If you would like to go backpacking in the Massif Cantalien, then you are spoilt for choice! Several GR walking passes cross Cantal, so take your pick! Every season has something different to offer. Beautiful mountain flowers in Springtime and in Autumn the magnificent colours of the woodland. There are of course also the emblematic summits to see: Puy Griou, Plomb du Cantal, Puy Mary… You might even be lucky enough to spot a marmot or chamois goat on the look-out perched on a volcanic rock, so stay alert!
The GR 400 – The Valley of the River Cère circuit
The Valley of the River Cère circuit: 2 days backpacking covering almost 40 km between the Monts du Cantal and the valley of the River Cère. There are some quite high ascents on this circuit so you will need to be in good shape. But reaching the top of the highest summit in Cantal will make all the effort worth it. You can set off from either Thiézac or Le Lioran. In both cases the GR 400 will lead you to the most well-known summits in the Massif Cantalien: Plomb du Cantal, Puy Griou, Elancèze. The circuit goes through some woodland where you’ll appreciate the cool shade in the Summer.
If you like the sound of this circuit, then remember there are plenty more to discover along the GR 400 covering a total distance of 140 km. The possibilities are endless so happy backpacking!
To discover Cantal’s great volcano, several circuits on the GR 400 are possible. A comprehensive guide book for walkers is on sale at the Tourist Information Office.
The GR 465 – The Monts du Cantal to the Lot Valley
The GR 465 offers a new itinerary between the Monts du Cantal and the Lot valley, covering more than 130 km over 7 to 8 days. Part of this trail offers panoramic views over the summits of Cantal’s great volcano (Puy Griou, Puy Mary, Elancèze…). Along the way you’ll come across herds of Salers and Aubrac cattle. Another part of the trail takes you into the depths of the Truyère gorges and the Lot valley with its hillsides covered in heather. You’ll come across the odd chapel on the way (chapel of Brédons and the chapel of Manhaval) and finally reach Conques and Saint Foy Abbey. The variety of natural and architectural heritage along the way will make this itinerary unforgettable. One of your overnight stops between Carladès and Carladez could be at the Flocons Verts gite in the charming village of Pailherols.
The backpacking itinerary crosses the Massif Cantalien taking in includes taking in the Plomb du Cantal, Pailherols and also Mur de Barrez. A detailed guide book for walkers is on sale at the Tourist Information Office.
The Via Arverna – Saint Jacques des Blats to Saint Jacques de Compostelle
The Via Arvena is a variation of the pilgrimage route, the Way of St James from Le Puy en Vélay to Conques. It crosses the Monts du Cantal in Auvergne to join the Lot valley. It’s obviously popular with walkers who are specifically looking for an experience on a pilgrimage route. But the Via Arvena is also a splendid and varied itinerary that everyone will enjoy and that takes in some amazing scenery and beautiful sites.
Of the 500 km that separate us from Spain, the two stages of the Way of St James that cross the valley of the River Cère bear witness to the passage of pilgrims over the ages. There is a superb cross to admire on the square in front of the church in St Jacques des Blats and also the Abbey of St Géraud in Aurillac. And between these two sites, there’s no end of surprises along the way! The natural beauty of the landscape will take your breath away as you discover the summits of Cantal’s great volcano, the Chaos de Casteltinet, the hamlet of Niervèze while not forgetting the famous Pas de Cère Gorges. There’s also a great deal of architectural heritage to admire on the way including the chapel of Notre Dame de Consolation in Thiézac and Pesteils Castle in Polminhac. There are also lots of places of interest in the town of Vic sur Cère, including the natural mineral water spring and a beautiful house called the Maison des Princes de Monaco.
The Via Arverna crosses Cantal from Massiac to Laroquebrou passing through Murat, Saint Jacques des Blats and Vic sur Cère.
For further information click here to consult the website arverna-compostelle.fr
Are you all set to go backpacking across Cantal’s great volcano?
For further information please get in touch with the team at the Tourist Information Office or consult the website www.rando-cantal.fr