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.