The Salt Fountain in the Chasteix-Sancy nature reserve

Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve

The Salt Fountain in the Chasteix-Sancy nature reserve

In the heart of the Massif du Sancy in Auvergne, the National Nature Reserve of Chastreix-Sancy invites you to enjoy its pure air and wide open spaces! Far from the crowds, you'll discover nature at its wildest and a precious haven of biodiversity that deserves absolute respect.

Where is the Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve?

The National Nature Reserve of Chastreix-Sancy covers a vast 1,895 hectares. It straddles several villages on the southern side of the Sancy massif: Chastreix, Picherande, Le Mont-Dore, Besse-et-Saint-Anastaise and Chambon-sur-Lac.

At elevations ranging from 1,080 to 1,886 metres, it features craggy peaks, peatland plateaus and flower-festooned pastures.

The Fontaine Salée glacial corrie lies at the heart of the Reserve. A magnificent wilderness!

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Cirque de la Fontaine Salée in Chastreix-Sancy nature reserve

Cirque de la Fontaine Salée in Chastreix-Sancy nature reserve

The Salt Fountain in Chasteix-Sancy Nature Reserve

The Salt Fountain in Chasteix-Sancy Nature Reserve

Cirque de la Fontaine Salée in Chastreix-Sancy nature reserve

Cirque de la Fontaine Salée in Chastreix-Sancy nature reserve

The flora here is exceptional: The 1,058 recorded species include 121 that are rare and/or protected in France, and 2 that can be seen nowhere else in the world, Auvergne biscutella and Lamotte saxifrage.

The wildlife is mainly mountain dwelling: mouflons, chamois, marmots and deer. There are also more than 130 species of birds including the rock thrush, the alpine accentor, the ring ouzel and 60 species of butterfly including the Apollo and the violet copper.

Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve

Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve

Hiking in the Reserve

There are several access routes to the Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve where hikers have three local hiking trails at their disposal as well as the GR4 and GR30 long-distance itineraries that explore the Massif du Sancy summits.

You can hike unguided within the Reserve or call upon the expertise of a mountain leader. A good way to discover all the gems hidden in the Reserve.

Book a guided walk

Hiking in Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve

Hiking in Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve

Alternatively, why not try this adventure on horseback?

Your new companion will take you exploring the Reserve to admire its spectacular panoramic views from a brand new angle. There are, however, a few conditions for horse-riders.

Rides are organised from Chastreix by Sancy Cheval

Discover Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve on horseback

Discover Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve on horseback

Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve Center

This information and exhibition venue can be found in the village of Chastreix. In summer it hosts conferences and organises nature excursions and opportunities to meet the Reserve wardens, so that visitors can be informed and made aware of the need to protect the massif’s fauna and flora.

There are also exhibitions with magnificent photos of all this wildlife.

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Added bonus

Every Tuesday in July and August, visitors will find a “warden info point” at the Col de la Cabane on the Sancy summits. Wardens from the Nature Reserve and the Volcans d’Auvergne Regional Park await you with brochures, a telescope and books about the local fauna and flora. 

Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve Center

Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve Center

Exhibitions in Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve Center

Exhibitions in Chastreix-Sancy National Nature Reserve Center

Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve Center

Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve Center

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Let's respect a code of good conduct to preserve this fragile and precious natural heritage!

The Reserve's regulations mainly prohibit

  • work
  • the introduction of animal and plant species
  • the dumping of rubbish and litter
  • dogs, except when kept on a lead on the GR30 route (with the exception of farmers' working dogs and hunting dogs during the opening period)
  • bivouacs and fires
  • picking, except for family
  • picking of edible berries and mushrooms
  • sports activities, except for hiking, horse riding, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, paragliding, hang-gliding and hot-air ballooning
  • bird hunting
  • motor vehicles, with some exceptions
  • overflight by motorised vehicles at less than 300m from the ground (including drones).

Did you Know...?

The Chastreix-Sancy Nature Reserve is fragile and we are all responsible for this treasure.

Respecting the fauna and flora in the Reserve

Respecting the fauna and flora in the Reserve

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