First suggestion

Monuments MontluçonTo explore our valley, make your first stop in Montluçon itself:

Take your time to stroll around the narrow streets of the medieval town which has no fewer than 15 listed buildings plus the churches of Notre Dame and Saint Peter, and find your way to the esplanade on the château of the former Dukes of Bourbon to have a superb view of the town.
Let yourself be tempted by one of the numerous restaurants that line the pedestrianised streets.
Still in the heart of the medieval part of town, take time to appreciate the Wilson gardens, constructed in pure traditional French style, and while you enjoy its beauty, the children can play.

Then, on to the house and gardens of the Château de la Louvière, to explore what a local Montluçon industrialist had built in 1926, based on the Petit Trianon in Versailles. Tours of the house are available in summer only.

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Second suggestion

Take the ancient path to the waters

Néris les Bains, a village with a thermal spa is just 4 kms from Montluçon. A gentle stroll takes you past ancient heritage items such as gallo-roman remains, arenas and a necropolis, and leads you on to the spa-related buildings such as the casino, the theatre and the former railway station.
For lunch you can choose a restaurant with views over the village gardens or one from where you can admire the façades of the elegant buildings in the village centre.

Website: http://www.ville-neris-les-bains.fr

Then follow the route to Colombier and Saint Patroclus's fountain. Legend has it that Saint Patroclus, not having sufficient water to complete the building of the church, threw down a hammer with such force that it created a hole 300 metres deep and opened up a spring. A pilgrimage is organised every summer.

Third suggestion

herisson village médiévalAs a first step, take a look at the medieval village of Hérisson. The old town is still encircled in parts by the original wall punctuated with ancient gates and the village has preserved numerous houses dating from the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Hérisson Tourist Information: tel: +33 (0)4 70 06 82 23 or +33 (0)4 70 67 55 89 (Tourist Office in Cérilly).
Website: http://www.pays-de-troncais.com

For lunch you will be delighted with what you find in Vallon-en-Sully.
Start the afternoon with a walk along the canal tow-path where you will find informative signs and explanations along your route. In summer, take a ride in one of the electric flat-bottomed boats - thus you can enjoy the charms of the canal at peace with the world and pass the Davoue drawbridge. (Hiring by the hour). Tel: + (0)6 21 26 29 96 or +33 (0)4.70.06.14.69
Website: http://www.cpie-troncais.com

Then take yourself to the Tronçais forest covering some 10,500 hectares and harbouring the famous centuries-old oaks planted by Colbert, one of Louis XIV's ministers - there to admire the trees, the long wide alleys and the Viljot fountain. Proceed around the lake at Saint Bonnet de Tronçais and savour the shade afforded by the magnificent oaks.

And finally you could see the forest from a different angle by hiring a rosalie - a quadricycle - in the nearby village of Braize.

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