The Massif du Sancy area has three types of architecture: mountain villages, spa town architecture, the medieval town.
> Mountain village
Authentic, pleasant and welcoming market towns; a melting pot of arts and crafts, heritage and traditions. An invitation to discovery and relaxation.
Flagstone roofs are symbols of typical mountain village architecture.
Flagstone is flat and hard, used for house roofs. The flagstones are carved into the shape of fish scales. They cover each other and overlap, like the scales of a fish.
> Spa towns with all the charm of the Belle Epoque
At the start of the 19th century, in the towns of La Bourboule, Le Mont-Dore and St Nectaire, the hydrotherapy industry developed a special kind of architecture: beautiful villas, former luxury hotels, casinos and thermal baths, to ensure that the wealthy clientèle, who came to 'take the waters', received the treatment and fun they were looking for.
- La Bourboule
- Town Hall: a former casino, known as the Cariatides in reference to the Greek goddesses who carry the front balcony. Inside, the grand staircase and very ornate pediments on the doors are crowned with canvas paintings (1893), Italian theatre
- Casino: a majestic building, the result of several construction schemes. The art-deco style, geometric decor is reminiscent of oriental calligraphy. The slot machine hall is the best preserved: stucco decors, columns with capitals, pilasters, etc.
- Georges-Clemenceau boulevard: large esplanades, terraces, façades from the art-deco, neo-classic and baroque eras, turrets and watchtowers in the troubadour style, a bandstand, the façade of the former Rozier patisserie (1922) covered in mosaics (motifs glorifying water) listed in the additional inventory of historic monuments
- Le Mont-Dore
- Thermal baths: behind the austere lava-coloured façade is the hidden flamboyance of a prestigious past. Listed in part as a historic monument, this is wonderful architecture in the Neo-Byzantine style. Framework in the style of that by Gustave Eiffel, vast rooms with painted ceilings, columns, domes, rose windows, stained glass, marble statues and mosaics, vestiges of the Roman baths, frescos from the XIXth century. Guided tour (information from the Tourist Office)
> The medieval town of Besse
The medieval town and its rich architectural and historical past.
Once a fortified town, Besse has kept its narrow, cobblestoned streets, stalls, beautiful lava stone houses with red shutters, fountains with flowers. A stroll through the streets will lead you to the Château du Bailli, Queen Margot's house (nowadays the ski museum), the Manoir Ste Marie des Remparts and the bell tower, the entrance gate of the former medieval town (dating from the 15th century).