with a 12 year old

The Time



The Book

Our guide book was "Walks in Volcano Country" by Alan Castle, published by the Cicerone Press.







The Details

This is where I tell you all the boring bits about how to arrange a similar trip to the one Alasdair and I did.


Because time has moved on I will attempt to give an up to date gloss.

The Maps
The best place to get maps is Stanfords. In Bristol we are lucky as there is a branch in town at 29 Corn Street, BRISTOL, BS1 1HT Phone: 0117 929 9966. The maps you will use most are the IGN 1:25,000 series - the ones with blue covers. These can be ordered from Stanfords over the internet through this link. The maps you use are:




 2531 ET  Chaine des Puys
 2432 ET Massif du Sancy
2534 OT Monts du Cezallier
2434 OT Riom-es-Montagnes Bort-les-Orgues
2435 OT Monts du Cantal
2535 O Murat Neussargues-Moissac
 2535 E St-Flour


The Riom-es-Montagnes, Bort-les-Orgues sheet, 2434 OT, is not really necessary as you are on it for about 10 minutes only. You could easily get by without it. We of course did not use the Murat and St-Flour sheets.


Also from Stanfords I got sheet 49 in the Serie Verte 1:100,000 map (Clermont-Ferrand - Aurillac). This covers virtually the whole walk, just missing the first few miles of the first sector.


The Transport
The best site for getting details of train times etc, especially when cross border travel is concerned is the German Railways web site! Find it here. You can't buy tickets on it but at least you will find which trains exist. This is not always easy on the French and (especially) the British sites.


To order tickets for your UK trains The Trainline is pretty good. Just make sure you do not restrict yourselves too much in the effort to reduce costs - like I did!


To order tickets from London to Clermont Ferrand the SNCF web site is pretty good. However it can be difficult to understand the various types of special deals. So if you want anything complicated it may be worth while phoning RAIL EUROPE TRAVEL CENTER on 08705 848 848. When phoning this number go for option 2, Trains in France, and you will get through quickly. The Eurostar option entails a long wait. In fact I never got through to anyone on that option. The address of RAIL EUROPE TRAVEL CENTER is 179 Piccadilly, LONDON W1V 0BA


When booking tickets which entail crossing Paris, remember to leave enough time. Although the RER lines are very fast.


Local trains in France are best booked on the spot.

The Accommodation
We tried to arrange accomodation in Paris with the French Youth Hostels, but to little avail. They would not take internet reservations. What they will do is, if the hostel is full (and it will be!), redirect you to, and reserve a room for you, at a nearby hotel, for a modest fee (10F each). Nowadays I see that they say they will take bookings by Fax.


The Youth Hostel in Le Mont Dore proved to be very satisfactory.


Otherwise we stayed in small hotels and generally there were plenty of them. All of them were at least satisfactory. None disappointed. We were disappointed in Lugarde where the hotel had recently closed. I hope the hotel in Saulvet-le-Froid is still open, but I can see no mention of it on the internet.


There are several Gites d'Etape on the route and we stayed in the one in Lugarde. But I know very little about them. We looked for the gite in Egliseneuve but could not find it! There is a site here which lets you know where the gites are - but it comes with a plethora of pop-ups. You have been warned!

The GR
The organisation which looks after the GR system is the FFRP. They produce walking guides on which Alan Castle's guide is based, and their catalogue can be viewed online, in French. I have not tried to, but it can also be ordered from the site. Many of the guides are available from Stanfords.
The Cost

Expenditure on our walk in the Auvergne
The figures are in French Francs


Day Date Travel Accomm-
Evening Meal Breakfast Other food Sundries Totals
Thu 15-Jul-99 55 260 216 531
Fri 16-Jul-99 46 160 239 49 38 49 581
Sat 17-Jul-99 215 527 60 70 872
Sun 18-Jul-99 100 463 563
Mon 19-Jul-99 20 240 44 304
Tue 20-Jul-99 40 240 173 247 700
Wed 21-Jul-99 116 240 60 416
Thu 22-Jul-99 583 25 608
Fri 23-Jul-99 539 79 40 658
Sat 24-Jul-99 100 100 66 266
Sun 25-Jul-99 576 50 21 647
Mon 26-Jul-99 500 34 95 629
Tue 27-Jul-99 254 283 111 71 719
Wed 28-Jul-99 40 20 60
Totals 846 4711 555 159 761 522 7554


Accommodation costs are recorded for the day arrived at the Hotel.

253 - London to Clermont Ferrand

38.85 - Bristol to London

45 - London to Bristol