Home to a Romanesque basilica, an historic town full of charm and culture and a river running with fish and fun, Brioude is well worth a visit.
Brioude (population 8,000) is nestled in the Haute-Loire department in the southern part of the Auvergne region, on the banks of the Allier river. Pilgrims along the road to St Jacques de Compostelle found Brioude a welcome respite. The town still exudes a calm and unhurried charm. No wonder it is still called “Broude La Douce” or “Sweet Brioude”. Brioude was not always such a peaceful setting; it was besieged and captured by the Goths in 532, and later the Burgundians, the Saracens and the Normans. For a thousand years, Brioude was home to an order of canons or knights sworn to protect and defend the remains of St Julien, the area’s patron.
What is there to see and do in Brioude ?
The Basilica of St. Julien, the largest Romanesque church in the Auvergne region, is indisputably the town’s central attraction, and has been since the 11th and 12 centuries when it was erected. In fact, the ground on which it stands has been sacred since the 4th century when the original church stood on this spot. The beautiful and impressive structure that survives today boasts colorful frescoes, ornate capitals, its original wood-and-leather doors and intricately patterned paved floors. The medieval Dean’s Residence (Hotel du Doyen) that once housed church staff is now home to Brioude’s tourist office. In the great room on the first floor, visitors can find a spectacular painted ceiling dating back to the 13 th century. It’s a veritable catalog of heraldic emblems with over 400 crests of 156 different types of design—some geometric, others showing plants or animals real and imaginary. The building will soon host a permanent exhibit on the history of Brioude and of the Hotel du Doyen and its famous ceiling. The 15th c. Maison de Mandrin with its half-timbered façade and rotating art exhibit is also worth a visit, as is the Musee de la Dentelle, a paean to lacemaking, a local handicraft. Information plates, displayed around the quaint historical center, point out Brioude’s main historical sites. For sporting types, Brioude offers many varied leisure activities, from walking and cycling trails to horseback riding, dirt biking and fishing. 24 types of fish can be caught in the area’s rivers, including salmon, which were once so prevalent that Brioude was nicknamed “the Salmon Capital”. The town now hosts the Maison du Saumon a de la Rivière, the only salmon aquarium in Europe. Nature lovers can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, camping and swimming along the beautiful, pristine Allier river. Further afield, discover the lovely villages around Brioude, such as Lamothe, a medieval village complete with a castle, and Lavadieu, dubbed “one of the most beautiful villages in France”
The Tourist Office of Brioude is your starting point for exploring all the history and natural charm this ancient town and the Auvergne region has to offer. Here you’ll find all the information you’ll need on the history and culture of Brioude and the Auvergne, as well as recommendations on local hotels and restaurants, B&Bs and farmhouses where you’ll be able to savor all the local flavors and hospitality. You’ll also learn the best local providers of sporting experiences like horseback riding, fishing and dirt-biking. Visitors can find out here about unique cultural events, handicraft fairs and art exhibitions in the area, and activites for the whole family. Whether your tastes run to history, architecture or the great outdoors, little “Brioude la douce” is a sweet place to visit. And the Tourist Office of Brioude has everything you need to make your stop a memorable and enjoyable one.
- Brioude Accommodations and Dining
- Sports and Leisure in Brioude
- Brioude’s Cultural Heritage
- Family Fun in Brioude
- Arts and Crafts in Brioude
- What’s on Right Now in Brioude
Tourist office of Brioude and its region
Le Doyenné, place Lafayette
Tel. : + 33 (0)126.96.36.199.49
Fax : +33 (0)188.8.131.52.87
Email : [email protected]
Web : http://en.ot-brioude.fr