Livradois Forez Regional Natural Park

The Livradois-Forez regional natural park was created in 1986 and covers 323,081 hectares of the Puy de Dome and Haute Loire departments, with 101,000 inhabitants in 180 communes.

The park consists of the mountains of the Forez and Livradois, and the valley in between - two long ranges of hills running north-south separating the Loire and Allier valleys.

The landscape does not lend itself to conventional agriculture, and the inhabitants of the area have long devoted themselves to other means of earning a living: making paper, knives, leather; weaving; mining. The industrial revolution and the associated depopulation of the rural areas has drastically reduced many of these traditional trades, and the area covered by the park is today struggling to find a balance between the old and the new.

The main towns of the park are:

  • Thiers, attractive medieval town, capital of the French knife industry
  • Ambert, famous for the "Fourme d'Ambert" cheese, and its paper-making factories

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