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Overview

The Massif Central is a mountain range of volcanic origin that stretches in a north-south swath to the west of the Rhone Valley. Extinct for several million years, the largest volcanic area is Monts du Cantal in Auvergne, the tallest peak of which, Plomb du Cantal, reaches an altitude of 6,086 feet. Plomb du Cantal’s north and west slope are covered with trails, ski terrain and lifts that have recently expanded onto its eastern slopes as well. The highest vertical served by lifts is 2,000 feet at Le Lioran ski area. With less total ski terrain, but a higher lift-served vertical of 2,800 feet, Le Mont-Dore ski area is on another eroded ...

The Massif Central is a mountain range of volcanic origin that stretches in a north-south swath to the west of the Rhone Valley. Extinct for several million years, the largest volcanic area is Monts du Cantal in Auvergne, the tallest peak of which, Plomb du Cantal, reaches an altitude of 6,086 feet. Plomb du Cantal’s north and west slope are covered with trails, ski terrain and lifts that have recently expanded onto its eastern slopes as well. The highest vertical served by lifts is 2,000 feet at Le Lioran ski area. With less total ski terrain, but a higher lift-served vertical of 2,800 feet, Le Mont-Dore ski area is on another eroded volcano at the center of the Massif Central. Its highest summit, Puy de Sancy, is the highest point in France outside the Alps or Pyrenees. Le Mont-Dore ski area is on its north slopes and Super Besse is on its southeast. Not as high or complex as the Alpine ski resorts, these are still well equipped and are the closest skiing to Paris.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

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Juliette Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Skiing extends from December through March.