Established in 1977, the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne is France’s largest regional nature park with a surface area of 400,000 hectares. It stretches 120 kiliometres from north to south, comprises 147 communes and is home to 90,000 inhabitants. But beyond the facts and figures, what really characterizes this nature park is its long volcanic history! An eventful past that has given rise to remarkable landscapes waiting to be explored. It also owes its singularity to the warm and friendly welcome that the local inhabitants reserve visitors.
No craters in Cantal ? How come?
The Parc des Volcans encompasses 4 volcanic regions (the Cézallier, the Monts du Cantal, the Monts Dore, the Monts Dômes) and 1 granite plateau (the Artense). Volcanic activity in the territory of the Parc des Volcans d’Auvergne began with that of the Cantal volcano 12 million years ago. Indeed, Cantal is one gigantic stratovolcano with a diametre of 70 kilometres that once peaked at a height of roughly 3,500 metres. Compared to the Monts Dore volcanic region that is 3 million years old or the Chaîne des Puys formed a mere 90,000 years ago, Cantal’s sleeping giant is old indeed!
The reason you won’t find any craters in Cantal is because the region has undergone an immense amount of volcanic activity in the way of successive eruptions, destructions, lava flows and accumulations… not to mention the glacial erosion that has shaped the Massif Cantalien and sculpted the wonderful summits. Everywhere you look, your eyes will be struck by particular natural features in the landscape (a dome, scree, a plateau or a cliff for example) and you can be sure that lava once flowed there at one point in time!
A unique territory bursting with life !
As you explore the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne, you simply have to admire its landscape, listen to the people who live there, and taste the local produce, to understand why it’s such a wonderful place to live! It is an area with an exceptional wealth of diverse landscapes, rare animal species and plant life. The Nature Park is bursting with life and local communities offering economic and cultural activities that contribute to its identity and heritage. In addition, its different volcanic regions make the Nature Park unique, attracting many visitors keen to experience the area first hand and whose presence is so important for the local economy.
To remain classified as a Nature Park and to preserve the exceptional quality of life here, the Park is committed to a charter that it shares with local authorities, businesses and inhabitants. With a long term vision for the Park, they work together to define its action areas: improvement of community life, making changes to the way we consume, move and live… The key to this work succeeding lies in finding the right balance between preserving and promoting the Park’s attractiveness. Everyone has their part to play to ensure that this superb natural heritage is protected, showcased and passed on to future generations.
A multitude of projects in an area full of life and innovative ideas !
The creation of a travel log by a group of local inhabitants, special events in schools and outdoor educational workshops, cultural events in all sorts of settings, the promotion of eco-friendly behaviour, support for local start-ups committed to being eco-responsible… Auvergne’s volcanoes are full of talented people and overflowing with innovative ideas!
The Parc des Volcans promotes sustainable development, contributes to research programmes, tests new technical solutions and takes part in innovative projects. Protecting the beauty of this natural environment and sharing it with visitors while developing the local economy is essential if we want future generations to also build their lives here in this area.
You too can share the values of the Parc des Volcans
Local people and businesses have come together to show, through their work, how they share the values of the Parc des Volcans. In so doing they act as true ambassadors, sharing their deep love of Auvergne’s volcanoes, the land they have chosen to make their home and their place of work.
Determined to offer you a great welcome and a high standard of know-how, many professionals in the area have chosen to work in a way that reflects the three values of the “Valeurs Parc Marque” and their commitment to:
- Strengthening the identity of the area: The materials are sourced locally, the company opens its doors to visitors and customers and it works closely with other local businesses.
- Developing craft and cottage industries: The role that “man” has to play in the activity is dominant. Visits are organized, adapted to different groups and provide the opportunity to share experiences with visitors and to educate them.
- Showcasing local resources: The services on offer and the production processes used are respectful of the environment (eg. natural habitats and landscapes are preserved, waste is sorted for recycling, energy and water resources are managed responsibly, information is provided to the clientele)
Opt for the “Valeurs Parc Marque”!
By choosing products, services and crafts that have been awarded the “Valeurs Parc Marque”, you are providing valuable support to local people and businesses that display a high degree of know-how, offer a warm and friendly welcome, are passionate about the area they live and work in and respect the environment.
Come along to the boutique at the Tourist Information Centre to see the products we have selected for you.
We regularly organize exhibitions and events in partnership with the Parc des Volcans, so please ask us for full details.
Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne – Murat