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 - Puy-de-Dome. An extraordinary site, Puy-de-Dome is a volcano that has recently been listed as one of just six 'Grand Sites of France'. It is towards the north of the Chaine-des-Puys chain of volcanoes in the Parc des Volcans
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.
Close to the top of the hill 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!
There are two ways to reach the top of Puy-de-Dome:
1) Park at the bottom and walk up, allow at least an hour or two and lots of water if its hot
2) Drive. Cost about 6 euros per car. Note, there are almost no stopping points en-route for taking photos etc. The road is easy (not terribly steep) and well maintained. Note: apparently from 2012 this option no longer exists, the road up Puy-de-Dome has been closed to public traffic, at least during the summer. I understand that special tourist buses now operate along the road up the mountain instead.
Cycles are NOT generally allowed on the road that climbs the hill.
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.
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.
Overall it's a shame that the Roman temple is in the shadow of more recent unattractive buildings, but the trip is worth the cost and effort, above all on a fine day of course!
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Orcines, Royat, Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, 63870 || GPS: latitude 45.7723, longitude 2.9658
Map of Puy-de-Dome & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Puy-de-Dome, France
- 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)
The French version of this page is at Puy-de-Dome (Francais)