Welcome on Auvergne’s rooftop! The Puy de Sancy, a majestic volcano, is peaking at 1886 meters (6.188 feet) on top of the Massif Central. Good idea for a staple hiking: the Puy de Sancy’s ascent. At the top, a 360° panorama view so you can see 1/7th of France territory. Your gaze will follow the crest line… A new hike is necessary!
It may look like nothing more than an unusual mountain range at first glance, but the Massif du Sancy is indeed volcanic. In fact, it is a stratovolcano resulting from a cluster of interlocked volcanoes that went through non-simultaneous eruption phases.
The formation of Puy de Sancy began some 5 million years ago and continued until about 250,000 years ago. This slow formation allowed time for all manner of eruptions, which explains the region’s huge diversity of rocks, materials and landscapes. The varying scenery includes rounded summits, vast plains and sharp peaks, all waiting to be explored.
The hiking trails of Auvergne include routes up Puy de Sancy from Super Besse, Le Mont-Dore, Chastreix-Sancy and the Chaudefour Valley. If it’s wide open spaces you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. Puy de Sancy stands in the heart of 3 National Nature Reserves that safeguard the landscapes as well as the remarkable fauna and flora.
From the top of Puy de Sancy, you’ll enjoy a 360° panorama and views over the Chaîne des Puys, the Mounts of Cantal and the Mounts of Forez.
Grab your hiking shoes, download the Sancy Explorer guidance app and take to the trails leading to the top of Puy de Sancy, the highest volcano in mainland France.
To help protect our natural spaces, please stay on the waymarked paths.
If you’re worn out just by the thought of walking uphill, opt for the Sancy cable car in Le Mont-Dore or the Perdrix cable car in Super-Besse.
The Mont-Dore cable car offers a dizzying ride, climbing 450 metres in under 4 minutes, followed by a walk of about 20 minutes up Puy de Sancy via a series of wooden steps leading to the top at 1,886 metres above sea level. Along the way, viewpoint indicators and information panels present the wildlife and plants that can be seen here, as well as the surrounding volcanoes.
The Mont-Dore cable car was one of the first to operate in France. It went into service in 1936, making Le Mont-Dore the third most popular winter sports resort in France. An easy and pleasant way to visit the highest summit in the Massif Central.
The Perdrix cable car in Super Besse starts at an elevation of 1,320 metres and climbs to 1,800 metres, at the foot of the Puy de la Perdrix mountain (1,854 metres). In summer, it offers easy access to the top of Puy de Sancy, in an 8-minute ride followed by a gentle 40-minute climb on foot.
The summit offers a stunning view over the Chaudefour Valley Nature Reserve. Keep your eyes peeled, as mouflons love this site dotted with volcanic pitons.
Did you know?
Puy de Sancy used to go by the name of Puy de la Croix, because an iron cross (“croix” in French) stood at its summit. People made pilgrimage trips there in the month of May, to pray for good weather. The parish of Saint Donat went there every 6th August, St. Sixtus Day. People got into the habit of calling the mountain Puy de Saint Sixte (or in the local patois, “Pé de San Sixte”). This name was soon mispronounced as “Sancy”. These days, on 6th August, a guided hike is organised every year from each of the Massif du Sancy villages, and everyone meets at the top to raise a glass to Puy de Sancy, the region’s highest mountain.