Part of the Cantal department is protected by the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park. Easily accessible from the Pays de Peyrol, the highest road pass in the Massif Central, the summit of the green pyramid of Puy Mary (1,787 m) offers a superb volcanic panorama. On a clear day you can even see the Mont-Blanc in the Alps. All around, seven glacial valleys start from this Grand Site de France.
On the slopes of the Plomb du Cantal (1,855 m), the resort of Le Lioran offers a wide range of sporting activities in all seasons. At the foot of the northern slope, a monumental statue of Notre-Dame d'Auvergne watches over the destiny of the historic town of Murat.
Built by Gustave Eiffel in 1184, the red Garabit viaduct spans the Truyère gorges. At 565 m long and 122 m high, it is a spectacular structure, not far from the Margeride forest. The sunken valley forms an immense body of water with very jagged coastlines. Then climb up on the volcanic spur of the remarkable perched city of Saint-Flour.
Passing through the Jordanne valley or the Cère valley, join in the entertainment in Aurillac, the capital of Cantal. Several centuries of history can be read on the facades of the old houses around the abbey church of Saint-Géraud, the Château Saint-Étienne and the volcano museum. In 999, Gerbert d'Aurillac became the first French pope, under the name of Sylvestre II, and contributed to the town's fame.
Villages with character
Belfry, turrets, ramparts, squares and slate roofs make up Salers, perched on a hillock north of Aurillac. The famous cows with their red coat and lyre-shaped horns occupy the surrounding flowery meadows to produce milk of the highest quality. Higher up on the mountain pastures in the burons, typical rustic huts, the best cheeses are then matured.
Overlooking the Doire valley, defended by the powerful medieval castle of Anjony, the medieval village of Tournemire is just as endearing.
Campsites in Cantal
There are about a hundred campsites in the Cantal. Rent your mobile home at a campsite in Cantal during your next holidays, why not at Domaine la plage du Garoustel***, which is located on the banks of the Saint Etienne-Cantalès lake?
In the land of gentians and chestnuts
The wild plateaux of the Cézallier, where the yellow gentian train runs, mark the northern limit of the Cantal.
Generous chestnut groves lead you to the south of the Cantal. The sights are legion: the Cère gorges, the fortified town of Montsalvy, the round town of Maurs-la-Jolie, the medieval town of Laroquebrou, the large Saint-Étienne-Cantalès dam, the panoramic hill of Saint-Mamet-La-Salvetat.
Known since Roman times and gushing out at 82 degrees, the hot springs of the Chaudes-Aigues ensure its thermal development. You are then at the gates of the singular immensity of the Aubrac mountain plateau, as far as the confines of the Aveyron.
Other beautiful discoveries
In the Cantal, don't miss the visits to the tourist localities of Mauriac, Allanche, Condat, Massiac, Vic-sur-Cère, Riom-es-Montagnes, Champs-sur-Tarentaine. From the hundred or so Cantalien castles with their contrasting styles, stand out Val, Pesteils, Alleuze, Auzers, Messilhac, les Tours de Merle ...
After your strolls, tripoux, aligot, cheeses, cold meats, fruits of the forest will delight your taste buds.