"Les Monts du Forez" Monts du Forez by kokoryko

Monts du Forez Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 199 photos

Not high but beautiful countryside

Many mountains, geographic entities, are boundaries, borders, frontiers, and the Forez Mountains, modest mountains culminating at 1634m separate the Rhône Alpes and Auvergne regions in France; VT (the data base!) sometimes does not like physical geography, (there is no Pyrénées entry), but there is a “Monts du Forez” destination; the Forez is mostly located in Rhône Alpes, but covers also the eastern part of Auvergne; there will be links for both regions, but I will post this page (the first apparently!) in the “Monts du Forez” destination!
The Forez region is located North West of the city of St Etienne, a city with an old industrial tradition; this region covers an area of 1200 square km, between the cities of Thiers and Noirétable in the North, and the area between Usson en Forez and La Chaise Dieu in the South. This rural area offers plenty of accommodation for the traveller, from camping grounds to luxury hotels, but the best are the many home stays you may find in the countryside.
We will mainly look at some beauties of the south, but a few excursions will lead us to the summits, the vineyards on the slopes of the northern hills, and we will often cross the border between Rhône Alpes and Auvergne, but the administrative boundaries are not an obstacle for the traveller.

Balconies road

I will write about balconies; the balconies are not only the platforms surrounded by a small barrier, where you can stand in front of a window or a door and look at the landscape, street scenes, have a chat with your neighbour in the same building, grow some plants. . . . Here, it is about the Balcons du Forez, an area located at the western fringe of the French Rhône-Alpes region. It is in fact located in the Loire Departement, on the western banks of the Loire River, making up the southern area of the Monts du Forez.
This hilly area is called Balconies, as there are many look outs from hills, from escarpments above deep gorges, and with fine weather the view opens as far as to the Alps, located 150 km East.
But we will also go deep in the forests, see the beautiful spring in the meadows, look at marvels of nature, discover the flowers of summer, the mushrooms of autumn, and much more. . . . Old industrial cities and villages are nested in the valleys, rural villages spot the hills, very welcoming people live there, lots of history left traces in the villages. . . it’s just beautiful: many small roads and trails link the villages, the summit of hills, and I will take you to some of the villages and lookouts of the area. A few small cities, laden with traditions, old history will be visited also, but the countryside is so beautiful, the woods, and fields, on the hills, the small villages and their very old roman churches, small jewels spotted in valleys or hills. . . Whatever the season, the area is beautiful, but autumn, adding its colours is a glorious period.

Forez is an old name. . .

If you look on the web with your favourite search engine, you will find a lot of information, especially about walking trails, mountain bike trails, many sporting events about the “Balcons du Forez”, but there is absolutely no need to be in sportive condition to visit the area!
I will try to give a bit of information about accommodation, but it will be very general, mainly websites and some “recommendations”; I have a den on the western slopes of the mountains and have no experience of local tourist accommodation, but I know people who visit the place and they are generally enchanted by the local hospitality.
Ah! And Forez is like “forêt”; phonetically it is /fɔ.ʁɛ/ , so you do not pronounce the “z”, and there is a bit controversy about the origin of the name: does it just designate forest? Or does it have a Latin origin, coming from “Forum Segusiavorum”, designating a place where a local tribe lived when Cesar conquered the Gaul country? I like the idea of the forest, as the area is covered with plenty of beautiful forests.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Real countryside, beautiful landscapes, wonderful hikes
  • Cons:Unpredictable weather
  • In a nutshell:Walk on the balconies
  • Last visit to Monts du Forez: Nov 2008
  • Intro Updated Dec 11, 2008
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Reviews (39)

Comments (9)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    The mountains and the scenery there looks fabulous, and it reads like you really had a great time. Nice job of describing the area.

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    Very comprehensive coverage of everything that is good in this place - complete with jelly-making tips! I'd love to have a glass of that 'flint' flavored wine, please.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2009 at 10:39 PM

    Wow, Hermann, you do write such good reviews/tips --- and that autumn fog in Forez looks awesome -- I also like vintage trains and enjoyed the one we have in the Grand Canyon! Norman:)

  • janetanne's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    Must spend more time here reading your fascinating pages and learn some things! I was wondering where it is that you haven't been and funnily enough, it looks like it may be Greece! Is that true? Janet

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2008 at 10:06 AM

    Too much here for a single visit! Such riches! I'll be back. leyle

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2008 at 12:54 AM

    Very thorough and comprehensive page with brilliant photos and useful tips! Loved the Devil's Bridge in Chalencon. I knew almost nothing about the Forez region. Thanks Hermann for sharing!

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2008 at 3:27 PM

    I somehow like the idea of dolphins dancing through waves of daffodils in the mountains of Forez :~) Beech baby...lol!!!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    Yet another vintage kokoryko page with evocative texts and photos, and fascinating details! Thanks for including those tips on the historic railway, and the one on the theatre in the Montpeloux Volcano.

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2008 at 3:18 PM

    Good to see your Muse has returned! Will read more tomorrow.

kokoryko

“Il me plait de courir sans but et sans raison . . . .”

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