This charming medieval village is a meat and cheese paradise – Paris ZigZag

This charming medieval village is a meat and cheese paradise – Paris ZigZag
This charming medieval village is a meat and cheese paradise – Paris ZigZag

Just like many regions, Cantal owes a lot to tourism, which allows it to attract thousands of curious people each year. Born in the middle of the 19th century, with the rise of the railway, tourism in Cantal is a subject that we do not joke with, as the program is so dizzying. Regional park of volcanoes, thermal springs, ski resorts and of course certified villages are all little treasures to explore from top to bottom…

A rich collection of historic houses to discover

Just like many villages across France, the village of Salers immediately impresses with its ability to take us back in time. Houses with turrets, belfries, ramparts… the jump in time to the Middle Ages and then to the Renaissance period could not be more effective. A merchant town then a town of nobles, the past grandeur of Salers is felt in its architecture, reflection of the 14th to the 18th century, mainly dating from the time of the Bailiwick of the Hautes Montagnes d’Auvergne. To admire all the smallest details and charms, simply walk through most of the streets to discover these old residences, all in perfect state of conservation. Among the most beautiful remains, the House of Bargues, which can be visited by reservation, the Maison du Bailiwick, impressive for its 20m towers, or the Maison de la Ronade, which inevitably catches the eye for its five floors and a spiral staircase. The opportunity to see that, within it, this fortified medieval city contains a fascinating history. This is particularly expressed in the church of Saint-Mathieu de Salers, a sumptuous combination of Gothic and Romanesque style classified as a Historic Monument. A building much appreciated for the magnificent 17th century Aubusson tapestries and the 15th century entombment painting that it houses. So many wonders that revolve around Place Tyssandier d’Escousthe central square of the village where the bust of Ernest Tyssandiers d’Escous, a famous native of the village who worked for the recognition of the Salers cattle breed, proudly sits.

The Bailliage House, one of the most beautiful remains of the village © Flickr
The Bailliage House, one of the most beautiful remains of the village © Flickr

A gastronomic region that is the pride of the village

Originally from the medieval city, the Salers breed was officially recognized in 1852 thanks to Tyssandier d’Escous, an agronomist considered to be the founder of the breed. Formerly used for dairy production and as a draft animal, the Salers breed has evolved over time, while retaining its original qualities and its ability to produce both milk and meat. As sacred as this rich architectural heritage, Salers meat is renowned for its incomparable flavor, its bright red color and its marbling. A very juicy meat highly sought after by gastronomy professionals, particularly for its grain. And who says Salers also says a cheese just as famous and sought after. Not less than three kinds of AOP cheeses made with Salers cow’s milk exist: traditional Salers, Cantal from the Massif Central or even farmhouse Saint Nectaire. When coming to Salers, it is therefore impossible to ignore the gastronomy, which is an integral part of the local culture. In addition to cheese and beef, people also come here to enjoy an aperitif with gentian root extracts or other culinary specialties from the Cantal region, such as there truffadebouriol, pounti, or stuffed cabbage.

The ideal region to start hiking or climbing

Due to its location, at the gates of Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park, the village of Salers is a natural invitation to exploration, discovery and, quite simply, nature. Among the unmissable spots, we can for example cite the Barrouze esplanade. This charming wooded park surrounded by ramparts, located in the upper part of the village, is instantly attractive for its “terrace” which rises to a height of 300 m. The opportunity to enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the Cantal mountains, as well as the 3 glacial valleys: the Maronne, the Rat and the Aspre. Unless you leave the village for a few moments to cool off at the Salins waterfall or climb the Puy Mary, an emblematic summit of Cantal for its breathtaking panoramas over the Parc des Volcans d’Auvergne. For those who like to combine the love of nature with that of thrills, Salers is also a privileged playground for climbing. The village is indeed located very close to a famous spot which borders the Salers plateau: la Peyrade. No less than 30 routes await amateurs and enthusiasts, to reach summits up to 970 m above sea level. And to keep your feet on the ground, Salers is the starting point for many marked trails, at varying levels of difficulty, such as the GR de Pays – On the transhumance routeto explore via an 11km, 19.5km walk or, for the more daring, the large 89.5km loop.

The Grand Site of Puy Mary © Julien Couty
The Grand Site of Puy Mary © Julien Couty

Also read: This pretty historic village has hosted more than 80 film shoots since 1945

Featured image: Salers © Adobe Stock

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