Your holiday in Auvergne
A hike on the Chaîne des Puys, a ski trip on volcanoes slopes, a castle visit or a medieval city and the food specialties in Auvergne, you can find everything you want for all ages. So don’t think twice and come spend your holiday in Auvergne!
The Puy de Sancy
The Puy de Sancy (1886m) is the highest peak in the Massif Central and towers over the volcanic expanse of the Monts Dores. Sheer cliffs and gently sloping hills, the Alpine-like summits are visible for dozens of kilometres around. Magnificent views over glacial valleys and sharp ridges as well as the volcanic ranges of Cantal or the Chaîne des Puys. If the weather is fine, you can even see the Alps!
The Perdrix cable car, leaving from Super-Besse will take you to the Puy de Sancy via the southern slope. A marked route runs along the Sancy ridges; allow a day to walk along it.
The Chaîne des Puys
The round and green volcanoes you may have seen on the Volvic mineral water adverts are located in the Chaîne des Puys, to the north of the Massif du Sancy.
The Chaîne des Puys extends for 40km and includes 80 volcanoes of various kinds: domes (the Puy de Dôme, the highest point of the Chaîne des Puys and symbol of the Puy-de-Dôme department), cinder cones (the Puy de Pariou) and crater lakes (Lac Pavin). With its round, gently sloping volcanoes, the Chaîne des Puys is the perfect place for some beautiful hikes.
The site of the Puy de Dôme has special status as a ‘Grand Site de France’ (Great French Site),
A classification which takes into account sustainable development, protection of the landscapes and the ‘spirit of the place’, the quality of hospitality the public receives, the participation of the local inhabitants and partners to the life of the ‘Grand Site’.
From the Col de Ceyssat, take the mule trail, a former Roman road, to reach the summit of the Puy de Dôme on foot.
Nature reserve and Parks
Natural Park of the Auvergne Volcanoes
The largest and one of the oldest natural parks in France, the goal of the Auvergne Volcanoes park is the protection and promotion of the vast inhabited rural areas, with an approach centred on sustainable development for today and the future.
It stretches over 2 departments (Puy-de-Dôme and Cantal) and includes 4 volcanic ranges: Chaîne des Puys (Puy de Dôme, 1465m), Monts Dore (Puy de Sancy, 1886m), Cézallier (Signal du Luguet, 1551m) and Monts du Cantal (Plomb du Cantal, 1855m).
Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve
Incredible landscapes, wild natural beauty, exceptional flora and remarkable fauna, extinct volcanoes… The Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve is a microcosm of the Auvergne mountains.
This valley became a listed natural site in 2007. It measures 1895ha and includes 45 environments: cliff, lawn and Alpine meadow plant species (very rare in the Auvergne), magnificent bogs, beautiful beech groves, thickets of downy willow (a protected species in France)…
Don’t miss: the source of the Fontaine Salée, bogs, the sharp ridges of the Sancy.
Access: 3 ‘Petite Randonnée’ footpaths cross the reserve, as well as the GR30 and GR4 which run across the ridges of the massif. One is a loop of the Chaudefour Valley, while the others leave from Chastreix or from Chareire in Picherande.
Chaudefour Valley Reserve
The Chaudefour Valley corrie is one of Auvergne’s most beautiful glacial valleys. This valley measures 820.5 ha and became a listed natural site in 1991; it is famous for its sharp and spectacular levees; volcanic dykes revealed by erosion: ‘la Dent de la Rancune’ (The Grudge’s Tooth), ‘la Crête du Coq’ (The Cock’s Crest), ‘l’Aiguille du Moine’ (The Monk’s Needle).
The combined effect of the altitude (1150-1854m), the steepness of the slopes and their orientation, and the continued use of agropastoral practices has created many diverse environments, which together make up a site of great ecological interest.
It has a wide variety of flowers (the Welsh poppy, downy willow, Auvergne dwarf sheepsbit…) and animals (Corsican mouflon, chamois, roe deer, stoat, Peregrine falcon…).
Don’t miss: the Dent de la Rancune, the Crête du Coq, the waterfalls and springs including the Sainte Anne spring with its ferruginous, sodium-filled, carbonated water.
A footpath from the visitor centre gives access to the site.
Sagnes Godivelle Nature Reserve
With its two peat bogs, the Sagnes Godivelle Nature Reserve is a wonderful treasure. It welcomes more than 1500 animal and plant species very rare, more present in Northern Europe. If you want to discover the reserve, push the Maison de la reserve’s door and walk in the path, next to Lower Lake, eight signs are showing the fauna, the flora and the landscapes of the Reserve.