Puy de Dôme

For the department, see Puy-de-Dôme.
Puy de Dôme

General view
Highest point
Elevation 1,465 m (4,806 ft)[1]
Coordinates 45°46′19.2″N 02°57′44.64″E / 45.772000°N 2.9624000°E / 45.772000; 2.9624000Coordinates: 45°46′19.2″N 02°57′44.64″E / 45.772000°N 2.9624000°E / 45.772000; 2.9624000
Puy de Dôme


Location Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne, France
Parent range Chaîne des Puys region of Massif Central
Mountain type Lava dome
Last eruption ca 10,700 years ago[2]
First ascent Unknown
Easiest route road

Puy de Dôme (French pronunciation: [pɥi də dom]; (Auvergnat Puèi Domat, Puèi de Doma) is a large lava dome and one of the youngest volcanoes in the Chaîne des Puys region of Massif Central in central France. This chain of volcanoes including numerous cinder cones, lava domes, and maars is far from the edge of any tectonic plate. Puy de Dôme is approximately 10 kilometres (6 mi) from Clermont-Ferrand. The Puy-de-Dôme département (with hyphens) is named after the volcano.


Mercury temple.

In pre-Christian Europe, Puy de Dôme served as an assembly place for spiritual ceremonies.[3] Temples were built at the summit, including a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the God Mercury, the ruins of which were discovered in 1873.

In 1648, Florin Périer, at the urging of Blaise Pascal, proved Evangelista Torricelli's theory that barometric observations were caused by the weight of air by measuring the height of a column of mercury at three elevations on Puy de Dôme.

In 1875, a physics laboratory was built at the summit. Since 1956, a TDF (Télédiffusion de France) antenna is also located there.

On the top of the mountain, there is a transmitter for FM and TV.


In more recent times, Puy de Dôme has served as an occasional stage finish in the Tour de France. It was here that in 1964 Raymond Poulidor battled with Jacques Anquetil in one of the race's most famous moments, racing side by side up almost the entire climb; and that in 1975 Eddy Merckx was punched in the kidney by a spectator. According to Jean-François Pescheux, since the construction of a rack railway, and because of the very narrow road, the Tour will never come back to the Puy de Dôme, its last ascension in the race being in 1988.[4]

The road is only open for cyclists during very limited periods (when other vehicles are prohibited). In 2006 this was 7–9am on Wednesdays and Sundays between 1 May and 30 September.[5] In 2016, it will be the first checkpoint in the Transcontinental Race, which is a non-stop, unsupported bicycle race across Europe.[6]


Tourist centre.

The Puy de Dôme is one of the most visited sites in the Auvergne region, attracting nearly 500,000 visitors a year. It is a well-known centre for paragliding. The summit offers expansive views of the Chaîne des Puys and Clermont-Ferrand. A restaurant and shops are available, as well as a visitor centre giving information on the history and geology of the area.

A pedestrian path (Le sentier des muletiers), formerly a Roman road, leads to the Temple of Mercury. The motor road previously leading to the summit is now closed. Visitors must hike up on foot or take the Panoramique des Dômes, a rack railway operational since May 2012.

Hikers can also reach the Puy using a footpath on the northern side, which runs past the Nid de la Poule crater. The GR 4 long-distance trail uses this footpath and the sentier des muletiers to traverse the mountain.


  1. Nicola Williams, France, p592 - "The ice-flecked summit of Puy de Dôme (1465m)...."
  2. D. Miallier, Pierre Boivin, C. Deniel, A. Gourgaud, P. Lanos, M. Sforna, Thierry Pilleyre "The ultimate summit eruption of Puy de Dôme volcano (Chaine des Puys, French Massif Central) about 10,700 years ago", Comptes Rendus Géosciences 342 (2010) 847-854
  3. Hubert, Henri (2013-11-12). The Greatness and Decline of the Celts. Routledge. ISBN 9781136202926.
  4. "Le Puy-de-Dôme dans le Tour de France" (in French). ledicodutour. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  5. "Puy de Dôme: Clermont Ferrand". www.climbbybike.com. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  6. Beltchenko, Neil. "Transcontinental Race releases 2016 controls". Bikepackers Magazine. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
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