Although it’s not the Auvergne region’s highest summit, this dormant lava dome is its most iconic. Join the thousands of hikers who visit every year.
Part of the Chaîne des Puys, a string of 80 volcanoes, the Puy de Dôme is easily spotted from the nearby city of Clermont-Ferrand. Always a popular tourist site, it was awarded the status of “Grand Site de France” (Grand Site of France) in 2008, joining 17 other French destinations. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape from this dramatic peak.
The volcano has been a site for religious and social gatherings for thousands of years. In the 19th century the ruins of a Roman temple dedicated to the god Mercury were found here. Since then, the hill has served many different purposes. In the past, it was used as an occasional stage of the Tour De France, but the road is now usually closed to cyclists. However, the Fédération Française de Cyclotourisme arranges a couple of days every year for a limited number of cyclists to attempt the climb. Visit the federation’s website for details of this amazing opportunity.
The volcano also has its own restaurant, Le 1911. Enjoy a gastronomic feast, made from locally sourced ingredients, while gazing southwards toward Le Puy de Sancy, France's highest volcano. This is the perfect way to get yourself ready for the walk down. Visit the gift shop and information center too, and learn about the geology of the region.
If younger visitors traveling with you are inspired by their trip to the volcano, consider paying a visit to the “Vulcania” theme park. Find it a 20-minute drive from the Puy de Dôme. The park explores the geological processes that cause volcanoes, making it educational as well as fun. It is open every summer, throughout the tourist season.
You can also access the Puy du Dôme by train, which departs daily from the car park at the bottom of the hill. It runs every every 20 minutes during July and August and every 40 minutes outside of these months. If you do want to scale the volcano, then allow for around a 45-minute, very steep, hike along the “Chemin des Muletiers.”