Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Puy-de-Dome (Auvergne, France)
Puy-de-Dome is found just west of Clermont-Ferrand, in the Orcines commune and in the department of the same name, and towards the north of the Chaine-des-Puys chain of volcanoes in the Parc des Volcans.
An extraordinary site, Puy-de-Dome is an extinct volcano that has been listed as one of the 'Grand Sites of France'.
Exploring the Puy-de-Dome
The Puy-de-Dome rises to 1464 metres above sea level, significantly higher than the other peaks in the immediate area, and therefore has views in all directions across mountains and volcanoes for as far as the eye can see.
Reaching the summit of Puy-de-Dome
There are two ways to reach the top of Puy-de-Dome:
1) Park at the Col de Ceyssat and walk up the winding path, allow at least an hour and lots of water if its hot. There is a level change of about 350 metres and although the path isn't very steep it is consistently uphill! There is also a six kilometres path to the summit from the visitor centre that will take about 1 1/2 hours.
2) Take the train that climbs the mountain from the visitor centre and takes about 15 minutes to reach the summit.
Cars are not allowed to drive up the mountain, and cycles are not allowed on the road that climbs the hill except when special events are organised.
The summit of Puy-de-Dome
Whichever way you reach the top of the Puy-de-Dome, there is then a footpath that follows around the top of the hill so you can enjoy the views in all directions. Close to the summit is an unexpected site, the remains of a Roman Temple called the 'Temple of Mercury'. They chose a great location for it, but the challenge of getting the temple built must have been substantial!
Unfortunately there is also now a large observatory and the crumbling ruins of a 19th century building on top of the hill, but these matter less than you would think because your eyes are always turned away from the hill to look at the view, not at the eyesore behind your back!
The weather and time of year of your visit will make a big impact on what you see - there was snow on the ground at the end of May when we visited Puy-de-Dome, and the surrounding forests were mostly not yet in leaf. To best appreciate the views wait for a very clear day if possible.
There are also various visitor facilities such as a cafe at the top of the Puy-de-Dome.
The natural environment is the main highlight in the Parc des Volcans and around Puy-de-Dome but you still have the opportunity to visit various towns and villages. In particular there is a very distinctive style of religious architecture as you can see in the church and basilica of Clermont-Ferrand, the church at Orcival and the Abbey at Mozac.
Map of Puy-de-Dome and places to visit
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Address: Orcines, Royat, Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, 63870, France || GPS: latitude 45.7723, longitude 2.9658
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Puy de Dome: grand site of france
- Eglise de Saint Léger (Royat): religious monument (7km)
- Clermont-Ferrand: secteur sauvegarde (9km)
- Clermont-Ferrand église Notre-Dame-du-Port (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (10km)
- Parc du château de Blanzat: remarkable garden (11km)
- Jardins du château d'Opme: remarkable garden (11km)
- Cathédrale Notre Dame de l'Assomption (Clermont-ferrand): religious monument (12km)
- Eglise de Notre Dame (Orcival): religious monument (12km)
- Jardins du château de la Batisse: remarkable garden (13km)
- Jardins de Cordès: remarkable garden (14km)
- Mozac: town of art and history (14km)
- Marsat: town of art and history (14km)
The French version of this page is at Puy-de-Dome (Francais)