PUY DE DÔME
Stage finish for the 14th time
Population: 3,500 in Orcines
Specialities: truffade, Auvergne gastronomy.
Personalities: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (priest and philosopher, born in Orcines). Michelin family (family vault in Orcines). Raymond Poulidor, Jacques Anquetil (cycling)
Sport: Tour de France (14 finishes). T2C Muleteers Trophy (foot race). Hiking, nature trips, paragliding. Michelin Prize, car climb (in the 1900s).
Culture: National Geology Days (May). Festival les Nuées Ardentes (June).
Economy: tourism (half a million visitors per year).
Labels: Grand site de France. Unesco heritage.
Websites and social networks: volcan.puy-de-dome.fr / www.clermontauvergnetourisme.com
PUY DE DÔME AND CYCLING
This is the return of one of the Tour de France's most prestigious summits, which has been closed to cyclists since 2012 and which the race had not visited since 1988, due to a new development that made a finish almost impossible to organise. Puy de Dôme has nevertheless made history by becoming the only climb in the Massif Central to be listed as a non-category climb. Riders have been tackling it for more than 70 years, since the 1952 Tour, when Fausto Coppi won there, as he had done at the top of another climb destined for immense popularity: Alpe d'Huez. In 1959, Federico Bahamontes' victory in a time trial ahead of Charly Gaul heralded an even more resounding duel five years later. That day, even if the winner of the stage, Julio Jimenez, is often forgotten, it was the poignant mano a mano between Raymond Poulidor and Jacques Anquetil that made history. Poupou dropped the great Jacques in the final to come back within 14 seconds of his great rival in the general classification. The images of this duel at the top are among the icons of cycling history. Puy de Dôme, often the scene of decisive time-trials, crowned other immense Tour champions like Luis Ocana, winner twice in 1971 and 1973, or Joop Zoetemelk, also double winner on those slopes in 1976 and 1978. Pierre Matignon, Angel Arroyo and Erich Maechler are the other riders to have won there, with Johnny Weltz, its last winner in 1988. The very first ascent of Puy de Dôme one a bicycle was ridden in 1892 by local rider Fernand Ladoux. A mechanic by trade, he had a passion for new means of transportation, bicycle, automobile but also for photography. A pioneering cyclist, he was a founding member in 1892 and road manager of the Véloce-Club auvergnat, whose honorary president was none other than Marcel Michelin. He left many pictures of the extinct volcano.
Departure from Col de Ceyssat: the climb lasts between 45 minutes and one hour. The Muleteers' path winds its way up the 350-metre slope to the top of the Puy de Dôme and is the old path that is said to have led pilgrims to the Temple of Mercury. This path is marked out in yellow and has several interpretation desks. Departure from the Maison de site (via Col de Ceyssat): allow between 1h30 and 2h to complete the 6-km climb.
Grand Site de France area Located at the top of the Puy de Dôme, it is open from 10 am to 5.30 pm without interruption. Its playful and interactive scenography (educational desks, terminals, films, lenticular images, etc.) allows visitors to immerse themselves in the spirit of the place around three themes: spirituality, beliefs and legends at the summit, the challenge of sustainable management, and human conquests (scientific and sporting). Temporary exhibitions also allow visitors to share news about the site and to learn more about the department. In the projection room, two short films related to the Puy de Dôme site, its history and its emblematic character are shown.
Temple of Mercury space
Located at the summit, it is open to the public from 10.50 a.m. to 4.40 p.m. without interruption. The Temple Observatory presents an interactive tour of the Mercury sanctuary. This journey back to the 2nd century AD is punctuated by films, models, objects and numerous games. After following Agrippa's path, the visitor follows the pilgrims' route through the sanctuary, discovers the main objects found during the excavations and the materials and techniques used to build the temple.
Temple of Mercury
Construction: ca. 140
History: In the 2nd century, the largest mountain temple in Roman Gaul was located at the top of Puy de Dôme. Mainly dedicated to Mercury, this large terraced sanctuary is a major pilgrimage site. The temple was mainly dedicated to the protector of travellers and merchants, Mercury Dumias (of the Dome), who had already been venerated under other names. The sanctuary is located in an ideal position overlooking the capital of the city Augustonemetum (Clermont-Ferrand) and is in full view of the public. The remains of the temple were discovered at the end of the 19th century, but it is the excavations carried out over the last twenty years that have revealed its importance.
Characteristics: the architecture of the Temple of Mercury combines classical features (vast pronaos) with Gallo-Roman characteristics (square cella bordered by a gallery on three sides). By its architectural composition, its dimensions (3,600 m²) and the organization of its access by terraces which are remarkably adapted to the relief of Puy de Dôme, this monumental complex can be ranked among the most important pilgrimage sanctuaries of the Western Roman Empire.
Truffade is a typical dish from the Puy de Dôme. It is mainly composed of well roasted potatoes in a pan, fresh tomme cheese, salt and pepper for seasoning. It is served with Auvergne cured ham and green salad. This dish is full of stories because it was the dish of the shepherds who had to go into the mountains for long months. Truffade comes from the word trufada, which in Auvergne dialect means potato.