Limousin is a region typified by open countryside, a third of which is forested. It is also one of the lowest populated regions in France. Its capital city Limoges is renowned for its porcelain, whilst Aubusson is famous for its beautiful tapestries. Crozant and Fresslines to the north of the region have long been a centre for artists (in particular Monet), and the river Creuse offers awe inspiring gorges. With the exception of Limoges and a few small towns, the population is scattered among tiny villages and hamlets which pepper the countryside.
Four châteaux in the region worth a visit are the medieval Château de Boussac, Château de Chalus - the final resting place of Richard the Lionheart, Château de Villemonteix between Guéret and Aubusson which is privately owned, and the impressive Château de Rochechouart a 15th Century château which houses the area's Centre of Contemporary Art.
The Corrèze is an area to the west of the Dordogne region, but still home to a large section of the Dordogne River. It abounds in waterfalls, attractive views and great stretches of water to canoe and kayak. The Dordogne valley between Argentat and Liourdres is exceptionally beautiful and is classed as a "grand site national ".
Over the centuries Argentat has been an important trade centre. Wood, leather and oil were transported by boat and the beautiful quayside lined with old turreted houses bears witness to this.
The pretty medieval town of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne has a magnificent Benedictine Abbey, an attractive square and narrow cobbled streets. Several other villages in the region are classified amongst the most beautiful villages in France. These are: Collonges-la-Rouge, Curemonte, Saint-Robert, Ségur le-Château and Treignac.
The Auvergne is a region of vast green open spaces, dotted with lakes, forests and volcanoes, and offers some of the best walks to be found in France. Sculpted by fire, the Auvergne is the largest volcanic region in Europe and has four volcanic massifs, the youngest of which dates back 10,000 years. For the enthusiast it is a veritable open-air geological exhibition. The last volcanic eruption was some 5800 years ago. The Loire, Allier and Dordogne rivers rise in the Auvergne region which along with the lakes is full of rapids and thermal springs including Vichy and Chaudes-Aigues.
The Puy de Sancy is the highest mountain in the Massif Central and a trek to the summit is well worth the effort to enjoy the magnificent views. Issoire with its ancient Benedictine abbey and Saint-Nectaire with its cathedral-like church on top of Cornadore hill are both worth a visit.
Murol is small town with a delightful gothic style church famed for its interior decoration and for its 12th century château.
Vulcania, the volcanic theme park helps explain the fascinating universe of volcanoes via satellite images, moving models and audio visual shows.