Lac Pavin and forest.

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Lac Pavin

Top choice in Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d'Auvergne

This midnight-blue crater lake, enclosed by a fuzz of pine trees, lies 6km southwest of Besse. Blasted out of the earth by a volcanic explosion nearly seven millennia ago, today it attracts trout fishers and walkers; the trail around the shore takes less than an hour. There's pedalo rental in summer (half-/full day €5.50/10). Winter, when the lake has a frosty halo, is even more beautiful.

There's free parking nearby but at the height of summer you may have to fight for a space.

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