ON THE RIVER

Location:

The Moulin de Sansonneche is situated in the Creuse department of the Limousin region, on the Plateau de Millevaches which literally translated means 'the plateau of a thousand springs'. This area has recently been officially declared an area of outstanding natural beauty (Parc Natural Regional). The valley of the river Gioune is one of the sites of special interest.

As you would expect, there are ample opportunities for some excellent angling and if required, and given prior notice, we can arrange this for you at one of a couple of local lakes. There are many countryside activities, such as walking, cycling, horse riding, sailing, canoeing and fishing. The local Tourist Office organises walks of interest every Wednesday afternoon and sometimes on a Saturday. During the winter, when there is snow on the ground, the very energetic can find cross country skiing at a couple of local pistes.

The nearest small town, Felletin, is 8 km away -less than 10 minutes by car. Felletin has a pretty, tree-lined square surrounded by cafés, bars and shops.Market day is on Friday mornings in the main square and the surrounding cobbled streets. Farm produce, cheeses, plants, baskets and jewellery are available at the many stalls found there during the summer. It is a very popular market with the local French population and English residents and visitors alike - an unmissable morning.

Aubusson, a beautiful medieval town, is approximately 18km north of the Moulin, and it takes approximately 20 minutes to drive there. The town is steeped in history and is famous for its tapestries and carpets - from the Middle Ages up to as recently as the hanging tapestry created for the 2000 Olympics. The Maison du Tapissier (closed on Tuesdays) houses permanent and temporary exhibitions. Nowadays Aubusson has a good selection of restaurants for all tastes and pockets, shops including speciality shops, a theatre and a cinema. Market morning here is on a Saturday. Lake Vassivière (Lac du Vassivière) is situated approximately 25km west of the Moulin. It is one of the largest lakes in France, covering 2,470 acres and with 45km of lakeside to explore. The beautiful sandy beaches at this fresh water lake are perfect for sunbathing or, for the more active, windsurfing, canoeing, waterskiing and sailing. There really is something for everyone at the lake - families and couples alike. There are designated swimming areas and lifeguards on duty during the high season. Additionally, children's play areas, volleyball courts and boat hire are all available. Have a picnic or go to one of the many cafés, bars or restaurants that line the lakeside. The choice is yours.

Boat excursions are available to Vassivière Island, where one can stroll through the scupture park or visit the Comtemporary Art museum designed by the late Aldo Rossi. Near Vassivière is the fabulous Parc d'Arbre en Arbre, which is an aerial rope course suitable for all ages, although children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult along the junior/adult routes. The course is made up of 7 daring circuits including giant swings, Tyrolean zip wires and suspension bridges. A thrilling day out for all the family.

Only one hour's drive away, and at the heart of the central massif, lies the spa and mountain ski resort of Mont Dore. The highest point of the range is Puy de Sancy at nearly 1900 metres. During the ski season, there are approximately 30 piste runs available for all abilities, including 6 red and 2 black runs. Cable cars, chair and button lifts will take you to the pistes. Play in the snow - there are also plenty of sledging runs.The cable car to the station a couple of hundred metres below the summit of Puy de Sancy is open all year allowing access to some stunning high level walks.

In the beautiful town of Mont Dore there are plenty of restaurants, pavement cafés, bars and shops. Nearby is the very pretty spa town of La Bourboule - well worth a visit, and here there is also a casino.

To the north of Mont Dore - or as you approach the Auvergne region and the city of Clermont Ferrand from the west - lies the Puy de Dome and the volcanoes of the Auvergne. This is France's most famous volcano (now extinct!). It is soft sided and conical - exactly what a volcano should look like. Close to the Puy de Dome is Vulcania, the world's only volcano theme

park. Vulcania has 5000 m2 of activities and sights to discover on 3 interior levels.

To the south, in the Corrèze department, are the gorges of the Dordogne. These spectacular gorges - formed by the River Dordogne - often remain wild, and are sanctuaries for the local flora and fauna. It is not uncommon to see peregrine falcons and red kites hunting here.

The river has cut deep valleys and forms astonishing cascades through the Limousin plateau. Roads and tracks are cut into the sides of the rocks, and the numerous view-points offer spectacular and breathtaking scenery.