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Montmarault - market town in the heart of France

Montmarault is a small market town that is located in the heart of France, in the Allier department of the Auvergne region. Lying amid the fertile valleys and hills of typical Bourbonnaise countryside, the town is quite unspoiled and little known on the tourist trail, thus providing a tranquil slice of authentic French rural life.

About town

The town has all the basic shops and services you are likely to need for comfortable everyday living, as well as a lively Wednesday morning market which offers the chance to buy your fruit, veg and other goodies in the traditional manner. Make sure you get out of bed early though, as all the best bargains may be gone before mid morning.

Church and country

Montmarault doesn't really "do" tourist attractions as such (although the excellent tourist office will point you to all sites of interest and events taking place in the region), and you certainly won't find many nightclubs or entertainment complexes in the town. It does, however, have charm and history, and the typically Bourbonnais architecture is interesting to see. The town's St Etienne Church, with its 18th century tower and 15th century stoop is worth seeing, as is the chateau.

Activities on offer

The surrounding countryside is peaceful and beautiful, and bursting with opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. There are many sports available locally, including tennis, football and petanque, with perhaps the best being those that allow you to discover the lovely landscapes through the simple pleasures of walking, cycling or horse-riding. Nearby towns offer golf, swimming pools, skate parks, rugby clubs and canoeing.

Out and about

Visit Montlucon, with its beautiful floral displays, or the lovely spa town of Vichy, famous or perhaps notorious, for its wartime role on behalf of the Nazis. The nearby coal producing town of Commentry has an interesting past and is a very pleasant place to visit despite its industrial reputation. In general, there is much of interest and beauty to discover in the Allier, and the region benefits from being as yet largely undiscovered by mass tourism.

How to get there

The nearest airport of Clermont Ferrand doesn't offer direct flights to the UK, so you will have to fly into Lyon, St Etienne, Tours or Limoges. Paris is another option, a little further afield but has the advantage of easy links to services which will get you to your destination. Lyon is served by Air France, British Airways, easyJet and bmi; St Etienne by Ryanair; Tours by Ryanair; and Limoges by Ryanair and flybe. If you prefer the train, the TGV will get take you from Paris to Lyons and Limoges, or if you are travelling by car you should take the A71auto route.

Property prices and availability in and around Montmarault

The area is more popular with the French who are seeking second homes than it is (as yet) with the foreign property market, so there are opportunities to find property at very reasonable prices.

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Montmarault AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Montmarault?

Montmarault is located in central France, in the Massif Central. It lies slightly to the south of the centre of Allier department.

Montmarault Property Map


Auvergne Guide

Auvergne Property Map


Allier Guide

  Allier Map

Population: 1,663

Access: By air: Fly to Tours, Lyon, St Etienne or Limoges. By rail: The TGV runs to Lyon and Limoges, with links from Eurostar at Paris. By road: Montmarault lies near the A71 auto route.

Economy: The economy is mainly agricultural.

Interesting fact: The town's origins date back to the 12th century, when records show the name as "Mons Smaragdi".

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