Year 7

Year 8

Year 9













Brittany 2003


Montpeyroux  photos taken  August 2004



A75 & Millau


Cirque de Navacelles

Rhodes - Languedoc-Roussillon


Valley of the Tet and the Mediterranean


Year 9 work on Montpeyroux


ViaMichelin map of Montpeyroux


Montpeyroux is a village 20 kilometres south of Clermont Ferrand in the Puy de Dome region of the Massif Central. It was features in a programme from the BBC TV schools programmes series France 2000. The village's story, told by its mayor, Marcel Astruc, is one of revival after rural depopulation. The success of this village is partly due to its position, alongside the new A75 motorway, its tower that is clearly visible from that road, but mostly to the energy and strategy followed by successive mayors, to bring investment and enterprise to the village.



The village of Montpeyroux, believe it or not, is separated from the field of sunflowers by the A75 motorway!


The entrance to the village is  advertised, if not proclaimed, by a road sign, but also a pair of flags.


The distinctive beacon of the village tower, is visible from some distance and certainly from the A75.

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The A75 motorway can be seen to be just a few hundred metres away from the village.



Montpeyroux, and its donjon, or tower, as seen above the greenery from the car park.



The visitor is strongly advised to use the free car park and walk into the village, past a new and spacious visitor centre.

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Well-groomed verges and clear signage give an impression of orderliness and efficiency.



The distinctive roundabout gives visitors an opportunity to retrace their steps to the car park, by turning their car around!


Flowers by the roadside add to the attractiveness of the welcome.


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Quiet Sunday afternoon streets!


A homely corner keeps its traditional features, but also accommodates the car


The village area is well covered by perspex signs - informative and with style!

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One village service that appears to be a recent addition is this butchers' store .. and its stylish sign on the right!


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An striking outlook across the Auvergne countryside and a view of the puys.


A lowering sky and an impressive area of flat arable land.


Towards the south -  and a cobbled street leads to the lower levels of the village, which is distinctly tiered.

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The war memorial is well-kept.



Hotels take advantage of national promotional organisations.


Wall repairs near the war memorial, with a view towards the volcanic hills.

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In the historic heart of the village is the mayor's office, again with informative perspex signs ...


... one of which shows up to the left of the clock gateway (photographed three times!)



A delightful architectural gem , this stone carved passage, has survived well to become a fascinating village detail.

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A scene with an almost contrived intensity of attractiveness!


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The village tower, or donjon , is undergoing repairs, as seen by the scaffolding.


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A view of the lands to the south-east, through a garden of studied peacefulness and tranquility.


Another quiet, orderly and pristine lane near the tower.


The view over the valley of the River Allier towards the surrounding villages.

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With the donjon on the skyline, hanging and climbing vegetation on the stone walls .. and the corporate lilac shutters .. this scene is about as twee as it gets ...


The cafe was set in a charming space, with a generous allowance of flowers  and a tree for shade.



More lilac in a corner near to the cafe.



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The clock arch from both sides .. with the clock wrong on both sides ... it was mid-afternoon!






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The donjon, under repair, and the Astruc hotel on the left.



The mayor of Montpeyroux, Marcel Astruc, has a sign outside his hotel (marked on the village maps) that is pure style!


A side view of the Astruc hotel.


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One narrow and winding lane led to a cluster of unimproved buildings. As can be seen from these photographs, the potential of the structures would make an ideal project for any TV  makeover show!




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A quiet and tidy corner next to the church (not easy to photograph!).



On a Sunday afternoon I was fortunate to see any workmen in the village, let alone the carpenter!


Once I had explained what I was up to (mentioning the BBC and schools television), he obligingly resumed his work!

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This small area was the only area which had not yet received, or looked likely to receive, the gentrification treatment  that had made the rest of the village so attractive.  It lies just beyond the roundabout from the A75.


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The visitor centre has a number of models, of the tower, proposals for a dome in the quarry next to the visitors centre .. and the village as a whole.


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The map of the village, in perspex, gives good detail on where to find all features and services.


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Montpeyroux is located at 20 km in the south of Clermont-Ferrand, exit n°7 of A 75 (Clermont-Montpellier).


