Exploring the french countryside

Find the French Countryside

Beautiful landscape of a straw's field
Cantal is a department in south-central France. It is named after the Cantal mountain range, a group of extinct, eroded volcanic peaks, which covers much of the department. Residents are known as Cantaliens or Cantalous.
Cantal is part of the current region of Auvergne. It borders the departments of Puy-de-DômeHaute-LoireAveyronLotLozère, and Corrèze. Its principal towns are AurillacSaint-Flour, and Mauriac. The highest point in Cantal is Le Plomb du Cantal at 1858 metres. In Cantal, the farmers practice mountain pasture, with the herd passing summer at altitude in the mountains. The milk is traditionally used to produceAppellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) cheese such as CantalSalers cheese and Bleu d'Auvergne. Cantal is the only French Departement to be home to no less than 5 Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée cheese.

Dishes of Cantal are made of basic recipes. In origin, they were designed to satisfiy hill farmers. They had very physical work: Looking after cows, the manufacture of cheese, etc.
Thus, ham, cheese, vegetables are at the basis of the dishes in this department, such as:
  • The Aligot (also in Aveyron): Cheese (Fresh Tome) with creamed potatoes
  • The Truffade: Crushed potatoes with cheese (Fresh Tome) garlic and lardons.
  • The Pounti: A dish made with herbs, lard, prunes and Swiss chard.
  • The typical cheese Cantal, which can be chosen young, old or "entre-deux".

Thanks to its landscape, Cantal can count on a good snow level, which allows winter sports. The station of Le Lioran (greatest ski-resort of the Massif Central) allows alpine skiing (with specific adaptations for snowboard) or ice-skating. Excursions in snow shoes are also possible. The department has several hundred kilometers of cross-country skiing tracks.

Among the various activities offered in this department, the "Massif Cantalien" can be discovered through walking, horseback riding or mountain biking excursions (tracks are especially designed for this). Aquatic sports are also popular, thanks to numerous lakes.
The department also proposes more classical activities like mountaineering, canoeing or fishing. The landscape also allows the practice of free flight : Base jump fans frequent the sector around the Puy Mary or the Valley of Brezon.

More informationCantal Tourism website

Treasure of Travelers' autor

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