Top Ten France Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Horseback Ride in Auvergne
By Patricia Ochs

With ancient glaciers and volcanoes, the Regional Nature Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne is a little-known spot in the Massif Central that's perfectly suited to horseback riding (though the mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing is terrific also). A rather challenging six-day journey begins in the Artense region, with its peat bogs, hollows, and broom-covered slopes. The trail winds through Salers, a 12th-century town, and Trizac (elevation 3,280 feet, or 1,000 meters) with its 10th-century chapel. The horses plod up mountains sculpted by firey underground furnaces—among them the stunning Puy Griou, active 4 to 11 million years ago. Magnificent glacier-carved gorges further cut by the meandering Tarantaine and Rhue Rivers empty out into passages and pastureland where the mountain cheese-makers produce Cantal cheeses. The trails are accessible via Montlugon by train or car.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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