Le Mont Dore

FRANCE AUVERGNE PUY DE DOME Le mont-dore, GARE D'ARRIVEE DU TELEPHERIQUE DU PUY DE SANCYThe grey-slated town of Le Mont Dore (pop 1,504) stretches along a wooded valley that lies beside the Dordogne River. Once a popular spa town that dates back to the Roman er, Le Mont Dore still sees many curistes who believe in the healing powers of the local hot springs. Nonetheless, the town has now begun venturing into the skiing industry as well; for good measure.
 

 



 


The Établissement Thermal [1 Place Panthéon, +33 825800339, www.chainethermale.fr] lies in the centre of town and is well-known for soothing respiratory and rheumatism problems. It is said that the mountainous location of the hot springs makes them a good remedy for asthma and allergies. Touted as a ‘centre for the treatment of asthma’, the Établissement Thermal merits a visit regardless of your health condition, as the building itself is a sight to behold. The baths’ interior is built in a superb 19th century neo-Byzantine style (with striped columns and ornate tiles) and it still retains remnants of the older Gallo-Roman detailing. The thermal baths are rather popular amidst the Parisians as well. Remember to bring your own bathing suit, if you wish to get into the pool.

FRANCE AUVERGNE PUY DE DOME Le mont-dore, La Grande Cascade

 

 

 

La Grand Cascade is located a few kilometres south-east of the village centre and is very worth the hike.  The path leads to the elevated Plateau de Durbise and yields expansive views of Puy de Sancy and beyond.  The falls freeze over in winter though the path itself is still accessible; in summer it is a breeze.

 

 

 

 


Skiing One of the town's drawcards is its proximity to the Puy du Sancy (see above photo). This jagged, treacherous looking peak stands at a height of 1885m and is located just a few kilometres from Le Mont Dore. The dormant volcanic peak is a popular walkers’ destination and is usually accessed via the Funiculaire du Capucin [Rue Réné Cassin, +33 473650125 ad/ch €3.90/3.20 (one-way), €5.20/3.90 (round trip)] – France's oldest electric funicular railway built in 1898 and speeds along at the great clip of almost four kilometres per hour, carries 280 passengers per hour, and is listed as a
monuments historiques  The snow and ice in winter can stop the fenicular from working. The slow train ride ends at a plateau, named Les Capucins, from where you can hike to the Puy du Sancy via the GR30. The Pic du Sancy has also become a reputed skiing spot; and for this purpose, it is best accessed via a cable-car lift known as the Téléphérique du Sancy [Pied du Sancy, +33 473650273 ad/ch €6.60-8.60/4.90-6.60]. The lift begins about 3.5 kilometres south of town, bringing you to the summit of Puy du Sancy. You can stop here for awhile to admire the stunning backdrop, before you hike or ski your way down the steep slope. The northern section of the Puy du Sancy makes for a spectacular ski route, with its 42km of runs. There is another 45km route down the southeast end of the slopes towards Super Besse (near Besse-de-Chandesse). You can check out all the skiing options on the Sancy Massif at www.sancy.com.  Le Mont Dore also has over 40km of cross country ski trails. Biking uphill through the undulating path between Les Capucins and the Puy de Sancy summit has also become a popular activity.


FRANCE AUVERGNE PUY DE DOME Le mont-dore, Adventure camp
Mont-Dore Adventure Park [
Le salon du Capucin, +33 473650000, www.montdoreaventures.com ad/ch €22/8-16] is located a few kilometres west of Le Mont Dore and can be easily accessed by the Funiculaire du Capucin. The park is kid-friendly and situated in the heart of a birch and fir tree forest and it allows you (or your kids) to climb these trees and swing your way through tree paths. However, you have to attend a compulsory explanatory and safety course before that. The park’s facilities allow you can bring the whole family here to experience life like Tarzan, and kids as young as 3 years are catered for. The park closes in winter and opens in April.


 

 

 


LE MONT DORE STREET MAP
:
   1. Tourism Office  2. Train station  3. La Grande Cascade  4. Établissement Thermal  5.
Funiculaire du Capucin  6. Pied du Sancy (cable-car start point; south of map limits)  7. Puy du Sancy (south of map limits)  8. Super Besse ski resort  9. Mont-Dore Adventure Park

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