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If it hadn't finally erupted millions of years ago, this would be Europe's largest volcano, even larger than Etna, with a surface area of over 2,700 m². Instead, the Cantal range was divided into six distinct areas, all of which now boast an outstanding site with a rich and attractive natural environment at all times of year and a cultural heritage which is as preciously protected as its natural resources. Discover fascinating localities in the Carladès, Cézallier, Lioran, Gentiane, Murat and Le Puy Mary areas, as you explore a huge variety of impressive landscapes and activities.
Credit where credit is due: the Cantal range exists thanks to the presence of Le Puy Mary (1,787m or 5,862 ft), which came into being as a result of massive erosion that also created the glacial valleys surrounding it. Listed as a "Grand Site de France", the history and the countless natural treasures of the mountain range are presented in the Maison de Site du pas de Peyrol (Peyrol Discovery Centre). And there are so many of them it’s hard to know where to begin!
The diversity of these landscapes comprised of lakes, pools, peat bogs, waterfalls and streams reminds us of the powerful and constant presence of water here. The woods and forests provide a marvellous leafy green environment. These well-preserved areas are home to a remarkable range of fauna and flora. During the autumn you can hear the belling of the stag while in the winter you can cross the snow-covered mountain forests or ski on the slopes at the Lioran resort. In the spring, take the time to admire the rebirth of the area's colourful plants and flowers while in the summer you can see marmots and wild mouflon sheep at first hand.
Up on the high grasslands (where we find the flower of the summer pastures, the gentian), the cow reigns supreme. Our high-quality cheeses, Cantal and Salers, are a source of local pride, not forgetting the delicious Saint-Nectaire, Bleu d'Auvergne and Fourme d'Ambert.
This age-old know-how is passed on just like the region’s other rich and varied craft traditions, from pottery to artistic ironwork, which we invite you to discover as you visit the charming local mountain villages brimming with character.
They also include a remarkable architectural heritage with Romanesque churches, castles, medieval villages and some exceptional traditional baking ovens and wayside crosses.
For those seeking originality, take a trip back in time on the Gentiane Express rail service at an altitude of more than 1,000 m (3,280 ft).
When you get back, why not sample some of the Cantal’s culinary delights such as: truffade, pounti, cheese, a cornet de Murat or a carré de Salers not forgetting a modest glass of gentian spirit as an aperitif.
Here in the Cantal Range you can expect conviviality and a festive atmosphere.
Take advantage of the festivals and events all year-round to discover, meet locals and enjoy a warm welcome from passionate residents.