Côtes d'Auvergne

Eating, drinking and Sleeping

Wild flowers and the Puy-de-Dôme

The Auvergne has long since tried to play down its reputation for a region of poor food and hotels, but for anyone wishing to explore the wines of the Côte d’Auvergne, the logical base would be Clermont-Ferrand, although there is a dearth of decent individual hotels. This is essentially a commercial centre rather than a leisure destination, so my recommendation is to head for the hills and take advantage of the hotels within any of the spa resorts on the edge of the Châine-des-Puys

One would expect the home of Michelin to have a couple of starred restaurants, and indeed there are now four, of which I have dined in one: Fleur de Sel.

Restaurant – Fleur de Sel
Emma et Patrice Eschalier
8 rue Abbé Girard
T: +33 4 73 90 30 59 
Acknowledged in the 2009 Guide Michelin as an 'up and coming restaurant', although Fleur de Sel was established a decade ago. By the 2010 Guide it had been awarded a much deserved One Star. It's run by Sussex born Emma and her chef-husband, Patrice, whose father makes a little wine for family consumption on the slopes above the city. Emma tells me it's not very good. The couple met on the Île-de-Ré in the mid 1990s whilst Emma was doing a stage to improve her business French. The menu here revolves around fish; not bad for a city at the very heart of France. The food here is very good and my recommendation is to allow Patrice to select your dinner for you. This option is offered as a fixed price menu. There is a broad list with a few local wines, although Emma is clearly not a fan of the local rosés. Recommended, if a little expensive if one eats off the carte. Closed Sunday and Monday.
(Last dined: 06/09) 

Restaurant - Goûts et Couleurs
Vincent Dhumes
6 Place du Changil
T: + 33 4 73 19 37 82
Situated in a rough looking part of the centre of town, close to the Palace of Justice . The decor inside is modern and service is offered by a young and friendly team. This is classical French cooking with a modern twist. There is a modest wine list with one or two local growers represented. Well priced and recommended. 
(Last dined: 06/09)

Restaurant - Brasserie Danièle Bath
Place du Marché Saint Pierre
T: + 33 4 73 31 23 22
Situated within the main market building and lauded by Michelin, although both the food and the decor could do with updating. Billed as a traditional restaurant, their food in fact leans more to Catalonia. They offer a range of wines by the glass. Pretty ordinary and doesn't offer particularly good value.
(Last dined: 06/09)

The entries below come from the usually reliable book called Les zinzins du zinc. They are all within Clermont-Ferrand, although I haven’t dined in any of them.

Le Tout du Cru
7 Boulevard Léon-Malfreyt
T: + 33 4 73 34 28 87
Owned by Gilles Lafaille, an ex petro-chemical engineer. Open every evening except Sunday.  Lunches from Wednesday to Friday.

Le Bar de la Maire
11 Rue Philippe-Marcombes
T: + 33 4 73 91 21 99
David and Zoé Rosenplac. Open Monday to Saturday from 10h00.

Le Distil
8 Rue de la Préfecture
T: + 33 4 73 37 64 15
Kevin Quicke. Open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner and Saturday evening.

Le Chardonnay
1 Place Philippe-Marcombes
T: + 33 4 73 90 18 28
Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, except Saturday lunch.

Le Bistrot Bancal
15 Rue des Chaussetiers
T: + 33 4 73 14 23 92

La Régalade
9 Rue Nestor-Perret
T: + 33 4 73 37 57 15
Old sommelier Cyril Sartre and his wife serve typical Auvergnat cuisine. 



Gîte - Les Charmes
Mary Williamson
T: + 33 4 73 94 99 75

Just a few kilometres south of Vichy, this quiet little village was once a thriving village vigneron. Today, it is more famous for its slightly sparkling mineral water, which can be found listed on all the best tables in France. This chalet-like property looks down over the village with its medieval castle. 

Above Riom


Restaurant - Le Saint Amable
18 rue Saint Amable
T: + 33 4 73 63 01 47
A very modest restaurant on the main street running through the town, sitting opposite the Basilica. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, they serve traditional dishes, including truffades made from Saint-Nectaire. There is a small selection of regional wines. Inexpensive. 
(Last dined: 06/09)

Le Flamboyant
21 bis, rue de l’Horage
T: 33 4 73 63 07 97
Restaurant gastronomique.

Le Magnolia
11, avenue Commandant-Madeline
T: + 33 4 73 38 08 25
A formal and expensive looking restaurant in a side street in the town. 


This pretty spa resort is a few kilometres west of the town of Riom and about a 30 minute drive into Clermont-Ferrand. It's well sited for visiting the northern vineyards, the Châine-des-Puys and a relaxing spot for those wishing to take the waters. 

Hotel-Restaurant - Splendid
5-7 rue Angleterre
T: + 33 4 73 86 04 80
F: + 33 4 73 86 15 76
A resort hotel with its own spa centre and water fountains. Its art-deco exterior dates it to the early part of the last century, about the same time as most of its current residents were born. It's not without charm and is situated in a lovely little valley that overlooks the spas and is in easy walking distance for the rest of the town. Whist they do have a restaurant, I haven't dined here; I wasn't taken by what was offered on the menu. If you do plan to stay here, ensure you book a room at the rear. 
(Last stayed: 06/09)

Restaurant - La Papillote
11 Route de Volvic
T: + 33 4 73 67 00 64
F: + 33 4 73 86 20 60
Saint-Hippolyte is a small village just outside Châtel-Guyon and is about a five minute drive from the centre of town (or a 30 minute energetic walk). It's a family run operation and is clearly popular with locals, although the opening times (Thursday to Saturday and Sunday lunch) makes one wonder on the viability of opening at all. The food is a bit fussy, but competent with a good selection of local dishes and a very good local cheeseboard. There is a reasonable wine list offering a limited selection of local wines and a few good names from elsewhere in France. 
(Last dined: 06/09)

Restaurant - La Potée
34 rue Baraduc
T: + 33 4 73 86 06 60
On the main street, this busy little restaurant is full of character and antiquities from the region. They cooking is simple and proudly Auvergate serving local wines by the glass, pichet and bottle. Recommended and inexpensive.
(Last dined: 06/09)



Restaurant - La Vigne
Place de la Grande Charreyre
T: + 33 4 73 96 43 46
P: + 33 6 33 56 45 92
Montpeyroux is an old village vigneron and one of The Most Beautiful Villages in France. It's a pretty medieval fortified hamlet built in the local arkose red granite stone. This pretty little restaurant is at the heart of the village and offers local cuisine served on the terrace during the summer. 

Chambres et tables d’Hôtes – La Vigneronne
Frédéric et Dominique Delherbe
T: + 33 4 73 96 66 71
P: + 33 6 81 45 07 42
A pretty looking villa just inside the village walls.


Hotel-Restaurant - Le Boudes la Vigne
Place de la Mairie
T: + 33 4 73 96 55 66
F: + 33 4 73 96 55 55
Boudes is at the southern-most extreme of the wine region. It's a pretty village and although I haven't eaten or stayed here, it looks like an attractive place to spend a couple of days. It is situated in the heart of the village and offers menus of regional fare. 


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