With a surface area of 395,000 hectares, the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park is the biggest Regional Nature Park in mainland France! Straddling the departments of Puy-de-Dôme and Cantal, this vast territory is ideal for hiking and contains four volcanic massifs, which are the Chaîne des Puys, the Mounts of Dore, the Cézallier and the Mounts of Cantal, as well as an old granite plateau, the Artense.
In the department of Puy-de-Dôme, nature-lovers must be sure to explore the Chaîne des Puys range, whose most famous - and most frequented - site is the Puy de Dôme. There are exceptional views of the Auvergne volcanoes from the top! Further south, the top of the Puy de Sancy also offers a superb view, of the Mounts of Dore landscapes this time.
The Tuilière and Sanadoire rocks (remains of ancient volcanoes separated by the Fontsalade Valley), Lake Guéry (the highest lake in Auvergne), the Chaudefour Valley and its nature reserve, the Chambon, Pavin and Aydat lakes, the peaceful Cézallier mountains, or Murol Castle and the Romanesque churches of Orcival and Saint-Nectaire are some of the places worth discovering.
Places to visit: Vulcania, the European volcanology park, located near the Puy de Lemptegy in the municipality of Saint-Ours-les-Roches. This is a fun and interactive information centre devoted to the world of volcanoes and volcanic phenomena around the world.
To find out more about the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park, the Park House (Maison du Parc) at Montlosier Castle in Aydat offers plenty of information, exhibitions and themed hikes.