Craponne-sur-Arzon Things to Do

  • Tourist office
    Tourist office
    by kokoryko
  • Window of the tourist office
    Window of the tourist office
    by kokoryko
  • On a wide street, typical baguette
    On a wide street, typical baguette
    by kokoryko

Most Recent Things to Do in Craponne-sur-Arzon

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    Biking and hiking trails

    by kokoryko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Many trails run through forests and fields on the Craponne plateau; on feet, on a bike, I just enjoy the nature here; walking in beech forest with changing light, whatever the season is always a pleasure, specially if some mushrooms wink from far. . . (picture 1). Early morning, the light can be so beautiful on the meadows with some mist or fog, and in the pine forests , it is only early morning with the oblique light on the dew that you can be aware how many spiders live around. (picture 3) . The hiking trails are generally well marked (picture 4) , there are maps (ask for them at the tourist office), villages are never very far, and the trails (picture 5) are generally in good condition for walking, mountain biking or even riding (I do not ride, so I cannot give more tips to the riders).

    This website below is the best help to prepare a stay in The Massif Central; in French unfortunately.
    There are lots of adresses for stays, maps, many examples of spots to visit, ( Roman architecture, natural ”wonders” ), where to hire bicycles, horses, etc. . . etc. . .

    1424, 006, 1282, 180, 179

    Misty morning Spider webs Trail signs a track in the forest
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    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Arts and Culture

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    Village chapels

    by kokoryko Updated Nov 25, 2006

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    The isolated tiny villages (a few farms) have no church, but many have a little chapel. before the villages were deserted because of the industrial revolution these small villages were populated and the priest visited them regularly; nowadays, these chapels are still used for funerals or the local people pray there alone. Some of them are nicely decorated, and, if many look to be built in a similar style, they have their own personality, specially with the inside decoration, or a different roof, or just their location.

    Montravel chapel Montravel chapel (2) Medeyrolles chapel Soulages chapel Soulages
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    • Eco-Tourism

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    Just enjoy walking in the forest

    by kokoryko Updated Nov 25, 2006

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    It looks like I insist on the beauty of the forest here, but really, it is a beautiful one; I spent some time in other forests, visited (and even lived in) rain forests, the famous Landes forest, etc. . this one here is just one which invites to go in and walk, look at the trees, the fruits, look at the colours of leaves, listen to the song of the birds or the barking of the deer, smell the earth; well I am not a real poet and description in a few words is not easy for a beautiful subject; please look at the pictures.

    Holly berries and leaves The Dore valley seen from the Beeches Colours (Indian summer?) A happy(?) deer
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    • Eco-Tourism

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    Enjoy the rural nature

    by kokoryko Updated Nov 25, 2006

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    Meadows, scenic look outs, cattle, mushrooms, old wells in front of farms, villages with their church towers from far, I am never bored when I go around here, and I have the feeling I see something new every time I go out; I even found one day a sign indicating archaeological excavations, (well saw the sign only and a small fenced area).

    St Jean d'Aubrigoux, and a rowan tree Thistles, logs, firs and hills. . . . Misty morning Small waterwell in a farm yard Sign indicating archaeological works
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    • Arts and Culture

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    Train and train station

    by kokoryko Updated Nov 25, 2006

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    The train station in Craponne is not anymore working for goods or public transportation; like many stations of rural France in the 70ties and 80ties, the station has been closed by the French national railway company (SNCF) with the pretext of poor rentability. Local associations took over and maintain the station and train-fanatics are maintaining a line between Estivareilles and Craponne, where some trains circulate during the touristical season.
    This train allows to discover the beautiful landscapes of the Craponne Plateau at slow speed : deep valleys, open views over the Velay Mountains to the south, deep fir forest when reaching Usson, flowered meadows, etc.
    This train is run by an association called Chemin de Fer du Haut Forez, who maintains the railcars. (Website in (French) below)
    The trains generally do not stay at Craponne and when you visit the station, you may only be able to see historical pictures in the station building, an old locomotive outside and an old crane.
    In low saison (April-June) the train works on Sunday ( one go-and-back from Estivareilles to Sembadel), in September on Saturdays and Sundays and in July-August, 3 times a day , 5 days per week.
    The tariff is 12 Euros go and back for the longest (72 km) round trip (Estivareilles-Sembadel-Estivareilles) ; it takes some time, and taking a picnic for the trip is not a bad idea.

