The remarkable town of St Flour grew around the tomb of the eponymous saint, an evangelist who preached in the Auvergne in the fourth century.
The best way to approach the town is from the east - from the A75 in fact. There are two towns: one, a modern, busy place on the plain; the other, perched imperiously on a huge rocky upthrust overlooking the Ander and Lescure valleys, a network of old streets and cranky buildings.
The local rock is dark and sombre basalt, and so many of the buildings seem to have a gloomy façade. But that belies the attractions of the town, not least the Gothic cathedral with its twin towers that rather dominate the countryside for some distance.
The former bishop's palace is now the Hotel de Ville and houses an interesting museum about Haute Auvergne.
Office du Tourisme de St-Flour
17 bis, place d'Armes, 15000 St Flour
Tel: 04 71 60 22 50
Since 18 November 2004, the Pays de Saint-Flour is labelled 'Country of art and history'.
It is more than recognition at the national level: the award enables the town to cultivate a real political value of its assets. It is an agreement between the State and the community of communes of the Pays de Saint-Flour