From crazy golf to fun pedal vehicles called rosalies, off-road bikes to rail-ride tracks, recreational games to snow-shoe hiking, Cantal is full to the brim with activities suited to the whole family. We spoke to Philippe Guilhen who runs the leisure park in Vic-sur-Cère and ask him to share some of his ideas for things to do and see in the area.
The summer season has just begun and when we arrive at the P’tit Kiosque de la Cère, a leisure park located a stone’s throw away from Vic sur Cère’s historic centre, Philippe is carefully repainting the sixteen slopes of the crazy golf course. After working as a mountain guide for 20 years, Philippe has lovingly transformed what was once the tourist information office with its beautiful stone slab roof, into the central point of a mini leisure park. There is a wide range of activities on offer based on three main themes and, with his warm smile, Philippe fills me in on how families can spend a fun afternoon at the P’tit Kiosque de la Cère.
The crazy golf course is well worth trying out, with its beautifully built models of local landmarks and sites throughout Cantal.
“I have placed QR codes on all the models so that visitors can access information about the different locations,” explains Philippe, who also accompanies visitors on guided coach tours. The fun thing about crazy golf is that you can play it on your own or in a team. It’s a game of skill, not strength and I’m always touched by how much grandparents enjoy playing it with their grandchildren! On average, count one and a half hours to complete the course.”
The place is open daily in July and August, and by reservation for groups in spring and autumn.
With a trampoline, large inflatable structures, table tennis, a mini bowling alley, croquet and mini “horse-drawn” tricycles to choose from, children will have no difficulty having fun all day long at the mini leisure park. “If they can’t fit everything in, then they can always come back,” Philippe explains. “The park is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer! I want people to enjoy their time here at their own pace and so I deliberately make things as simple as possible.”
There is a great range of equipment for rent at the leisure park: off-road bikes, rosalies (4 and 2 seats) and the classy chopper bikes (off-road pedal go-karts for two)!
“I have even invested in an electrically powered rosalie vehicle,” says Philippe enthusiastically as he describes the circuits on offer in Vic-sur-Cère. “With the ordinary rosalies and chopper bikes, you simply follow the signs on a peaceful, green circuit that begins around the grounds of the large park. You then make your way towards the Vialard watermill along the shady footpaths running along the River Cère. With the electrically assisted rosalie, you can embark on a longer circuit that takes you to the Pas de Cère Gorges. This trip involves a short walk to get to the Pas de Cère site itself and you can even enjoy a picnic along the way!”
Philippe has all sorts of tips and ideas of places to go in Cantal and is very happy to share what he knows with holidaymakers and their families. “Vic-sur-Cère, with its population of 2,000 inhabitants, has excellent facilities, including a vast recreational park and heated outdoor swimming pools. The highlight of the summer is the festival on the 15 August bank holiday. You’ll also come across a multitude of other local fetes over the weekends in the surrounding villages. You can play petanque, fish for Louisiana crayfish, have a go at downhill mountain biking on the slopes of the Lioran resort or try the rail-ride tracks for a fun outing. You may also decide to begin the day by going for a swim at the lake at Saint-Etienne-Cantalès, the largest man-made reservoir in Auvergne, that is partly used for recreational purposes and supervised bathing at the beaches with lifeguards. Another idea could be a day canoeing down the River Lot between the beautiful villages of Viellevie and Entraygues. You could also try out canyoning in the valley of the River Jordanne valley or even the giant zip line above the Lac des Graves.”
Philippe is a qualified instructor in Nordic walking and a mountain guide. He proposes accompanied snow-shoe hikes at the Lioran ski resort throughout the winter months. “You can choose from all sorts of different walks: a gentle snow-shoe hike, or a snow-shoe hike suitable for all the family where we take the time to look out for animal tracks and wildlife and play at being mountain trappers! Or how about a hike at dusk or even at night followed by the chance to taste the best of local dishes such as the delicious potato bake known as truffade.”
le 10 December 2019