The Auvergne region is home to the largest dormant volcanic region in Europe. On the face of it, this region is like some of France's other rural regions, dominated by sweeping green countryside and the occasional small market town. But beneath the green hills lay sleeping volcanoes and through the water pumps flows warm water direct from hot springs that bubble underground. Auvergne's youngest and arguably most impressive volcanic range is the Mont Dômes. Stretching for more than 30 kilometres and encompassing around 100 dormant volcanoes that rise from the surrounding plateau, it's established itself as a popular destination for walkers and paragliders.
The Puy de Dôme is perhaps Auvergne's best-known peak and offers exceptional views of the region from its vantage point 1,464 metres up - Mont Blanc is often visible to the east. In some years it's featured as a stage finish for the Tour de France and watching the cyclists in their coloured jerseys snaking their way up the road towards the summit, legs pumping hard, can be quite a spectacle.