WALKING IN THE AUVERGNE (CICERONE)
42 WALKS IN VOLCANO COUNTRY
RACHEL CROLLA, CARL MCKEATING
This guidebook to the Auvergne describes 42 walks between 5 and 20km, helping walkers to explore an often-forgotten region in central France. Five areas are covered: Cantal, Chaine des Puys, Mont Dores, Haute-Loire and Montagne Bourbonnaise. The volcanic geography provides a stunning backdrop. Bases in Vichy, Clermont-Ferrand and Puy-en-Velay.
An ancient volcanic landscape formed over 70,000 years ago, the Auvergne offers a wealth of accessible walking against a backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery.
The Auvergne region rises out of the Massif Central and spans the area from the spa towns of Vichy and Clermont-Ferrand to the historic Le Puy-en-Velay. The landscape bears witness to the seismic volcanic eruptions of bygone ages, the result of which is that the area boasts mountainous terrain set alongside a wealth of more gentle ground, all of which is open to exploration and discovery.
The majority of the terrain offers a variety of walking well within the scope of those accustomed to hiking in Britain. The accessible height (from 1,000m to 1,900m) of the volcanic peaks in the Cantal and Monts Dore means there are interesting objectives for those seeking both easy and challenging excursions into the mountains.
The walks are grouped around five areas, as follows:
The Cantal offers steep and dramatic peaks, but these are relatively easy to achieve a circular route to the summit and back can take just a little under three hours.
The Chaîne des Puys (Monts Dômes) is home to the very distinctive dome-shaped mountains, the highest of which (Puy de Dôme) is just 1,465m. For a city base, Clermont-Ferrand is an ideal choice, while the village of Orcival offers a quieter option.
The Monts Dore has topography that favours multi-peak ridge crest link-ups, and its location means that it can be explored from the same bases as suggested for the Chaîne des Puys.
The Haute-Loire offers gentle hiking options, with many cultural and historical sites to visit en route.
The Montagne Bourbonnaise is likewise an area for mild strolls of only a couple of hours and with little ascent a perfect destination to escape from a hectic 21st-century lifestyle.
42 day walks in five areas of rural France
illustrated with clear sketch maps and colour photographs
with all the background information you need to plan your trip, including a useful walkers glossary