Travel to France
Day 12 Issoire - Regional Nature Park Of The Volcanoes Of Auvergne - Issoire (175 Km.)
(in 26 Km.) Saint-Nectaire: The church of Saint-Nectaire is a Romanesque church begun in 1080 and was completed in 1178. He was part of the first list of French historical monuments. On the outside highlights its octagonal bell tower and the apse. Inside are his polychrome capitals, especially in the chancel, with representations of the holy women at the tomb, the Passion of Christ, the descent into limbo and the Transfiguration.
Church of Saint-Nectaire
(in 6 Km.) Murol: We stopped in this town to buy food for the picnic. Emphasizes his castle (Château de Murol) built in the thirteenth century.
(in 15 Km.) Lac Pavin: We turned off the main road to see the lake Pavin, located at an altitude of 1197 meters and which occupies the crater of an ancient volcano. With a shape almost perfectly circular, it has a diameter of between 700 and 800 meters and a maximum depth of 92 meters.
Murol castle (Château de Murol)
(in 18 Km.) Lac Chambon: Chambon Lake was formed by the Tartaret volcano that blocked the riverbed of Couze Chambon, located at 877 m altitude. It has only 4 meters depth, but a large extension area (60 ha). Its shores are very irregular, except in the north, where it´s installed the beach for swimming and water sports. We made a picnic lunch in this area, where several ducks approached the shore.
Lac Pavin (Lake Pavin)
(in 19 Km.) Mont-Dore: We drive upward towards Mont-Dore crossing the Col de la Croix Morand, from which you can see spectacular views of the Regional Park of the Volcanoes. The town of Mont-Dore is famous for its hot springs. where also highlights one of its historical monuments, the Funiculaire du Capucin. To the south is the highest peak in the Massif Central, Sancy peak or Puy de Sancy (1886 meters high), which can be climbed walking for an hour or with the cable car. You reach the summit by a stepped way in about 20 minutes.
View from Col de la Croix Morand
(in 8 Km.) Lac de Guéry: This is a 25 hectares lake situated at an altitude of 1244 meters which owes its origin to a lava flow that blocked the course of a stream coming from the Puy Gros. Its maximum depth is 16 meters and fishing is permitted from March to November. In winter the lake is freezed. You can reach the lake by road, being located a few meters from Col de Guery. In the Col de Guery there is a large parking that allows on one side go to see the spectacular views from the balcony over the Tuilière and Sanadoire rocks and on the other side walk around the lake.
Col de Guéry - View over Tuilière and Sanadoire
(in 9 Km.) Orcival: In this beautiful mountain village formed by houses with slate roofs highlights the Basilica of Notre-Dame-des-Fers, a Romanesque of Auvergne church built between year 1146 and 1178. It is part of the first list of French historical monuments since 1840. Inside stands the statue of the Virgin, very venerated and pilgrimage reason, and columns that surround the sanctuary. On the outside stands its apse, very similar in structure to that of the church of Saint-Nectaire.
Orcival - Church of Notre-Dame-des-Fers
(in 24 Km.) Puy de Dôme: We wanted to climb this peak but the road was closed for renovation. On top of the Puy de Dôme volcano (1,465 m) you can see much of the Chaîne des Puys. To the north are the craters of Petit Puy de Dôme, Grand Suchet, Puy de Côme, Pariou and Louchadière and to the south the craters of Monchier, Barme, Mercoeur,etc. At the top you can find an antenna of TDF (Télédiffusion de France) and a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Mercury, whose ruins were discovered in 1873.
Puy de Dôme
(in 50 Km.) Issoire: After travel all the day through the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park, we slept again in this town.