11 must-do things in Salers

Visiter Salers dans le Cantal

Visiting Salers: what are the best things to do and see in this Cantal village, one of the prettiest in France?

Located at the gateway to the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne, in the Cantal region of France, come and visit Salers. Just 40 kilometers from Aurillac, don’t miss this charming village, whose historical heritage is as rich as its terroir is renowned. Successively a merchant town and then a town of nobles, you’ll find evidence of its past in the incredible architecture. This fortified medieval town has a fascinating history at its heart, all set in unspoilt natural surroundings.

So you’re wondering what to do in Salers? We’ll tell you all about it here!

1. Saint-Mathieu de Salers church

Église Saint-Mathieu de Salers

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Velvet

If you’re visiting Salers, one of the first things to see is the beautiful village church.

Listed as a Historic Monument, it combines Gothic and Romanesque styles, and bears witness to several phases of construction and reconstruction. Don’t miss the magnificent 17th-century Aubusson tapestries inside, and the 15th-century Entombment painting.

2. The Salers Museum (or La Maison du Commandeur)

Are you visiting Salers and want to know more about the village’s history and popular traditions? Then head for the fascinating Musée de Salers, also known as « La Maison du Commandeur ». Its exhibits, housed in a magnificent Renaissance bourgeois residence, are as interesting to admire as the architecture of the building itself.

3. Notre Dame de Lorette Chapel

Chapelle Notre Dame de Lorette

Photo credit: Facebook – Tout sur Salers

If you’re wondering what to do in Salers, then we recommend a stop at the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette chapel. This neo-Byzantine building dates back to the 19th century. Still a place of pilgrimage today, its furnishings and stained glass windows are well worth a visit.

4. Family homes

Maison de Vernhes

Photo credit : WIkipédia – Christophe.Finot

House of Bargues

The Maison de Bargues is listed as a historic monument, not only for its facade and roof, but also for its vaulted passageway. As the house is still inhabited by his descendants, you can visit it by reservation only.

The Bailliage House

Discover this incredible 15th-century building on the Place Tyssandier d’Escous. You’ll fall under the spell of its architecture and style, strongly influenced by the Haute Auvergne Renaissance. The towers, over 20 m high, are truly impressive.

House of Flogeac

Admire its facade, which bears the scars of some of the modifications it has undergone over the centuries. Then push open the doors of this 16th-century mansion, and let the history it exudes wash over you.

Maison de la Ronade

If you’re visiting Salers, you’ll certainly be drawn to this strange house, or rather tower. It’s 5 storeys high, with a spiral staircase leading up to each floor.

Vernhes House

Following a fire in 1898, this former hotel was bought by the municipality, which moved in in 1901. Today, it houses the town hall and the Pays de Salers Intercommunal Tourist Office.

Missionary House

This handsome building, adjoining a pretty little chapel, was built by diocesan missionaries in the 18th century. It is now a retirement home. Very pretty to admire from the outside, if you’re visiting Salers.

5. Esplanade de Barrouze

Esplanade de Barrouze

Photo credit: Salers.fr

This attractive wooded park, encircled by ramparts, is located in the upper part of the village. From its 300 m-high « terrace », you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Cantal mountains and the 3 glacial valleys: the Maronne, the Rat and the Aspre.

A must-do in Salers, for a wonderful souvenir and photo.

6. Place Tyssandier d’Escous

Place Tyssandier d’Escous, Salers

Photo credit: Facebook – Mairie de Salers

When visiting Salers, don’t miss the main square in the center of the village: Place Tyssandier d’Escous. This is where the bust of Ernest Tyssandiers d’Escous, a famous native of the village who worked for the recognition of the Salers cattle breed, sits proudly on its pedestal.

Surrounded by pretty Renaissance houses, including the Maison du Baillage, it’s a pleasant, lively place, especially on market days.

7. The Belfry Gate

Visiter Salers : la porte du Beffroi

Photo credit: Facebook – Tout sur Salers

A vestige of the old ramparts, the Belfry Gate is a square tower with a pointed arched doorway, preceded by a round tower.

The roof, which some say resembles Merlin the Enchanter’s hat, is topped by an iron dial containing a bell, which still rings every half-hour.

8. Events and festivities

Evénements et festivités

Photo credit: Flickr – Laurent Ribot

If you’re wondering what to do in Salers, you’ll be pleased to know that the village hosts a wide range of summer events. Here are just a few:

  • Market every Wednesday morning.
  • Salon des Sites Remarquables du Goût (late April, early May)
  • La Pastourelle, a sporting event combining several disciplines: hiking, mountain biking and running (end of May).
  • Fête de la Montagne (end of June)
  • Wool market: artisans and breeders from the Toison d’Art association offer their creations and products for sale (end of July).
  • Cow and cheese day: market, entertainment, demonstration, tasting (early August).
  • August 15 Folk Gala

9. La Peyrade climbing site

Site d'escalade La Peyrade

Photo credit: Auvergne destination volcans

Still wondering what to do in Salers? Climbing enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that the village is very close to an excellent climbing spot on the edge of the Salers plateau: La Peyrade. At an altitude of 970 m, there are 30 routes to suit all levels of climber.

10. Hiking

Randonnée de la Montagnoune, Salers

Photo credit: Auvergne destination volcans

If there’s one sport you can’t afford to miss in Salers, it’s hiking. The village is the starting point for numerous marked trails of varying degrees of difficulty. To name but a few:

  • La Montagnoune (4km)
  • La Ronde de Salers (6km)
  • GR de Pays – On the transhumance route (11km, 19.5km or the 89.5km long loop)
  • La Pastourelle (32 km or 2 circuits of 16 km)
  • Saingoux bridge (7km)

11. Local produce

Fromage de Salers

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Salers

If you come to visit Salers, you won’t want to miss out on its gastronomy, which is an integral part of the local culture. Indeed, the reputation of its cheese, beef and gentian aperitif is well established!

And don’t forget to try the Cantal region’s culinary specialties, such as truffade, bourriol, pounti and chou farci. Delicious!

How do I get to Salers?

Want to visit Salers and wondering how to get there? We’ll tell you all about it here!

By car

  • To reach the village of Salers, you’ll need to take the D922 road, whether you’re coming from the north or south.
  • The A75 and A89 freeways are not far away, if you are coming from Montpellier or Bordeaux respectively.
  • From Aurillac, the journey takes around 40 minutes.

By plane/train/bus

  • If you’re traveling by air, the nearest airport is Aurillac, 45km away. The larger, international Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport is 144km away. From here, the best option is to rent a car, to make the most of your stay.
  • TER trains also serve the towns of Aurillac and Mauriac.
  • You can then reach Salers by bus on the local « Cantal Lib' » lines LR102 – Mauriac / Aurillac, and LR134 – Salers / Mauriac.

Where to stay in Salers?

If you choose to visit Salers, we recommend you read our article  » Where to sleep in Salers « . You’ll find all the best addresses for hotels, bed & breakfasts and apartments in the heart of the village. If you’re a camping enthusiast, you can also pitch your tent at Camping Municipal le Mouriol.

Above all, don’t hesitate to book your stay in advance, and use a hotel comparator to find the cheapest rates.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes