The Pays d’Issoire is arguably the most colourful strip of the Auvergne, nestled between the green expanses of two regional natural parks. There's an almost Mediterranean feel to the region's coral-roofed villages and vine-cloaked meadows.
At its heart is main town Issoire, home to the Auvergne’s most flamboyantly decorated Romanesque church. Equally dazzling is the Vallée des Saints, a geological marvel of ochre-and-red fairy chimneys. Fortified villages such as Montpeyroux and Usson are worthwhile detours as much for their medieval ramparts as their 360-degree views across rolling hills.