10 things to do with your family

1. The castle of Montrond les Bains and its visit in period costume

The castle of Montrond-les-Bains was built by the Counts of Forez in the 12th century. Located in the southern part of Forez and perched on a basaltic eminence overlooking the Loire, this building was intended to ensure the security of the region.
In 1302, it was the property of Arthaud de St Germain whose family took the name of Apchon in the 15th century. Remodeled during the Renaissance, the medieval castle was then transformed into a place of festivities.

Today, in spite of a part in ruins, the castle remains in good condition. You can admire a medieval crane used by the builders of the Middle Ages. Several activities are offered: guided tours, discovery tours, a museum about the Renaissance and a second museum about the post office. Finally, from Easter to September, many events are organized: medieval animations, exhibitions, open-air cinema, etc.

Castle of Montrond-les-Bains
116 promenade Marguerite d'Albon
42210 Montrond-les-Bains
Tel : 04 77 94 64 74

2. The zoo of Saint Martin La Plaine

The zoo of Saint Martin La Plaine
The Saint Martin la Plaine zoo is a zoo located 30 minutes from the castle. Created in 1972, this zoo has for vocation to take in injured, abandoned or mistreated wild animals.

In 1974, their founders, Pierre and Eliane Thivillon, had the opportunity to welcome a gorilla. This was the beginning of the zoo's specialization in primates and their reproduction. The St Martin la Plaine zoo has a reputation for the many gorillas that can be seen in its huge greenhouses and outdoor areas.

The Saint Martin la Plaine zoo is home to other animal species. In addition to the gorillas, you can discover about twenty species of primates as well as felines and birds. A vivarium also houses reptiles.

In addition, in 2007, the Saint Martin la Plaine zoo set up a unique reception structure in France with the Tonga association: this structure allows primates and felines seized by the authorities to be taken in, thus preventing these animals from being euthanized.

In short, by going to the Saint Martin la Plaine zoo, you will discover animals with your family, including the famous gorillas, but moreover, with your entrance ticket, you will participate in a program to save the animals collected by the association.

And if you want to go further, you can also help the zoo of Saint Martin la Plaine in its will to protect animals by sponsoring an animal.
Duration of the visit: between 2 and 3 hours minimum (2 km of course approximately). The visit is done on foot. Pets are not allowed in the park.
You can enjoy a day in the park whatever the season, it is open all year round, including weekends and holidays from 9am to 6pm.


3. La volerie du Forez

In the romantic setting of the château St Anne, in Marcilly-le-Chatel, stands the Volerie du Forez. The current ruins testify of a tormented history. The castle, mentioned in 1010, was dismantled by Richelieu. Bought in the 19th century, rebuilt then left to the abandonment, it is now only ruins, passed to the hands of a company which organizes shows and animations.

Birds of prey, owls and parrots occupy the place for fascinating demonstrations. Falconry is honored on this height of Forez.
Volerie du Forez
1540 Route de Saint-Anne
42130 Marcilly-le-Châtel
Tel : 04 77 97 59 14

4. The castle of Bouthéon and its small animal park

The Domaine du Château de Bouthéon, former residence of the Bourbon (15th century) and Gadagne (16th century) families, redesigned in the 19th century, opens its doors to you and offers you an initiatory journey to discover the richness of the Loire heritage and the culture of the Forézienne.
The visit of the castle allows you to discover the history and the restoration of this majestic residence. But above all, the visit makes you go through the Centre d'Interprétation du Forez, an incredible museum on the Forez. From now on, you can also go and meet the fish of the Loire in the aquariums of the Loire River Interpretation Center.
Be careful however, for the lovers of decorative arts, you can only be disappointed. Indeed the castle is not furnished anymore!
The Park of the Château de Bouthéon invites you to meet the animal and vegetable world for a total communion with nature.
Thus, along the paths, in an enchanting setting, in addition to a collection of remarkable trees, you will come across forgotten or rare animal breeds: neo-aurochs, Rove goats, Auxois draught horses, Bourbonnais donkeys, Milanese curly pigeons... Divided into thematic gardens, the plant collection offers the opportunity to discover in particular a French garden, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, a bamboo grove, an orchard, a collection of oaks, a square of aromatic and medicinal plants, a collection of red fruits, cereal crops...
The park also has ponds, a pond, a kiosk, pavilions, a reconstituted Forézienne farm, wooded areas and permanent meadows.
All the species, botanical varieties and horticultural environments are identified and presented to the public thanks to information panels and studs.

Opening hours:
From 15/09 to 14/06: open every day from 2pm to 6pm.
From 15/06 to 14/09: open every day from 10am to 7pm.
Closed on December 25 and January 1.

