Cantal Mountains, Auvergne, France

 

INDEPENDENT WALKING HOLIDAY

 

Cantal Mountains - The Rugged Heart of France

moderate challenging grade Cantal France independent walking holiday

7 nights - £665/€720 - 6 days independent walking from single centre

This independent (self guided) walking holiday explores the Cantal mountains in the southern Auvergne which is the extinct remains of a huge volcano. Erosion has since created a series of rugged ridges, rocky peaks and green valleys of stunning beauty. Exciting walking holiday in an untamed landscape with rich wildlife. Small B&B style guest house in historic building. Warm welcome. More Cantal holiday details

Cantal Auvergne France independent walking holiday

 

GUIDED WALKING HOLIDAY

 

Rugged Cantal Mountains

grade moderate challenging Ardeche France

7 nights - From £805/€870 Two-centre based, guided day walks

This guided walking holiday explores the Cantal massif in central France which is the extinct remains of a huge volcano. Erosion has since created a series of rugged ridges, rocky peaks and green valleys of stunning beauty. Exciting walking along panoramic ridges and mountain peaks in a beautiful untamed landscape.

More details of guided walking holiday in Cantal

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Cantal Auvergne France guided walking holiday

Cantal

The Auvergne is home to some of the finest mountains that make up the French Massif Central. In the southern Auvergne, the Cantal mountains are the main upland massif. It is only by looking at a map that the origins of the Cantal mountain range become apparent. The whole area is one gigantic ancient volcano rising from the plains below. It's formation took place between 13 million and two million years ago and is geologically speaking very complex, giving rise to numerous theories on its formation. Measuring more than 60km in diameter, the Cantal volcano may have been about 3000m high during its formation. Find out more information about the volcanic origins of the Cantal Mountains.

Collapse and then erosion by ice and water has since created a series of ridges, peaks and valleys of stunning beauty that you'll simply never tire of. Beautiful U-shaped valleys radiate outwards defined by rugged and airy ridges that eminate from rocky summits providing exciting and dramatic walking holidays. The rich green hues of the steep mountain slopes and the wild untamed nature of the mountains give the Cantal an almost British feel. Their southerly location in France means that the Cantal mountains have relatively high levels of sunshine and relatively high temperatures. See more info on Cantal weather conditions.

The Cantal mountain range in central France, which forms part of the Auvergne regional park, is made up of a number of summits around 1700 - 1800m above sea level, some forming pointed peaks, others being part of airy ridges. They provide exciting and enjoyable walking whether you choose to walk on our guided or independent walking holiday. The Puy Mary, is one of the most celebrated mountains of the Cantal, offering superb panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. The Puy Griou requires a more difficult ascent up its rocky slopes. The use of hands are required for stability near the top. The effort is well worth it though with amazing views across the Jordanne Valley.

In addition, during your walking holiday in the Cantal you'll discover a rich historical legacy through its rural settlements and farms. The local architecture is simple yet easy on the eye, the sturdy cottages blending seemlessly into the mountainous backdrop. There are a number of historic villages which sit mainly on the valley floors and a small number of historic towns which border the main upland Cantal area. Towns such as Salers (also name of local breed of cattle) and Murat are pretty places to visit with impressive buildings built from dark volcanic stone topped with a series of conical towers.

A guided or independent walking holiday in the Cantal mountains of France is an away from it all experience. The department is one of the remotest and unpopulated in France. Its capital Aurillac is the furthest capital from any motorway in France. The local Cantal economy is not surprisingly based on agriculture, tourism and small artisanal and manufacturing activities. The Auvergne is also a fascinating region of traditions and culture, in part due to its remoteness and inaccessibility from the rest of France. They have their own language and dialects and a selection of specialist artisans, including sculptors using the local volcanic rock.

In this upland area, the local Cantal dishes are simple yet appetising and will keep you well fuelled for your walks. For example, la truffade is a typical mountain dish made from cheese, potatoes and bacon. The celebrated Cantal cheese is a cylindrical, tall and solid cheese weighing between 35 and 45kg. An AOC since 1956, it has an intense and lasting fruity flavour. The cows are kept on during the grazing season on high mountain pastures such as the Cézallier. Here, on the flanks of the remains of the largest volcano in western Europe, the rock is rich in minerals and produces excellent pasture. The Cantal cheese is refined in caves and just like wine has a richer flavour as it ages. It has 3 different AOC's that require different lengths of refinement. Cheese from the Cantal was first mentioned in Roman times.

On your French walking holiday you'll also discover the rich Cantal wildlife, including birds of prey, deer, marmots, mouflon, chamois and a host of wild flowers.

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Puy griou cantal auvergne France

cantal auvergne france walking holidays

ridges of the Cantal mountains

 

 

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