Information and guided tours:


About fifteen rooms of hosts 3 and 4 ears and one furnished with tourism are available all the year: list in town hall:



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postcards from Montpeyroux






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The picturesque village, perched along the road from Clermont-Ferrand to Languedoc, attracts the attention of the passer-by on his way along the Limagne plains. The tall 13th century keep, erected at the highest point of the village, stands out proudly against the surrounding landscape. The small streets winding around it closely follow the contour lines of the hill. The keep trace of the surrounding wall, of which only a gateway to the northwest and three small round towers are left.


For a long time Montpeyroux was a wine-grower and stonecutter village. The light-coloured sandstone from the quarries nearby was used for building the neighbouring houses as well as some of the major Romanesque churches of the area, such as Issoire abby church and Notre-Dame du Port in Clermont-Ferrand.  The village name itself is derived from this activity since Montpeyroux means 'hill of stones'.


In Montpeyroux, except for a few larger houses to the west, you can find many vine-grower dwelling houses with their outside flight of steps leading to the 'Ester'. The rural charm of this village also lies in the arched passageways, in the succession of overlapping red-tiled roofs and different buildings opening into terraced gardens.


In 1957, under the incitement of an architect and of the prefet of the time Montpeyroux, which had been partly deserted, started to be revived and be restored. Craftsmen and artists came and settled. The present renovated aspect of the village and its charming appeal to many visitors making it "ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF FRANCE" is due to the tenacious efforts of the inhabitants and the municipal Council.


The Country of the Dauphine d'Auvergne

On the hillsides, with exposure to the south, men have since ancient times built their castles, churches villages and orchards who the culture of wine is the most.


The hillside region of the Allier

The hillside region of the Allier lines the river with the same name. The villages of Orbeil, Saint-Yvoine and Montpeyroux directly overlook the river, whilst set back a little further, Fiat, Aulhat-Saint-Privat, Brenat and Usson are located on the edge of the Livradois-Forez National Nature Reserve.


Getting from one village to another is easy, as the region is criss-crossed by many paths which in the main are marked; some will even lead you to other side of the Allier, to the region of the Dauphine d'Auvergne, country of the Puys and Couze, where vast open spaces punctuated by valleys. plateaux and volcanic peaks await you.




Smart villages - (Puy-de-Dome)

Montpeyroux - the village phoenix


Genevieve Colonna d' Istria ... an automatic translation!

"We are a small beauty spot in the south of Clermont-Ferrand" the inhabitants of southernmost of the villages auvergnats are impressed of a legitimate pride. Because Montpeyroux - whose name "Mount stony" finds its origins as of XIe century - returns by far. Before becoming the preferred address of notable the clermontois, this hamlet of 340 hearts a long time remained the stronghold of the vine growers and arkose tailors, this white stone which made the reputation of the surroundings.

But the rural migration, the crisis of will phylloxéra and the two world wars failed well to be right of this nugget posed on its rocky outcrop. From 1846 to 1927, the population fell from 640 to 181 inhabitants. The medieval heart of the village threatened ruin. And, the top of its 30 meters, the keep trônant on its hillock in vain dominated an imposing landscape with kilometers with the round, nothing did not seem to be able to stop the decline of these masonries where the South pushed its horn.

Finally, Montpeyroux owes its rebirth with the one as of his, the Pérol architect. Under its impulse, a vast program of restoration is started in the Sixties to continue still today. Little by little, lanes and houses take again colours, find their aspect of antan. The pugnacity of the inhabitants and the successive municipal teams makes it possible to make reappear its ashes this site with the paces of phoenix.

"We do not want to become one énième village dormitory with a development as brutal as uncontrolled", warns the mayor, Marcel Astruc. And the inhabitants aspire only to "living in all peace". Artists even elected residence in some arched cellars.

Entered in 1989 the very restricted club of the "more beautiful villages of France", Montpeyroux makes from now on tourist figure of must along the axis Clermont-Montpellier. The keep and the door of the clock play the stars in the medium of the mazes of narrow alleys where flower of sumptuous residences to the bright stones of whiteness. One of them was inhabited besides by Jacqueline Roque, the last wife of Picasso. Inevitably a woman of taste