Puy de Dôme (1465m) is the best-known of the Auvergne's dormant volcanoes. Part of the Unesco-listed Chaîne des Puys, a 40km string of lava domes now carpeted in green, Puy de Dôme is the focal point for hikes, scenic train rides and paragliding. Nearby, a volcano-themed amusement park and excavated volcanic sight amp up the geological wonder.
A relative youngster (in geological terms, at least) at 10,000 years old, Puy de Dôme has long acted as a spiritual lightning rod. The remains of a Gallo-Roman temple, rediscovered in 1873, stand on the summit (now crowned with a TV antenna). Whether you visit in sunshine or midwinter, when the hills are kissed by snow, you are guaranteed one of France’s prettiest panoramas.