Most visitors to France will be familiar with the popular holiday destinations of the Loire and Dordogne valleys; yet only a small percentage of these tourists will have visited the much less frequented region of the Auvergne where both of those great rivers begin their lives in the mountains of the Massif Central.
This land of big skies and far horizons in the southern half of Central France is home to mountains of over 1800m in height as well as spectacular river gorges, rolling sub alpine meadows and timeless rural villages; yet it receives a fraction of the visitors that head every summer to the Alps or the Pyrenees.
Walking in the Auvergne by Rachel Crolla and Carl McKeating is a comprehensive guide to this fascinating and beautiful region and is up to the usual high standard of Cicerone guidebooks. The authors have clearly spent a lot of time exploring the Auvergne’s mountains, valleys and villages and there is a wealth of background information on each part of the region as well as maps, photographs and detailed information on each of the 42 walks described. Included here are the main summits of Mont Dore, Cantal and Puy de Dome as well as lesser known parts of the region.
When I visited the Auvergne and Massif Central myself, the only information I had was a map and some local guides in French so this guidebook would have come in very useful indeed and looking at some of the walking routes described – which range incidentally from easy family walks to mountain hikes – I am sorely tempted to go back and explore further as it seemed I missed quite a bit!
A must for any walker planning to visit the Auvergne.
Pete Buckley July 2013