Located at the heart of the old province of Bourbonnais, the town of Montluçon has retained many traces of its medieval period. Its historical centre, as picturesque as you could wish for with its side streets dotted with old timber-framed houses, is dominated by the imposing form of the main building of the Castle of the Dukes of Bourbon. The latter, flanked by a square keep, clock tower and Italian-style gallery, houses the Museum of Popular Music, an exhibition space with over 800 instruments, an eclectic selection to say the least, including a large collection of hurdy-gurdies! At the approach to the museum, the castle esplanade with orientation table offers a beautiful view of the roofs and bell towers of the town.
Below the fortifications, the discovery of Montluçon continues as you explore its medieval squares and side streets, dotted with remarkable monuments such as the house of the Twelve Apostles, the Deanery passage and the Churches of Our Lady and St. Peter.
Erected in the 11th and 12th centuries, the Romanesque Church of St. Peter contains a splendid statue of St. Magdalene from the late 15th century. The Church of Our Lady, built in the 15th century, contains a figure of Jesus Christ with stone bonds from the 15th century, as well as a statue of Our Lady of Montluçon from the 17th century.
Not far from there is a pleasant green area that's ideal for a stopover, and Wilson Gardens, adorned with pretty French-style parterres.
On Saturday morning, market day, the old town of Montluçon is especially lively, with its many stands selling fresh local produce. A fine range of colours and flavours!
When it comes to festivities, there are two big events to put in your diaries: the carnival in Bœuf Villé, every year in March; and the medieval festival, every two years in July.