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.
The Ardèche is one of the richest natural sites in Europe. It is a region of beautiful unspoilt scenery, rushing rivers, dramatic gorges, wonderful lakes and cultural traditions ranging from prehistoric times to the present day. The Southern Ardèche region is well-known for its Mediterranean climate, beautiful riverside beaches and canoe-kayaking. It is a favourite place for sporting holidays. Mountain biking, paragliding, climbing, potholing, canyoning or simply hiking are also popular.
Le Pont d'Arc is a graceful natural arch over the river Ardèche, in the heart of the Ardèche gorge. Little footpaths lead to its base where you will find spectacular scenic routes to explore over 26km of the gorge.
The modernised town of Vallon Pont d'Arc has plenty of bars and restaurants.
The beautifully positioned hilltop town of Largentière is worth a visit because of its lovely quaint local market.
There are also several wonderful caves to visit in the area including the Aven d'Orgnac grotto characterised by a big lava flow looking like an organ case and the Aven Grotte de la La Forestière, located on road D217 between Vallon Pont d'Arc and Orgnac,
where you can admire the Cave Animal Zoo, and beautiful coral-like stalactites and stalagmites emerging from pools of water.
Le Mont du Gerbier de Jonc not far from Privas rises to 1,550 metres in height and offers superb panoramic views. The Cascade de Ray-Pic is a natural waterfall located between Aubenas and Burzet.
Aveyron is a magnificent region of breathtaking scenery with deep chasms in the valleys of the Tarn and Dourbie. Many people visit the area for the canoeing, rafting and hang-gliding. A canoe trip along the Tarn gorges is an unforgettable experience.
Millau is renowned as a shopping centre for leather goods, including gloves but is now equally famous for its fabulous viaduct, designed by British architect Norman Foster. It can be viewed from a visitor's centre just off the A75.
Drive along the valleys and see picturesque villages perched on the top of cliffs like Peyreleau, Cantobre and Saint-Véran.
In the centre of the Causse de Larzac, you will find La Couvertoirade, a fantastic Knights Templar town encased in a five-sided outer wall.
Montpellier-le-Vieux is a weird universe of amazing rock formations. Water and wind transformed the grey rocks of the Causse Noir into a wonderful city which has now become the shelter for delicate flora. You can walk on well signed footpaths or take the little green train that will lead you to the heart of this imposing site.
Aven Armand, an extraordinary cave of stalcamites and stalactites, 75m deep, discovered one Sunday afternoon in September 1897 by Louis Armand.
Roquefort, home of the famous blue-veined cheese made from ewes milk, offers a fascinating visit.
Monts d'Aubrac are in the north of the region and are the final volcanic rampart of the Massif Central region. This region is famous for its livestock breeding, and its lakes which are ideal for fishing, swimming and all kinds of watersports. The Lac de Pont de Salars and the Lac de Pareloup offer 15km of beaches and are the largest in southern France.
The towns of Décazeville, Entraygues, Espalion, Estaing and Saint-Geniez d'Olt are all worth a detour. Laguiole is well-known for both its knives and its cheese.