Hiking Cantal’s volcanic uplands


iking Cantal’s volcanic uplands commences with a climb to Murat’s pilgrimage shrine, a fitting start to a fine day’s walking along a variant of the Compostella Trail. The cows are inquisitive but friendly, and you are rewarded for your efforts by the day’s grande finale: a climb to Eagle’s Beak Rock and Venus Point, at 1700 ms and 1669 ms respectively.

Hiking Cantal’s volcanic uplands continues the next day from the foot of Plomb du Cantal: you can either take your time scaling Le Plomb (two to two and a half-hours walking) or buy a ticket for the ‘telepherique’ and ride the cable car to the top. Either option provides spectacular vistas, and Cantal with aPlomb: the chance to enjoy the 360 degree panorama that awaits and an easterly vantage point over the whole volcanic upland. Then you commence the delightful descent along a Roman trail, the GR400, that follows a fabulous ridge and wide upland moorland before arriving in the charming village of Thiézac and dinner in your comfortable hotel.

The Road to Mandailles sees you climbing out of the the Cère valley along the splendid Chemin de Croix. Further up, you enjoy a view of the entire Cantal Volcano panorama from a southern belvedere – a site to satisfy the most demanding of eyes. Then it’s on route to your next convivial overnight stop at a walkers’ tavern in Mandailles, nestled in the Jordan valley to the north west. In between you walk some fine countryside, and a narrow ridge, that gives a southerly vantage point over the grandeur that is Puy Griou, Puy Mary and Puy de Peyre Arse.

The penultimate day features a Heavenly Circle indeed and arguably one of the best day’s walking in France outside of the Alps. You will marvel in the picturesque and staggered ascent to one of France’s hiking ‘musts’, Puy Mary. You gain access by traversing the much-vaunted Bréche de Rolland and complete the heavenly trilogy by following the ridge over Puy Chavaroche. Magic!

Hiking Cantal’s volcanic uplands finishes with a light walk up to Puy Grou, one of the Upland’s ‘iconic towers’ before descending for the final time to Lioran. We collect you from here and return you for the last nights triumphant dinner in the fine Cantalian town of Murat, where the fun started 6 nights earlier. ‘Flaner’ through its ‘ruelles’ in search of one of the many welcoming restaurants where you can celebrate in style according to taste.

© The Enlightened Traveller 2020 – Not to be re-produced or copied. All rights reserved.

Further Reading:

To walk in Cantal, please see:

Click to visit The French Hiker’s Guide to Holidaying in the Hexagon and France self-guided walks, trails, trips, places & themes.