Road bike France
Quiet mountain passes and beautiful scenery in the volcanic Auvergne regionRef CR33
Cycling in the Cantal, star of the Auvergne! At the heart of the star lies the crater of the highest volcano in Europe and our ideally located accommodation! All around are twelve valleys, like the branches of a star: each day offers new cols, new valleys, new plateaus, and picture postcard scenery… In the evenings, discover the charm and friendliness of our guest house with its cosy decor, local and organic produce, Finnish sauna and Turkish bath.
+33 458 140 435
A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.
- Superb accommodation, ideally placed for touring.
- The quiet country lanes and pretty villages of the Auvergne Regional Natural Park...
- The enormous potential of the local road network: a real labyrinth.
- It's Switzerland "without the crowds" !
- This tour is available in 3 versions: V1 = 1 wheel / V2 = 2 wheels / V3 = 3 wheels. Each day you can choose between different itineraries (V1, V2 or V3), with varying distances and profiles.
- Special offers available for private groups. Please contact us for a quote.
The Cantal is shaped like a star, with an exploded volcano crater at its centre, and a succession of plateaus and valleys in the surrounding countryside. Each day offers a different landscape, with the impression at times of having ridden into another country! The variety of terrain also offers a great mix between easier and harder stages.
Your accommodation is located at the foot of the Puy Mary (1806 m), the second highest peak in the Monts du Cantal. It is about 12 km from Murat, about 1h from Aurillac and 1h30 from Clermont-Ferrand. The historic former hotel has been transformed by Stéphane and his wife Virginie into an exceptional guest house and café. It has four lovingly designed guest rooms, all of which combine comfort and ecology, style and authenticity. A hammam and sauna provide relaxation. Food from organic farming and local producers is transformed into delicious dishes.
Our centre-based trip
8 days / 7 nights: 6 cycling days + arrival and departure
We provide you with the description of 7 loops beginning and ending at your accommodation, allowing you to discover a different part of the area each day. Your host, cyclist and connaisseur of the area, is on hand to help choose the loops that suit you.
The following description is a general presentation of the itinerary. Once your booking has been made, you will receive a precise road book of the route 3 weeks before your due departure date. The description of each loop consists of a map with the itinerary underlined, as well as a “road book”, with directions to be followed at each intersection.
Levels of difficulty:
- Level 1: 50 to 80 km per day
- Level 2: 80 to 110 km per day
- Level 3: 100 to 150 km per day
Overview of the loops
- Loop 1: Time to discover the many different landscapes of the Cantal, its mountains, valleys and plateaus. The first “col”, a small glaciated valley, a Romanesque church, an old ruined castle, and a vast plateau. We also see our first (but not last) cows before tackling the area's only "hors catégorie" col, the Pas de Peyrol.
- Loop 2: From our accommodation we descend the valley, following the flow of the river. We ride out of the volcano crater, before arriving in the Artense. With its numerous lakes, and ancient forests of gnarly wind-swept trees you could be mistaken for thinking you were in Finland. A land of myths and legends where nature takes pride of place and human activity is rare.
- Loop 3: We finally attack the volcano that has been looming over us since we arrived… This is the most alpine stage of the tour. From one col to the next, we cross the ancient crater that has worn and weathered over time, as well as villages full of medieval mountain architecture, and some rather unusual mountain landscapes.
- Loop 4: We leave the heart of the volcano once again for an excursion into Mongolia: the plateau du Cézallier. The plateau is completely treeless and has almost no dwellings. Today's route offers vast, wide open spaces and… lots of cows! We discover an abandoned railway station, who’s passengers weren't humans, but cows… Until as little as 15 years ago, cattle arrived here by train in order to spend the summer months in the mountain pastures!
- Loop 5: We take a breath of southern air today on a route to the south of the volcano. Some more cols, small, quiet mountain roads, and views that stretch almost to the Mediterranean. Another valley full of character and wonderful scenery, and some stunning medieval architecture.
- Loop 6: Another large plateau, and probably the most populated in the area. The production of lentils made the area wealthy during the 19th century and may well make it so again. Passage through the medieval town of Saint Flour, built on the edge of a basalt cliff, as well as the 13th century Château d'Alleuse, seized by the English during the Hundred Years War.
- Loop 7: To finish the tour we cross the Pinhatèle, ancient forest of scots pine, which covered the entire area during the Middle Ages. Wedged between the two large volcanic masses of the Auvergne, the area offers beautiful views of the Cantal as well as the younger mountains of the Sancy. A series of pretty, quiet mountain roads lead us to the end of our Cantalou tour…