Visit Puy de Dôme - France's remote volcano

  • Sports & outdoors
  • France
  • 5 min read
Visit Puy de Dôme - France's remote volcano

A volcano in France? That’s right, and we can show you how to reach the best views from its summit.

The Puy-de-Dôme offers anyone who comes to walk up its ancient Roman footpaths a stunning view the chain of volcanoes in the surrounding area. Pack your walking shoes and plan your own visit to this stunning natural phenomena with our guide.

Where is Puy de Dôme?

The Puy de Dôme is one of the youngest dormant volcanoes in the Chaîne des Puys region. This sits in the Massif Central, a part of southern France that has an impressive mountainous landscape. Puy de Dôme is also around 15 km from Clermont-Ferrand, a favourite ski destination come winter.

Driving to Puy de Dôme from Calais

From Calais it’s around an 8-hour drive to Puy de Dôme via the A71. The most direct route takes you past the cities of Paris and Orléans, so you could easily plan overnight stays or stop to explore for a few days along your route if timing allows.

People standing on a walkway on the side of a mountainous volcano with big blue skies and greenery spreading below

Exploring the Puy de Dôme

It hasn’t erupted for around 10,700 years, so it’s more than safe to explore this volcanic area.

Hiking to the summit

There are two paths leading to the summit of the Puy de Dôme, both starting from the car park of the Panoramique des Dômes. The Chemin Chèvres 4.9 km and will take you around 3 hours and the Chemin de Muletiers is slightly shorter at 3.9 km, taking around 2 hours to reach the top.

The Chemin Chèvres route is along the north face of the Puy de Dôme, with stunning views of other volcanoes in the area; Puy Pariou, the Puy des Goules and the Puy de Côme. The Chemin de Muletiers runs up the south face of the mountain and is steeper, so keep that in mind when you choose your path.

At the summit you have three walking paths to choose from too, aptly named Curious, Conquerors, and Little Explorers. These wind around the summit and all have spectacular views.

The Panoramique des Dômes

Of course, hiking is not for everyone, so there is a railway you can take to the top, called The Panoramique des Dômes. It only takes 15 minutes to reach the summit and has free parking at the station. You’ll get the loveliest of views from the comfort of your seat.

Top attractions at Puy de Dôme

Although the views are reason enough to climb to the top of the Puy de Dôme, there are numerous attractions to enjoy while you’re there. Plus, the area is home to nature parks and lakes that are ripe for further exploration.

Temple of Mercury

These are the ruins of a Roman temple dedicated to the God Mercury, God of travellers. Discovered in 1873, it’s one of the largest temple sites in the western Roman Empire. It was used as a pilgrimage site for many years but today you can visit the temple observatory with an interactive mini-museum all about the temple and its past.  

wooden steps leading around a green landscape with lots of hills and valleys

Weather observatory

The Clermont Observatory of Terrestrial Physics is just one of thirty stations placed around the world for observing the climate. To visit you must book ahead as it is often used for school groups and visits from scientists to learn from its findings.

Auvergne Volcanic Regional Nature Park

One of our 10 best spots in France for nature lovers this enormous space is a wonderful place to hike, bike, walk, or relax in. Featuring wildflowers, peaks and valleys, and an opportunity to spot wildlife such as deer, otters, and birds, this park is also great for quieter walking paths, thanks to its sheer size. Even at the height of summer empty trails and quiet corners are yours to enjoy.  

Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park

Lying to the east of Clermont-Ferrand, the Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park stretches over the two Auvergne départements of Puy-de-Dôme and Haute-Loire. As well as meadows, moors, and high-altitude walking routes, this area also has pretty towns to stop in. One fantastic example is Ambert, where you can visit The Moulin Richard de Bas, the last paper mill in operation in the Auvergne.


It will come as no surprise that an area famed for its mountains and volcanoes provides ample space for the adventurous and thrill seekers among us. There are a few paragliding opportunities in the area, but one lifts off from the very summit of Puy de Dôme, which you can learn more about here.

Grey stone structure with a large white spire behind it against a blue sky on top of a volcano

Lac Pavin

A volcanic crater filled with beautiful blue waters and surrounded by beech and spruce trees forms Lac Pavin. The hour-long walk around the water is peaceful, or you can pick a spot to fish the many trout that live in its depths. There is a small café on the banks for refreshments too.

Lac Chambon

Lac Chambon is a volcanic dam lake formed after the eruption of the Tartaret Volcano. Ideal for fishing and swimming, it is especially popular in summer with families, as the waters are supervised in July and August. There is also canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, and pedal boats to hire and enjoy, or you can follow a marked trail around the entire lake, which takes about an hour to walk.

Vulcania amusement park

An inspiring place, especially for families with children, Vulcania will teach you everything you need to know about volcanoes and the Chaîne des Puys region. Interactive displays and experiences include a rescue mission where you must save Clermont-Ferrand from lava flow by solving puzzles. Tickets for the park are available to book online.

lake reflecting blue skies and trees with a small jetty stretching into the blue water

Visit Puy de Dôme with LeShuttle

Puy de Dôme is filled to the brim with things to see and do – so why not book your trip today with LeShuttle? You’ll be whisked from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes.

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