Visit to the Auvergne 

16 Dec

Returning home from Paris recently, I decided to break the journey half way and stay the night at Clermont-Ferrand. This medium-sized city is located in the Massif Central region. The Massif Central is an elevated region in the middle of southern France, consisting of mountains and plateaus. It covers approximately 15 percent of the country.

This is a volcanic area of which the Puy de Dôme is the highest volcano in the range known as the Chaîne des Puys. 

And it is possible to visit the summit of this impressive (and happily defunct) volcano. 

Puy de Dôme volcano

At the foot there is a visitor centre where one has a choice of methods for gaining the summit – a two and a half hour walk or a ride on a rack & pinion railway. Guess which I chose!

Brand new trains

The views on the way up are superb

Some of my fellow passengers where carrying massive backpacks which turned out to be hang gliders. This is one of the most popular places in France for hang gliding. One reason is that jumps can be made irrespective of the wind direction as the summit is perfectly circular. 

I had a thoroughly excellent day out at a very modest cost (the visit being heavily subsidised by the authorities – I believe building the brand new railway cost over €76 million).

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