Apr 10, 2024
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Puy de Dome, the Volcano of the Tour de France

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The Puy de Dome, located in the heart of France, is an inactive volcano that rises majestically over the Auvergne region. With a height of 1,465 meters (4,806 ft), it is the highest peak in the French Massif Central and an emblematic place that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

  • Height: 1,465 meters (4,806 ft)
  • Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
  • Location: Massif Central, France
  • Crater: 800 meters in diameter
Puy-de-Dome from Google Maps

Puy-de-Dome from Google Maps

A Sleeping Giant

The Puy de Dome was formed millions of years ago during the Tertiary era. Its last volcanic eruption dates back approximately 11,000 years, so it is considered an inactive volcano. However, its imposing figure and its 800-meter diameter crater are reminders of its geological past.

A Place Loaded with History

The Puy de Dome has been an important place for civilization since prehistoric times. The first inhabitants of the region built a temple at the top of the volcano, which was later used by the Romans as a place of worship. In the Middle Ages, it was known as the “Mountain of Kings” and became a symbol of power and prestige.

A Popular Tourist Destination

The Puy de Dome is a popular tourist destination for several reasons. Its easy access, thanks to a cog railway and a road, allows visitors to reach the summit effortlessly and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the region. Additionally, at the top, there is an astronomical observatory, a museum, and a restaurant.

Is also a paradise for adventure lovers. Hikers can enjoy a variety of hiking trails that run along the volcano’s slopes, while cyclists can challenge themselves by ascending the mountain road. For the more adventurous, there is the possibility of paragliding or hang gliding from the summit.

Is a symbol of the Auvergne region and a place that represents its rich history, natural beauty, and adventurous spirit. If you are looking for a unique and unforgettable destination, is a must-visit.

There are two main routes to ascend Puy de Dome

Route via D941 road from Clermont-Ferrand

The route via the D941 road is the longest but also the easiest, with a gentler average gradient. It is the most popular route among cyclists and motorists.

  • Length: 14 km
  • Ascent: 1,047 meters
  • Average gradient: 7.5%
  • Maximum gradient: 12%

Route via GR4 trail from Ceyssat

The route via the GR4 trail is shorter and steeper, with a considerably higher average gradient. It is a more challenging route but also more rewarding, as it offers more panoramic views of the landscape.

  • Length: 8.5 km
  • Ascent: 850 meters
  • Average gradient: 10%
  • Maximum gradient: 25%


It has a height of 1,465 meters above sea level. From the town of Clermont-Ferrand, at about 400 meters high, to the summit, there is a height difference of over 1,000 meters in just 13 kilometers.

Puy de Dome in the Tour de France

2023Michael Woods
1988Johnny Weltz
1986Erich Maechler
1983Ángel Arroyo
1978Joop Zoetemelk
1976Joop Zoetemelk
1975Lucien Van Impe
1973Luis Ocaña
1971Luis Ocaña
1969Pierre Matignon
1967Felice Gimondi
1964Julio Jiménez
1959Federico Bahamontes
1952Fausto Coppi

Until the year 2023, Puy de Dome has been climbed fourteen times by the Tour de France. It is the only climb in the French Massif Central that has been classified as a special category on four occasions (1983, 1986, 2008, and 2023). The first climb was in 1952 with Fausto Coppi’s victory. In 1959, Federico Bahamontes won an individual time trial stage. The most memorable year was undoubtedly 1964, with the mano a mano confrontation between Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor. Julio Jiménez won the stage, but the highlight was Anquetil giving in on the last kilometer and Poulidor reducing the gap to 14 seconds in the general classification. In 1967, Felice Gimondi also prevailed at the summit.

Luis Ocaña achieved a double victory in 1971 and 1973

Lucien Van Impe won the stage in 1975, but the standout incident was Eddy Merckx receiving a punch in the liver from a spectator. Joop Zoetemelk achieved a double victory in 1976 and 1978. A new individual time trial in 1983 was won by Ángel Arroyo. In 1986, Erich Maechler emerged victorious in a breakaway. Less known cyclists like Pierre Matignon in 1969 or Johnny Weltz in 1988 also won the stage.

The Tour has not returned since 1988 due to a financial dispute between the competition organizers and the volcano owners. Although a return was mentioned in 2023 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the duel between Anquetil and Poulidor on the slopes of the volcano, it was ultimately delayed by a year, and the Tour returned to Puy de Dome in 2024 after 35 years.

The epic battle between Poulidor and Anquetil in 1964 on Puy de Dome


1964, Puy de Dome went down in history as one of the most mythical stages of the Tour de France. On July 12th, French cyclists Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor starred in a legendary duel on the slopes of this volcano.

Only 56 seconds separated them in the general classification. Poulidor attacked Anquetil several times during the ascent, but the latter resisted all his attacks. In the last kilometer, Poulidor launched a final attack and managed to leave Anquetil behind. In the final meters of the tough climb, the cyclist from Creuse took 42 seconds from his direct competitor and finished second in the stage behind Julio Jiménez. It was a memorable stage finish, but it was not enough to dethrone Anquetil, who won his fifth Tour de France that year.

Puy de Dome on Google Maps

Ascending by electric rack train

There is the possibility with the “Panoramique des Domes”, the electric rack train that reaches the summit. The path along the mountain offers you a comfortable 15-minute journey and reveals an impressive panorama of the Puys chain, the Limagne Plain, Clermont-Ferrand, and the Sancy Massif. Once at the top, you only have a few meters left to discover the “Géant des Domes,” a mythical place and the prominent symbol of the Auvergne volcanoes.

2024 electric rack train

  • Round trip ticket: €16.50
  • Round trip ticket for youth (4 to 14 years old): €9.40
  • Round trip ticket for children under 4 years old: FREE

Photos from Clermont Auvergne Tourisme

Europe · France

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