Day Twenty – Trip to the extinct volcano Puy du Montchal

We woke the following morning, shattered and cold, as the temperature in the region we were staying in dropped to 7° during the night. It wouldn’t have been too bad, if not for my overbearing stubbornness. We have the Wallas heater which we normally run all night, which Willow suggested we turn on, however I moaned that we shouldn’t have to turn the heating on whilst on vacation in the South of France. Next time, I will definitely be turning the heater on, as sleeping in a full set of clothes and two blankets did nothing to keep either of us warm throughout the night. My teeth still hurt from the chattering.

Our plan from now would be to keep heading northbound, trying to eliminate the journey time back to Dieppe. For today’s walk we had settled on a walk around an extinct volcano with a lake at the bottom.

The volcano was a two hour drive from where we had spent the night, located in the Parc naturel régional des Volcans d’Auvergne. This is basically a region with lots of extinct volcanos, which surprised me, as I never really considered France as having any.

The website where we found the walk, described it as popular, so we were not to shocked to see cars littered around the surrounding streets as we arrived. We quickly wolfed down a small lunch and then made our way to Lac Pavin to start the walk.

For the second day in a row, we had stumbled upon a vibrant lake, offering us a truly marvelous colour of blue.

Normally when choosing a walk, we prefer to find spots which will be less frequented by tourists, leaving us to savour whatever magnificent sight is around us. This walk however, started with us stuck behind a large group of tourists, being led by a tour guide. It didn’t take us long to barge past the mass groups of people, and to start making our way around the lake and up the volcano.

The walk around the lake takes you through sheltered woodland, and the withing a couple of minutes the track splits, offering you a route solely around the lake, or another path rises steeply, leading you to the top of Puy Dr Montchal. The weather here was vastly warmer than the temperatures of the previous night, however we were both grateful for the shade that the trees provided during the steepest climb.

We followed the steep path up, and after about thirty minutes of walking, you burst out from beneath the trees, and are greeted with views from across the nature reserve.

Opposite us, we could see a small village, with ski lifts to the top of the mountain adjacent to us. Clearly this region looks a lot different during the winter months.

It wasn’t long until we had reached the highest point, which was a nice 1407m above sea level.

After catching our breathe for a few minutes, we next made our way the the crater.

The crater, was only five minutes from the highest peak, and luckily for us, we arrived just as another group of people were leaving, meaning we had the spot to ourselves.

The walk then leads you back down to rejoin the last part of the lake route. It’s not long till you catch a glimpse of the lake, breaking through the surrounding trees.

With the walk complete, we decided to find a local spot so that we could spend the rest of the evening enjoying the distant views in what was left of the warm summers air.

For dinner, we decided to make a dent in all of the recent cheese that we had bought. Couldn’t risk anything happening to it.

Tomorrow, we had located another volcano walk to the north of the region. This one however wouldn’t benefit from a lake as well. It would knock more time from our journey back to Dieppe though. 😁

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