Transport links

The nearest airport is Saint Exupéry at Lyon which is approx one and a half hours away by car. The nearest railway station is in Firminy which is three quarters of an hour away. Approach by car is along the RN88 to Yssingeaux and then D105 almost to Montfaucon turning north onto the D64 or D66 to reach the village. The position of the barn in the village is as shown here.


Immediate area

The village of Raucoules is in the Region of Auvergne; Department of Haute Loire (43290) and lies at an altitude of approx 870 meters. There are two cafes, a bakery and a salaison (pork butchers) in the village. A full range of shops can be found in Montfaucon (2kms); a wider range (including 1 supermarket) in Dunieres (6 kms) or Tence (8kms) and there are 2 large superstores in Yssingeaux (17kms). All the local towns and villages have weekly or bi-weekly markets. The route of the Camino (pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella from Geneva) runs about 200 meters from the gite and groups of pilgrims "pellerin" are a common sight in the area.


The village is on the edge of a plateau between the Dunieres and Lignon rivers. To the north the land falls steeply into the valley of the Dunieres. To the south the Lignon is dammed about 7 kms away to form the reservoir lake of La Vallette with its accompanying hydro electric plant.


At Barrage La Valette there is a sailing club where catamarans, sailing dinghies, rowing boats and pedalos can be hired. The lake has recently had its facilities overhauled and there is extensive car parking, a buoyed swimming area (with lifeguard in summer) and an attractive cafe. We offer sailing tuition by an RYA qualified instructor in our own boat for anyone who is interested.


The church in Montfaucon is renowned for its 12th century Flemish paintings. In Dunières is the start of the "Voi vert" a converted railway line that is a foot and cycle path. There is also a steam train, run by local enthusiasts, which travels between Montfaucon and St Agreve during the summer months and is a full day trip, with stops at Raucoules, Tence and Chambon sur Lignon. A "velo" rail system runs on the railway line around Dunieres some 16 kms of track being accessible on pedal driven cars. The area has numerous walking and cycle paths both local and national. All of these are well signposted and easy to follow varying in duration from short walks of 3-5 kms, to more strenuous walks of up to 20kms. Guide books for the local walks are available in the gite.


Within 50 kms

Le Puy en Velay is a fascinating city built around several volcanic plugs. One of which carries the statue of the Red Madonna while another has the "Aigullette" a church built directly on top of a spectacular spire of rock. In September it hosts the festival of the "Roi des Oisseaux" where the whole city turns out in medieval dress for an archery competition.


To the south lies the "Pays des Sucs" a range of conical hills and hidden valleys with wonderful views. In the winter there is cross country skiing at St Bonnet Le Froid and Les Estables and downhill at Les Estables.


West of Yssingeau are the Loire gorges and the town of Retournac. The gorges extend some 20 or so kilometres either side of the town and are a spectacular drive with stunning views. Canoe trips on the river are also available in the summer starting in Retournac and Vorey.


North is the city of Firminy which is the site of a number of Le Corbusier's earlier buildings and St Etienne with its UNESCO world heritage buildings, modern art gallery and mine museum.


To the east lies Annonay the home of the Montgolfier brothers, the inventors of the hot air balloon, and the Rhone valley with its vinyards.


More information is available on the site of the Haute Loire Tourist board at www.respirando.fr