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Stage site for the 3rd time

Cantal mountain resort (15)

Population: 600 in the commune of Laveissière (Valagnons, Valagnonnes), 144,000 in the department of Cantal

Specialities: truffade (potatoes and cheese), Salers meat, pounti (pâté), pachade (thick, crispy pancake), 5 Auvergne PDO cheeses

Personalities: Carole Montillet (patron of the resort), Sébastien Foucras (freestyle skiing), Thierry Lhermitte (ambassador for hiking in the Cantal), Georges Pompidou (decisive support in the creation of the resort)

Economy: leading ski area in the Massif Central with 60 km of pistes and 18 ski lifts, 300 km of signposted footpaths and 2 areas dedicated to mountain biking in the summer, tourism (55,000 tourist beds), agriculture, forestry.

Sport: Ski club du Lioran, Les Mouflons du Lioran (ice hockey). Events: Auvergne Mountain Bike Championships, Ultra Trail of Puy Mary, Cantal Y Cimes

Festivals: Fête de la transhumance, Fête de la montagne, Hibernarock

Labels: France Montagnes network, classified tourist resort

Websites: www.lelioran.com www.cantal-destination.com


  • A massacre at Super-Lioran

The first finish of the Tour de France at Le Lioran in 1975 (then known as Super-Lioran, as superlatives were in vogue in ski resorts) was something of a massacre. Worn out by the heat and the rigours of the first twelve stages of the race, several favourites faltered during the long 260-km ride from Albi. Luis Ocana, suffering from tendonitis, did not start. Three of his team-mates also went home. Italy's Giovanni Battaglin, 7th in the overall standings, also failed to start, suffering from a cracked kneecap. During the stage, Portugal’s Joachim Agostinho was hit by a car, but it took more than that to bring him down. Suffering from bronchitis, Raymond Poulidor lost 30 seconds in the finale. In those conditions, the leaders who were still in the race neutralised each other, and Eddy Merckx, in need of team-mates, contented himself with controlling his rivals. He took the lead on the day's main climb, Plomb du Cantal, and let Michel Pollentier, who was no threat to the GC, go. The Belgian won solo, ahead of his compatriots Merckx and Lucien Van Impe. It was once again a Belgian, Greg Van Avermaet, who won in the resort during the 2016 Tour. The future Olympic champion, who had one of his finest seasons that year, also took the Yellow Jersey, which he would keep for three days before wearing it again two years later.  


  • Plomb du Cantal (1855 m)

The highest point in the department, an emblematic site in the Volcans Regional Nature Park of Auvergne. Accessible by foot along the GR4 or by cable car, it offers exceptional panoramic views of the Massif Central peaks: Puy Griou, Puy Mary, Puy de Sancy.... From the summit, there are enduro and downhill mountain bike routes, a take-off area for paragliders and various hiking trails.  

  • Auvergne Agriculture Museum

Musée de l'Agriculture Auvergnate is housed in a 17th-century farmhouse in the heart of the pretty village of Coltines. Six exhibition rooms offer a fun and educational visit. "Winter" serves as an introduction, with a presentation of the local architectural heritage and magnificent snow-covered landscapes. This is followed by the interior of the Ostal de la Marissou (Little Marie's house), named after the last inhabitant of the area, its inglenook fireplace and a range of objects found on farms in days gone by. The visit continues with spring, then summer and autumn. A number of tools bearing witness to the skills of yesteryear are on display. At the end of the tour, films and a slide show retracing farm life are shown.  

  • Maison du Buronnier

Pastoralism is an ancestral practice in these mountains, and the buron is the place where the buronniers live and make Cantal cheese during the summer months. The Buron de Belles Aigues, which was in operation until the 1960s, has preserved all the parts and tools needed to pass on this Cantal know-how. Guided tours throughout the summer.  

  • La Roche Percée

La Roche Percée is a cave and medieval troglodyte dwelling located on the cliffside above the hamlet of Fraisse-Haut (commune of Laveissière) in the Alagnon valley in Haute-Auvergne. This medieval troglodyte dwelling is divided into three chiselled levels linked by staircases. Near the entrance is a hoodoo. The cave has been crudely secured by the local council with iron railings to make it easier to explore the entire cave. The cave can be reached either by taking the yellow PR trail from Fraisse-Haut (250 metres ascent) or the GR 400, which passes above the cave and follows the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela. No documents have been found about it, but certain clues suggest that its occupation goes back a long way. It served as a hermitage during the Middle Ages, particularly for Saint-Calupan. It was also used as a pastoral shelter for shepherds until the early 20th century, when it was occupied by two women.


  • Cantal

40 cm in diameter, 40 cm in height, 40 kilos. These are the measurements of a cantal cheese. You rarely see it whole, but you can easily recognise it by its texture. This is due to the way it is made: pressed once, it forms a tome, which is then ground and salted into the mass before being pressed again to give the cheese its final shape. The tastes and flavours evolve with time and maturing, while retaining that unique sensation of firmness and melting. This cheese is available as a "Jeune affiné" (Young and refined) from 30 to 60 days, an "Entre-Deux" (in Between) from 90 to 120 days or "Vieux" (Old) from more than 240 days. Certified in 1956, Cantal is now produced by almost a thousand milk producers, nearly 80 farmers and twelve production plants, which sold over 10,000 tonnes of Cantal in 2020.

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