About Besse et Saint-Anastaise

A medieval town to get lost in

Welcome to Besse et Saint-Anastaise

Once a fortified town, Besse has retained its narrow, cobbled streets, its shops, its beautiful lava stone houses with red shutters, its flowery fountains, … A walk through the maze of small streets is an unforgettable journey into the Middle Ages!

A strategic crossroads between the plain of the Limagne and the mountains of the Massif du Sancy: it was this ideal spot, where Besse was born in the 12th century and was able to grow into a prosperous trading centre. In 1270, Besse obtained a number of freedoms for its inhabitants, including the right to elect two consuls every year. In the absence of nobles, it was the bourgeoisie, merchants, scholars and lawyers who dominated the “free” city.

In the 15th century, the city was surrounded by fortifications to protect itself but also to assert its role as a commercial, wealthy and prosperous city. Besse entered the royal domain in the 16th century through Catherine de Médicis, heiress to the lords of the Tour d’Auvergne. For the rest of the story, visit the site of the town of Besse.

To visit the historic centre of Besse, the 14 panels, spread throughout the centre, give an overview of the city’s sights. The city map with the guided tour is available for free at the Besse Tourist Office (Rue Notre Dame 13).

Guided tours and theatre tours are organised during the summer season.

France’s first Ski Museum and weekly market

In one of the most beautiful vaulted rooms of the Queen Margaret House at 11 Rue des Boucheries, ski and winter sports enthusiasts will find a unique ski museum, with an interesting collection of wooden skis from all over Europe, plus sledges, skates, bobsleds, etc. You will also learn about the origins of skiing – which began 2,500 years before Christ.
“The place to be” on Monday mornings: the Besse market, one of the most important in Sancy.
(Source: https://www.sancy.com/destination/toutes-les-communes/besse/besse-cite-historique/)

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