FRANCE AUVERGNE PUY DE DOME Puy de DomeMajestic Puy de Dôme [www.planetepuydedome.com/discover-the-puy-de-dome/puy-de-dome-volcano-117-2.html] attracts almost 500,000 visitors annually, thanks to its high summit that offers panoramic views of the city of Clermont-Ferrand and the chain of volcanoes surrounding it. The tallest (1465m), yet youngest, puy in the Chaîne des Puys of the Massif Central, Puy de Dôme used to serve as a place of worship for ancient Celts and Romans. The large lava dome was once used as the site of a Gallo-Roman temple for the God of Mercury. These days, a gigantic TV transmission tower stands in its place, taking advantage of the peak’s height.

The balding dome usually teems with outdoor enthusiasts in summer is and is well blanketed in snow during winter. The Puy de Dôme summit is also a popular launchpad for paragliders and handgliders.

You can arrive at the Puy de Dôme from Clermont-Ferrand; simply watch out for the signpost along Place de Jaude, which leads you up to a private road. A shuttle service [ad/ch €5.20/.60] runs from the Clermont-Ferrand’s SNCF station to the Puy de Dôme summit (between 26th June to 29th August).You can also drive down to the Col de Ceyssat Pass, where you can leave the car and make your way up on foot for about 45 minutes. Another alternative is boarding the free shuttle service that leaves from the Col de Ceyssat carpark (available in May, June, September and October).