

Although the village is pretty small, the highlights are numerous instead. Almost every house or building has colourful gimmicks standing out. From blue window shutters to red doors, Vieille-Brioude impresses with contrasts and more.

4.2 From stony to colourful plastered Facades

In lieu of attracting attention only by painted doors and stuff, the facades themselves are already worth looking at. Sometimes heavily stony facades seek your admiration. Other times, colourful plastered ones are more compelling. It’s the immense variation in design that makes Vieille-Brioude magnificent. Still, praise also goes to anyone decorating their house fronts with any sort of flowers and plantings. All that makes this tiny village so alive.

4.3 Église Saint-Anne – The Village’s Church

Last but not least, there is still that lovely small church, which could be spotted either from the bridge and the valley’s hillside. Getting close to it is definitely worth it. Here the stony motif continues beautifully. Surprisingly, the facade design changes with the main building of the church. Hence, it creates not only a nice contrast but adds another variation in style.

And if this isn’t enough, have a close look at the church. Can you notice the two grapevines at the bell tower’s bottom? Well, this is what I call great incorporation of the overall environment. That’s what Vieille-Brioude is: a lot of nature and a small but lovely French village.

5. When to visit

I highly recommend visiting Vieille-Brioude during this time period:

  • End of April until End of October

When I visited it during August, the valleys and vegetation were still verdant. Nevertheless, the autumn season must look interesting as well.

6. How to reach Vieille-Brioude in Auvergne

Forget about public transport in this area. To explore Vieille-Brioude properly you need to go by car, motorbike, or a similar vehicle. Due to its close location to Route National N102, the village and its natural surrounding are easily approachable.

Please don’t hesitate using the embedded map below for the best navigation possible.

7. Conclusion

Vieille-Brioude in Auvergne is a great stop for a grand tour through the region. Thanks to its topographic location, it’s more than just a nice-looking village in France. Especially, its picturesque perspectives of the L’Allier valley make this an unforgettable journey. Plus, there are a bunch of possibilities to hike, in case you’re interested.



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