Each volcano of Auvergne is unique, but the Cantal volcano is the oldest one. Volcanologists estimate its age between -11 and -3 millions years. This stratovolcano is also the largest and the biggest one in all over Europe: its surface area measures 2770 square meters while its diameter is 70 Kilometers. Its tempestuous past has left its mark to future generations. High basaltic plateaus, cirques and glacial valleys, fertile farming and traditional architecture which were always well- adapted to its topography and climate are the today witnesses of its evolution.
The regional natural reserve of the Auvergne’s Volcanoes
The Cantal mountains, also known as the Cantalian volcano, are a part of the volcanic sites of the regional natural park of the Auvergne volcanoes. In a bend of a way, Naturalists will enjoy to meet with a mountain goat, a bighorn sheep or a woodchuck. Flora amateurs will be able to observe a yellow gentian, a « souffrée » anemone, a martagon lilly or the famous drosera, this peatland’s carnivorous plant. In fact,these natural spaces give shelter to a very well-preserved, rich and wild fauna and flora. A great « mountain culture », a particular way of living and a variety of « savoir-faire », are also to be discovered.
Volcano, are you sleeping ? According to Volcnologists, a volcano’s never off, it is only sleeping. But don’t worry ! Because Specialists are still monitoring the underground activity.
Wildlife amateurs will be glad to discover the Volcano by feet, by bike or by horse. The famous GR400 pathway circles around it, the GR4 passes through it, while the GTMC for ATVS bikes is returning back to it.
During the winter, the Volcano wears its white uniform and offers a large panel of snowing activities : downhill, nordic and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fatbiking.
- « Le Plomb du Cantal », highest peak of the county (1855 meters), offers a great panoramic view over the Cantalian massif.
- Placed up against its sides, the pass of « Prat de Bouc » (1392meters), is the ideal location to start a hike to discover it.
- At the top of « Puy Mary », great French site, which, seen from the skies, looks like a huge pyramid (1787meters), panoramas over the Cantalian Volcano are truly exceptional. Houses of sites and theirs various animations will help you to get a better perception of what this Giant used to be.
- The numerous waterfalls of the valley of Brezons, forming from volcanic lava-flows, will surely enchant your eyes.
- Land of farming and breeding, « Planèze » High Plateau gives havens to many birds species. Here, you’ll see far away, you’ll hike easily enjoying some pure air.
You may like
- To taste the specialty: the “Truffade”. A typical mountain house, called the “Buron”, will give you hospitality to enjoy this delicious potato and cheese meal.
- To observe the seasonal migration of the birds in autumn at the”Prat de Bouc’s” pass.
- To hike on one of our many pathways. A special mention to the activity called:”on the lookout for marmots” with a mountain guide on the summer (please have a look to our agenda for more information).
- The discovery guides of the Regional Natural Reserve of the Auvergne’s volcanoes: a very special and useful allies to carry everywhere with you.
- To discover the site of Rissergues, a hamlet of the 11th-century and the Lili’s attic, an exhibition room full of information about life in our mountains, both located in the village of Malbo.
- To travel on the volcano’s touristic roads that roam the mountain (car or motorcycle recommended).
Tourist Office of Saint-Flour – Pierrefort – +33 (0)4 71 23 38 04 or Saint-Flour – +33 (0)4 71 60 22 50