Exploring Montluçon in The Auvergne
Nestled in the heart of central France in the Auvergne region, Montluçon offers a delightful blend of medieval charm, great cuisine and a warm welcome. From exploring the picturesque old town with its timber-framed houses to indulging in local foods and cheeses, this vibrant town has something to offer every visitor. Discover some of the top things to do, see, and eat in Montluçon.
Bistrot Saint Jean
Fabulous Lunch at Bistrot Saint Jean: A great way to begin the Montluçon tour with a culinary delight at Bistrot Saint Jean. This charming modern style bistro part of the Chateau de Saint Jean was a delightful find. We sat on the sunny terrace looking over the gardens of the chateau.
The menu offers modern creative fusion dishes using interesting mélange of ingredients. The menu offered three choices of three courses and was well priced at €49 per head. Great choice of desserts or a selection of cheeses. The service was excellent and friendly.
I’d visit again, or next time would love to try the stunning looking Restaurant La Chapelle with its Michelin Starred chef, Olivier Valade. Bistrot Saint-Jean is open every day for lunch and dinner and Restaurant La Chapelle is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday for dinner and Saturday and Sunday for lunch.
Bistrot Saint Jean is open every day for lunch and dinner
Avenue Henri de la Tourfondue, Parc Saint-Jean
03100 – Montluçon – France
+33(0)4 70 03 26 57
Originals Boutique, Hôtel de l'Univers
We stayed at the Originals Boutique, Hôtel de l’Univers, Montluçon: This charming hotel, situated close to the station and the medieval town welcomes you with its quirky reception and offers a comfortable stay, even had a Nespresso machine in our room. The staff were friendly and helpful and having secure enclosed parking (booked in advance) ensures a stress-free visit as we had our bikes on the back of the car! Next to immerse ourselves in the sites of Montluçon.
Walk Around the Medieval Old Town
Step back in time as you stroll through the medieval old town of Montluçon. Lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets lined with timber-framed houses. Visit the 12th Century Roman style church. Admire the intricate architecture and soak up the historical atmosphere.
Museum of Popular Music, MuPop
Must see… the Museum of Popular Music, MuPop. Prepare for a great and fun surprise. This unique cultural gem celebrates the musical heritage of France and around the World. MuPop showcases an impressive collection of instruments, costumes, and artefacts ranging from ancient Hurdy Gurdys of all shapes and sizes to modern-day music and instruments. Engage with interactive musical exhibits, learn about musicians who shaped the musical landscape over the years and immerse yourself in the captivating world of tunes and rhythms.
Chateau of the Dukes of Bourbon
Visit the Chateau of the Dukes of Bourbon: This iconic Chateau is a landmark of the town and stands as a testament to Montluçon’s rich history. The Chateau wasn’t open to see the inside as it was a Sunday but looks worth a visit. Enjoy the panoramic views from the top.
Walk Through the Jardins Wilson: right next to MuPop For a moment of tranquility. These landscaped gardens offer a retreat and time to relax by the fountains.
Local and Regional Dishes
Don’t miss the opportunity to savour local dishes such as the Truffade Auvergnate made with potatoes, garlic, Cantal and Tomme Frais and served with the local cured ham (jambon sec d’Auvergne) and charcuterie of the region. To me, this was a similar take on the Auvergne’s version of a Savoyard Tartiflette. I’m planning on making one and will post the recipe soon.
Local cheeses of the Auvergne region include:
- Bleu Auvergne that has enjoyed AOC status since 1961.
- The Fourme d’Ambert, a soft mild blue cheese that dates back to the 8th
- Saint Nectaire a soft, tender creamy cheese with a delicate hazelnut flavour, this was the first of the Auvergne cheeses to gain AOC status in 1955.
- Salers from the Cantal area, this cheese is only produced in a small mountain area of Cantal. Salers gained its AOC label in 1979.
- Cantal this strong, hard cheese dates back to ancient times and comes in 3 varieties. Has held the prestigious AOC status since 1956.
Markets in Montluçon
There is a market every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 – 13:00 in the medieval centre of town. A Tuesday market at Place André Puyet from 8.00 – 12.00 and a Thursday market at the Place de la Fraternité from 8:00 – 12:00. On a Friday there is a local producers markets from 16:00 – 19:30 at the Parvis du Centre Athanor – these markets operate all year round. Check the tourist office agenda for full details
We have only scratched the surface of this area and would love to visit more areas within Auvergne, the heart of France. The variety of local dishes, cheeses and markets make this a fabulous area for culinary and Francophile enthusiasts to immerse in. An area steeped in history, culture and outdoor activities. The Auvergne even boasts its own volcano chain, Le Puy de Dome being the tallest at 1465m which forms part of a beautiful National Park. It is possible to visit the interior of the Lemptégy volcano part of the Chaine des Puys.
Our stop off exploring Montluçon was a good mid-way point on a road trip to Île de Noirmoutier, next stop Nantes!