top of page


Witnesses of volcanism in Cantal

and on the way, some places steeped in history

IGN maps at 1/25,000: 2434 Riom-Bort OT, 2534 Monts du Cézallier OT, 2435 Monts du Cantal OT.

Getaway in July and August on Wednesdays
and on request in other periods, from May to October
accompanied by Francis Humbert:
06 83 20 80 18 -

This escapade is preceded in July and August, on Monday evening at 9 p.m., by a conferencee “Cantal Volcanoes” at the Lac de Menet holiday village, in the lakeside building, near the pontoon.


Departures: To9:15 a.m. from Champs sur Tarentaine to Menet then at 10 a.m. from Menet,
fairground square. Comments on Menet's trachyte extracted from quarries
local; its use in the regional built heritage.
Plan a picnic
Return via Riom ès Montagnes:7 p.m. approximately, towards Menet and Champs. 

From Champs: route towards Menet via D 22 then D3, then D205. Traces of the glaciations in Cheyssac,
evocation of volcanism along the Sumène valley
including Chastel-Marlhac, Milhac.
From Menet: D36 towards Riom ès Montagnes. Evocation of the bridge of death, then D678 towards Trizac.

stape 1.png

1st step

At the edge of the D678, before the bridge over the Cheylat, beyond a cliff representing the northeastern end of the Trizac planèze, a tree trunk burned by the last basalt flows (-4 Ma). Take nothing.

2nd step

Vast panorama from the D678 between Valette and Trizac (Parc des Volcans sign): about ten  volcanoes in northern Cantal belonging to the Sumène-Dordogne domain (between - 10 and - 6.5 Ma). West, North and East horizons. Chronology of the installation of the buildings that make up the landscape.

étape 2.png
étape 3.png

3rd stage
picnic stopover

On leaving Trizac, D678 towards Mauriac, then D30 left towards “Cases en pierre” representing theremains  from the village of Cotteughes (Xeau XIVesiècles). Reading the sign at the entrance to the site. Presentation  from the DRAC study during excavations in 1990. Vegetation: Beech, Meadowsweet, Aconit  wolfsbane, Gentians, Veratre. Boundary between wooded valley and summer meadows. Burons of summer pastures.

4th step

D30 toCol d'Aulac: Basalt flows from the Planèze de Trizac, panorama over the Mars valley.  View of the ridges: Puy Violent, Roc des Ombres, Puy Chavaroche, Puy Mary. Sources of  Maronne and Mars. Altitudes, dating of eruptions and other phenomena: collapse of the  stratovolcano, spectacular erosion during the glaciations. Coffee in the panoramic restaurant
The D30 descends towards the Mars Valley, crosses severalflows of the supra-cantalian basalts from  various powers (- 4 to - 6 Ma), separated by old ferralitic soils, baked in contact with them.

stape 4.png
étape 5.jpg

5th step

Same route, limit between the first basalt flows from the Trizac planèze (- 6 Ma) and the products of the collapse of the Cantal stratovolcano, megablocks and matrix (- 8 Ma). Altitudes. Lespinasse stream fed by the abundant basaltic aquifers of the Trizac planeze.  Evocation of sports practices (canyoning) at the waterfalls of this stream on a recent panel. Nature of the vegetation according to the constitution of the sides of the road: steep and rocky (basalt cliffs) from the Col d'Aulac, less steep and earthy (products of collapse) from this  point down into the valley.

6th step

same road,megablock in a lahar,streaked by glacial erosion ; particle size of products  of collapse.

stape 6.png
stape 7.png

7th step

At the foot of the D30, D12 on the right towards Le Vaulmier: on the left,megablocks scattered in meadows  of themars valley (- 8 Ma). In Espinouze,contact between megablocks of several hundreds or even thousands of m3 and granite base; characters of the contact sole. Waterfall of Espinouze stream, scree, granite arena (disintegration of the granite by infiltration water). Evocation the exploitation of granite in the Vaulmier quarries, and the use of this material in the buildings of the Mars valley.

8th step

D 12 towards Le Falgoux then D37 towards the Col de Néronne: overhanging the D12, hugepanel chaos laminate from La Peubrélie, - 8 Ma

stape 8.png
stape 9.png

9th stage

At the Col de Néronne, path to the Buron d’Algour:baked ferralitic soils by a basaltic flow 4 to 5 Ma ago). Sampling. Valley of the Maronne, Puy Violent. Evocation of the continuity of the  planezes before glacial erosion. Then D680 towards the Pas de Peyrol, possible stop at the roc du Merle: panorama towards the Mars valley,  scree of the infracantal basalts of the La Franconèche volcano; probable limit of the stratovolcano.

10th step

Beyond Pas de Peyrol, D17 towards Aurillac; before reaching the Col de Redondet, view of thevalley of  Mandailles and theheart of the massif : Puy Griou (- 6.5 Ma), and in the distance, Plomb du Cantal (- 2.8 Ma).  Burning clouds of Puy Mary. U-turn after 1 to 2 km after observing thestrata of  stratovolcano still in place (- 9 to - 8 Ma) crossed by a more recent dyke. Possible research,  in damp ditches, Aconite Napel (August flowering), one of the most beautiful flowers of our flora.

stape 10.png
stape 11 et 12.png

11th and 12th stage

Return to Pas de Peyrol, then D680 and at Col de Serre, D62 to Riom ès Montagnes. At the exit of the village of Claux, career of a mason:infracantal basalts, - 10 Ma, and furtherSartre waterfall : crossing of a flow of this same basalt by the small Rhue.

13th and final step

Rest time at the church of Cheylade, details of the vault painted in the 18th century, unique in  France. Evocation of the ceiling of the neighboring oratory of the former Sartre castle, of which photo presented. Via Riom-ès-Montagnes, return to Menet. In Saint Hippolyte, mention of the possible excursion to La  Font-Sainte; in Apchon, evocation of the necks, the church and its altarpieces. The return to Champs by the D3 reaches a remarkable point of view at the Fleurac rest area.

stape 13.png

Other possible steps:

Trizac church; Marilhou waterfalls (picnic possible); Saint-Vincent-de-Salers; source  mineral from Fouilloux; recognition according to their biotope, the season of their flowering and fruiting, of plants present  along the route (Meadowsweet, various species of Gentians and Aconite, Red Elderberry, Blueberries, Houseleek, Sorbier, etc.).

bottom of page