Castle of Bouthéon
Rue Mathieu de Bourbon
42160 Andrézieux-Bouthéon
Tel : 04 77 55 78 00

5. The Mine Museum

Just a stone's throw from downtown Saint Etienne, the Puits Couriot, a listed historic monument, evokes the history of the city around coal, but also the evolution of coal mining, from its beginnings to the present day.
The development of the site, with its headframe and its two slag heaps, has preserved the traces of the work of men. The emotion is present everywhere. The large washbasin, the compressor room, the hanging room and the main areas of the shaft have been preserved in their original state. The museum offers a tour of the underground mining gallery. Once equipped with a helmet, you go down to the "bottom", to then take the mine train, and discover the reconstructed gallery, walking from work site to work site, to feel and understand the difficult work of the miners, and this over the centuries. Once back in the "day", the visit ends in front of the imposing installations of the extraction machine room, real heart of the mine.
It is strongly recommended to book your visit at least 24 hours in advance via the museum's website.

Couriot shaft
Mine Museum Park
3 Boulevard Maréchal Franchet D'esperey
42000 Saint-Etienne
Tel : 04 77 43 83 23

6. The Vulcania park

Vulcania is a fun theme park and an amusement park that focuses on scientific issues, allowing a better understanding of the functioning of volcanoes and our planet. Located in the Puy-de-Dôme, 15 km northwest of Clermont-Ferrand, this park created in 2002 is located in the middle of nature, but is mainly based indoors. It develops an educational vocation above all. The architecture is based on the theme of volcanoes, with an entrance and a layout that is superbly integrated into the natural environment, remarkable! In 2021, the Vulcania park launched its first "Namazu" rollercoaster and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022.

2 Route de Mazayes 63230 Saint-Ours
Tel : 04 73 19 70 00

7. The adventure of the train

Did you know that the first railroad line in Europe dates back to 1827 and was built in the Loire, between Saint-Etienne and Andrézieux? The good idea? Relive this history in the company of the railroad pioneers! Get into the wagons, the locomotive is about to leave. Open your eyes and ears for a digital and immersive show, followed by a ride on a small train to visit the remains of the terminus of the line on the banks of the Loire. Ready for an hour and a half of time travel? Then get in the car, the train adventure starts here!

L'Aventure du Train
23 Avenue Jean Martouret, Andrézieux-Bouthéon, France
Tel : 07 64 61 54 32

8. The planetarium of Saint Etienne

Inaugurated in 1993, the planetarium of Saint-Etienne is a showcase for the technical and technological know-how of Saint-Etienne and contributes to the dynamism of the scientific, technical and industrial culture of our territory.
Equipped with a projection room with a half-sphere screen of more than 200 m², it was equipped in 2003 with a full digital video astronomical simulation system, and in January 2012 became the first French planetarium to have a 3D projection system.

The planetarium of Saint-Etienne is recognized for the quality of its animations and films that it produces. Several of them, including "The Blind Man with Starry Eyes", "Polaris" and "Lucia, the Secret of the Shooting Stars" have been awarded international prizes in Korea, Russia and the Czech Republic.
The planetarium's sessions are offered in two parts: a film in 2 or 3D followed by a presentation of the sky in real time during which a scientific animator transports the spectators to the farthest reaches of space thanks to immersive and striking 3D effects.

Planetarium of Saint-Étienne Espace Fauriel - 28 rue Pierre et Dominique Ponchardier 42100 Saint-Étienne

Tel : 04 77 33 43 01

[email protected]

9. Accrobranches

Several companies propose beautiful courses not far from the castle:

Forez aventure
74 Chem. des Giraudières
42170 Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert
Tel : 06 30 63 56 44

Acrosbois Pilat
Les Trois Croix
42220 La Versanne
Tel : 04 82 29 80 01

10. Canyoning

Want to test new sensations, Thomas Tarit, state graduate, takes you to discover a magical place: the canyon of Dardanet. You will take advantage of all the supervision to cross the waterfalls, the basins, the slides of this 100% fun canyon.
Equipped with neoprene wetsuits, harnesses and your helmet, you will taste the joys of canyoning techniques. You will learn to abseil on your rope to cross the 11 waterfalls of this wonderful site. You will also share a total immersion in an unforgettable ecosystem, rich in ecology.

From 01/05 to 30/06/2023 Single price: 40 € (per person, half day). From 01/10 to 31/10/2023 Single price: 40 € (per person, half day). Equipment provided.

Thomas Tarit
Tel : 06 58 08 19 99