    A The station Micheline at station The old crane Crane, tractor
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    Other things to look at in the streets (Cont.)

    by kokoryko Written Nov 25, 2006

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    Two fountains which were formerly troughs forpeople, horses and cattle can still be found in the middle of squares in Craponne ; the fontaine du For (picture 1) , from the 18th century and the fontaine du Bardon (picture 2) , from the 17th century. these were the real centres of the village where the markets were installed.
    Antiquities plunderers cracked down few years ago and the nice statues we see in front of churches or houses have disappeared, and leave now empty niches only (picture 3) and the door you see below the arch replaces a stolen one from the 18th century. . . .
    If you walk around, you can have some views of the donjon (picture 4) with the church and the roofs of the village or this little church (picture5)
    11, 47, niches, 21, 41

    Fontaine du For Fontaine du Bardon Old keystone, empty niches Clocktower and donjon Little church
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    Old buildings and streets

    by kokoryko Updated Nov 25, 2006

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    Craponne is an old village but there are not a lot of historical buildings and there is not a big unity in architectural style.
    The only remain of a medieval castle is the donjon, located not far from the tourist office (picture 1) ; it has been built in the 12-13th century, but little is known about its history.
    The Marchedial tower (picture 2) is a remnant of the fortifications; in front is a square called Marchedial (mercadial: market).
    On the fruit square (place aux fruits) is located this house named “Hotel Calemard de Montjoly” (picture 3) ; this 16-18th century private house has been bought by the city council in order to install there the lace museum. . looking at the condition of this house, the lace amateurs may have to wait for some time. . . Ah, lace is a speciality in southern Auvergne, and if not as well known as the dentelle du Puy, the dentelle de Craponne has a special style and there is even a school for this art in Craponne. Some whole areas of Craponne are neglected and it is a pity because many renovated houses look stylish and even this strange building (picture 4) could have a nice look once renovated, but everything, even the petrol pumps look neglected (picture 5) .

    Donjon Mercadial tower Calemard de Montjoly A bit old . . . Petrol pump
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    Catch the atmosphere at the market

    by kokoryko Written Nov 25, 2006

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    The Saturday market is one of the main attractions of Craponne and even in winter, it is quite active; when you walk on the market in winter you understand the social role of these events, keeping people together in the area, everybody knows each other, news from the surrounding villages are exchanged, etc.
    Of course, food is the main thing on the market, but you can also find (cheap) clothes, tools, etc. . .
    There are cheese from the peasants, goat cheese, sheep cheese, cow cheese, and also wholesalers ; it is just nice to walk through the streets, smelling all this food on display and some times choice is difficult.

    Wonderful cheese! mmmm Narrow street, On a wide street, typical baguette Genetically modified? ? ?
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    A visit to the tourist office is very helpful

    by kokoryko Written Nov 25, 2006

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    If you intend to go to Craponne for a few hours or days, the tourist office here is a very efficient and helpful one.
    They have lots of brochures to take away about homestays, hotels, campings in the area; as well they have lots of information about festivals in the surrounding villages, the interesting buildings, castles, churches to be visited and about lots of activities to be done around, specially with kids. And, which is always a good thing, the staff there is very welcoming and smiling.

    Working hours :
    June-September : Tuesday-Saturday 10 :00-12 :00 and 14 :00-18 :00
    July-August : Monday-Saturday 10 :00-12 :00 and 14 :00-18 :00 and Sunday morning
    October- May: Tuesday-Thursday 14 :00-16 :30 and Friday-Saturday 09 :30-12 :00

    Tourist office Window of the tourist office
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Craponne-sur-Arzon Things to Do

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