Linked with France history and royalty, the medieval and renaissance town was a long time ago Medici’s fiefdom. Pass through the belfry and let History in.
Built on ancient lava at an elevation of 1,000 metres, Besse et Saint-Anastaise is an officially-recognised “Petite Cité de Caractère” that blends Medieval character and Renaissance charm.
The Medieval and Renaissance town of Besse has links with royalty and the history of France, and was even a Medici fiefdom for a very long time. As you pass the belfry, you'll be plunged into history.
In the maze of narrow cobbled streets, besides the belfry you’ll admire beautiful 12th- and 16th-century mansions and the rampart walls. There are eight buildings listed as Historical Monuments.
Besse is a land of legend and mystery. They even say that Queen Margot stayed here.
It is one of the youngest French volcanos; its more recent volcanic activity goes back to 6000 years and it is the deepest in Auvergne (93m / 302 ft.)
An almost perfect circular form surrounded by trees, dark or turquoise water, the Pavin Lake stirs imagination.
Since centuries, the Pavin Lake can’t stop create emotions and questionings for everyone exploring or discovering it.
With its evil mind, the proud Lucifer challenges the Creator by kidnaping a young lady. During a fierce fight, the divine spirit forces the evil-one to go back to Hell’s abysses. Sit on the lake’s edge, Evil, inconsolable cried so many tears that the lake filled up with its tears…
During the 19th century a legend is born among so many more: the city swallowed by the divine anger.
“Watch out: when the sky’s clear, we can see in the depths of the lake, the bell tower of the cursed city”
For the villagers of Besse, formerly known as Besse en Chandesse, life has always been a succession of traditional festivities. The locals love to party in a spirit of togetherness. The calendar features traditional festivals (Estive, Dévalade, Bavajade, Saint Cochon), a wine & cheese fair, children’s shows, concerts and much more. There’s something for everyone!
The communes of Besse and Saint-Anastaise and the resort of Super-Besse are among the 6 communes in the Massif du Sancy that have been awarded the Famille Plus label. This label guarantees that parents and their children will be well looked after during their holidays.
In Besse, numerous accommodations, restaurants and activities are available for families to make the most of their stay.
Just 7km from Besse et Saint-Anastaise, the resort of Super-Besse offers winter visitors all the joys of the snow, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and the Fantasticable zipwire.
In summer, Super-Besse is a heavenly place for families, truly an open-air leisure park with a watersports centre, swimming pool, summer luge ride and mountain-bike slopes.