Velvet-green hills and pastures undulating off into the horizon. Fresh air. Mist. Filled with iconic pastoral landscapes, the Plaine-des-Cafres bears an unexpected likeness to Bavaria. It is cool, relaxing and oxygenated. Chalk that up to altitude and attitude – it sits 1200m above sea level and is regularly massaged by cool breezes. Once a refuge for runaway slaves from the coast, the Plaine-des-Cafres is a vast, gently rolling area that spreads between the Cirques and Piton de la Fournaise.
The most interesting place on the Plaine-des-Cafres from a visitor's perspective is Bourg-Murat, which is the obvious launch pad for the volcano. It's in this rural settlement where the Route Forestière du Volcan turns off to Piton de la Fournaise.