This is where the story begins...
The largest volcano in Europe
The Monts du Cantal, also known as the Cantal volcano, are part of the volcanic sites within the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park. For nature lovers, there are lots of animals and plant species to discover while out exploring the area. Look out for chamois, mountain sheep known as moufflons and marmots. For plant lovers, you can admire yellow gentian, yellow alpine pasqueflowers, beautiful martagon lilies or the carnivorous droseras that thrive on peatland in the area. The area is protected, unspoilt and a natural home to a vast range of wild animals and plant species. While you are here, you can also immerse yourself in the spirit of this mountain area, learn all about local life and discover the traditions and know-how passed down over generations
- The breath taking panoramic view over the Massif Cantalien from the top of the Plomb du Cantal, the highest summit in Cantal at a height of 1,855 metres.
- The Prat de Bouc mountain pass (accessible by car) at an altitude of 1,392 metres. It is the ideal starting point to reach the Plomb du Cantal on foot.
- The iconic Puy Mary, Grand Site de France, a magnificent peak that looks like a huge pyramid when seen from the sky that culminates at a height of 1,787 metres. The panoramic view over the Monts du Cantal is stunning. The Visitor Information Centres (Maisons du Site) in different sites around the Puy Mary put on many displays and activities on a variety of themes that provide a fascinating insight into how the landscape was formed, the wildlife and plant species and the area’s cultural and natural heritage.
- The Brezons valley and its many beautiful waterfalls formed by volcanic lava flows.
- The Planèze plateau, a high plateau used for farming and animal breeding. The hedges, copses and wetland areas provide a haven for many species of birds. Vast open spaces lie before you and there is a wide choice of easy walks to enjoy on this stunning plateau.
The gorges of the River Truyère
A visit to this area while here in Auvergne is not to be missed. The River Truyère begins its journey in Margueride and its flow has resulted in the formation of deep and spectacular gorges. Three large man-made lakes have been built, Garabit-Grandval, Lanau and Sarrans. Covering a total length of 75 kilometres and a total surface area of 2,300 hectares, these three reservoirs blend into the natural landscape very well and with the dams, they are remarkable heritage sites.
The site of Garabit and Garabit Viaduct, an impressive iron viaduct built by Gustave Eiffel, is one of the gateways into this region. Visitors will be struck by the contrast with the landscape of the Monts du Cantal mountain range formed by volcanic activity. Here the Gorges of the River Truyère offer a majestic beauty with islands, peninsulas and lush valleys to admire and a wealth of picturesque and medieval sites to explore along the way. An amazing and unique experience.
- The view over the Garabit Viaduct, by day or lit-up at night
- Alleuze Castlehigh up on a rocky peak
- The multiple arch dam of Grandval and also Sarrans dam with the 8thlargest water reservoir in France
- The picturesque villages of Chaliers and Saint-Just
- The breath-taking panorama from the Cirque de Mallet in Fridefont
- Towards Sarrans, the village of Sainte-Marie, the Treboul bridge, the Vezou viewing platform, the rocher de Turlande, before making your way down to visit the Presqu’île de Laussac, a pretty peninsula on the Lac de Sarrans.
The Aubrac, a natural regional park
Aubrac is symbolized by stunning landscapes and ever-changing light. It is also where the Aubrac breed of cattle originates from and covers a vast area made up of woodland, pastures and farm shelters. The highest peak in Aubrac culminates at an altitude of 1,469 metres. If you are visiting the area during the summer, you will get the chance to observe the transhumance, when cattle make their way to the higher mountain pastureland. If you are here during wintertime, the landscape is transformed into a Nordic scene where cross-country skiing is extremely popular. If you are a food-lover, you will particularly enjoy local specialities such as aligot, thé d’Aubrac and gentian liquor.
- The village of Saint-Urcizeand its Romanesque church, ranked amongst the “Petites Cités de Caractère”.
- The special area of conservation (Espace Naturel Sensible) of the Puy de la Tuile, a peak offering a wonderful 360° panorama.
- Deroc waterfall and the Routes des Lacs, a superb road taking in four beautiful wild lakes.
- The village of Aubrac and the Maison de l’Aubrac, a visitor centre with audio-visual displays, an exhibition area, an eating area serving local specialities, and a botanical garden.
- The spa town of Chaudes-Aigueswhere hot water rises to the surface at a temperature of 82°C.
- The Gorges of the River Bès
- The village of Laguiole with its famous statue of a bull, knife production and the Jeune Montagne cheese cooperative offering guided visits and tasting sessions.
Margeride, Lozère and Gévaudan region
With the Gorges of the River Allier to the east and the Aubrac plateau to the west, the Massif de la Margueride is still quite secret, hidden almost under vast forests full of fir trees. The mountain here has gentle slopes that culminate at the Signal de Randon at an altitude of 1,551 metres and that is actually in the département of Lozère.
It’s an area that is mainly covered in broom, blueberry bushes, and forests of beech trees in the south. In the north on the other hand, there are vast forests of mighty Silver firs and Norway spruces.
There is also a superb ridge offering visitors a breath-taking panorama over the Monts du Cantal mountain range, the Aubrac plateau, the Monts du Velay mountain range and the Massif du Sancy. Here, the Massif Central spreads out before you.
- The three unique sites that make up the Ecomusee de Margueride : Pierre Allègre’s farm, Saint-Martin’s garden and Clémence Fontille’s school.
- The Musée de la Résistance de Mont-Mouchet, a museum to commemorate the events that took place here during the Second World War and the Mont-Mouchet resistance movement. Visitors can also go to the Mont-Mouchet memorial site.
- The breath-taking view at an altitude of 1,500 metres from the Mont-Mouchet view indicator.
- A visit around the village of Saint-Just with its beautiful houses in pale grey granite stone.
- The Calvaire de Recoux, three magnificent crosses with a superb view over an impressive mass of granite boulders and the beautiful surrounding countryside.