The “Estives” are vast high-altitude pastures where herds of cows ascend the mountain from May to October. These summer pastures offer unspoilt landscapes where you can unwind and reconnect with nature. Salers and Aubrac cows are part and parcel of the Cézallier landscape. The village of Allanche is the gateway to the Cézallier plateau.
Pastoralism is deeply rooted in the lives of the Allanchois and has shaped the architecture of the town, with numerous traditional block farms scattered around the town.
Allanche is a thriving market town, with fine middle-class residences that were once home to numerous livestock traders. The station is also a reminder of the importance of the herds that travelled by the wagonload to reach their grazing grounds. The Monument de l’Estive in the Place du Cézallier with its Salers cow and calf enshrines Allanche as the capital of the “Estive” or summer pastures.
Monument de l'estive
The practice of l’Estive is centuries old and seems to date back to the 13th century. The ascent used to be made on foot or by train, and the Landeyrat station, now closed, was the first station in France for transhumance.
The diversity of flora and fauna in the pastures means that high-quality agricultural produce (cheese and meat) can be produced. Transhumance is still very much a part of life, with the Summer pasture festival held every year at the end of May in Allanche.
Since January 2022, this building, affectionately known to Allanchois as the “Hôtel Bonnal”, has been home to Hautes Terres Services et Découverte (tourist office, Maison France Service, cultural services, RPE early childhood relay, etc.) This building, which was built in 1930 by a canvas merchant, was designed by Aurillac architect Georges Breuil. It later became the property of the Bonnal family, and the hotel became the preferred venue for large family gatherings of local residents. The venue, which has played host to Georges Pompidou and Jean-Paul Belmondo, has now been outfitted with a scenographic area where you can find out more about Le Cézallier and its traditions!
The refurbished Modern'Hôtel premises
In addition to its traditional summer pasture festival, Allanche has for many years organised two other major events: The Potters’ Market and the Antiques and Bric-a-Brac Fair. These two events are the brainchild of a group of dedicated volunteers in the “Allanche animations” association. They are committed to keeping their town alive through high-profile, high-quality events. In Marcenat, a few kilometres from Allanche, the Foulées du Cézallier attracts a large number of sports enthusiasts every year on the 15th of August!
The potter’s market in Place du Cézallier
Located in the Hautes Terres, Services & Découvertes building in Allanche, the Espace Cézallier welcomes you all year round for a journey exploring the identity of this region throughout the seasons. Self-guided or guided tours (booking required) are available all year round!