The Pays d'Issoire agglomeration stands out for its rich and diverse tapestry of landscapes. Nestled between the Auvergne Volcano and Livradois-Forez regional natural parks, at the foot of Puy de Sancy, the Puys range, Cantal and Haute-Loire, it is the ideal starting point for exploring Auvergne from top to bottom. It boasts numerous treasures, ranging from villages perched on the heights such as Usson, which once hosted Margaret of Valois, and Montpeyroux, one of the most beautiful ones in France, to hidden gems such as the Cézallier plateau —known as "little Mongolia"— and the Brassac coal-mining area. The Château du Marchidial in Champeix and the Valley of Saints in Lembron are an integral part of the identity of the agglomeration. The Allier and its tributaries are the main artery of these verdant lands where cereals have been grown and livestock have grazed for centuries. The agglomeration also has a vibrant economy, especially in the field of aluminium and the aeronautics and industrial sectors: Issoire's racetrack and aerodrome bear witness to its attractiveness, as do the 500 people who move to the area every year.
It is the administrative centre of the agglomeration and a subprefecture of the Puy-de-Dôme department, where it occupies a strategic natural location at the confluence of the Allier and the Couze Pavin rivers. The economic capital of the Allier valley, sprawling across 1,969 hectares ranging from 360 to 560 metres above sea level, is quite the charming place: curved tiles, blond slates and facades painted in shades of blue or ochre fill with colour a town with narrow streets and small squares typical of southern landscapes in the shadow of Saint Austromoine's Abbey Church, a masterpiece of Romanesque art and the pride of the 15,214 people who call Issoire home. Issoire has a stellar track record when it comes to hosting and organising big popular events. It is worth stopping over for a day in "the Town on wheels" to discover the natural landscapes, heritage and associations that underpin its quality of life on an everyday basis.