From Volcanoes to Villages


I'll never forget my first train ride to Le Puy. I sat by the window and looked out at the new landscape zipping by me. The train tracks followed a windy mountain path. Below us, we could see the wide Loire River. Sheep and cows grazed on wide, green pastures. Small towns sprang up between the mountains with bright red roofs and stone walls. As we pulled into Le Puy, a bright red statue of the Virgin Mary shimmered in the sun. She looked down on the town from a rocky peak. The clear sky, green trees, and surrounding mountains filled me with wonder. Five months and two seasons later, I am still in awe of the environment of the Auvergne region.

What makes this environment special or different?:

The environment of Le Puy is special because of its volcanic past. Le Puy sits on a central plateau called the massif central. This plateau formed millions of years ago, when the continents of Africa and Europe were just starting to take shape! Out of this central plateau sprang a chain of volcanoes. While they haven't erupted for thousands of years, be careful! The volcanoes are dormant, not extinct. This means they still might errupt one day. Volcanic activity created Mont Anis. Le Puy was built on this mountainside over many centuries. Volcanic activity also created the neighboring peak Mont St. Michel.