Flying in the Puy de Dôme

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Are you planning a holiday or a long weekend away? Why not head off to the Massif Central to fly in the Puy de Dôme in Auvergne ?

Just a 3-hour drive from Annecy, the Puy de Dôme offers a complete change of scenery. Gone are the high mountains and rocky barriers, replaced by dormant volcanoes and vast grassy plateaux criss-crossed by rivers and dotted with lakes and a multitude of small valleys. Gone are the wooden chalets with their sloping roofs, replaced by houses and farms built of black lava stone with lauze roofs. Add to this a rich, gourmet cuisine that has nothing to envy the Haute Savoie and you have the perfect cocktail for spending a few days in the great outdoors. And the icing on the cake is that paragliding is available almost everywhere in the Puy de Dôme!

Take a first paragliding flight in Puy de Dôme

The Puy de Dôme is a site steeped in the history of hang-gliding. With the first hang-glider flights taking place in 1973 and paragliding appearing at the summit in the 80s, this volcano, at an altitude of 1465 metres, has quickly become a must-see site for hang-gliding. You can take off at 360° from the easy grassy slopes all year round. So it's hardly surprising that the Puy de Dôme has become one of France's leading spots for a first flight. Several schools and numerous service providers share the site to offer tandem flights paragliding in Puy de Dôme in all seasons.

Paragliding Volcan Puy De Dome

One of the paragliding schools major player in the sector, Freedom ParapenteThe Puy de Dôme paragliding school is based in Laschamps, a small village at the foot of the Puy de Dôme volcano, with a breathtaking view of the volcano's south-east face. To book a first paragliding flight in the Puy de Dôme, just contact the school to arrange a date and choose the type of flight you would like.

And yes, paragliding can be a relaxing first flight with a Discovery package, but it can also be a thrill worthy of a rollercoaster with an Adrenalin package for a breathtaking acrobatic flight or one to make you scream - it's up to you! There are other packages to suit all tastes. Here's a brief overview of the different paragliding flights available in tandem tandem at the summit of the Puy de Dôme:

  • Discovery flight: duration 15 minutes in calm conditions - price €100
  • Children's flight: 15-minute flight for under-12s (over 25kg) - price €100
  • Educational flight: 15-minute flight where you pilot the paraglider yourself - price €110
  • Adrenalin flight: 15 minutes of acrobatic flight, performing a series of stunning tricks - price €120
  • Long flight: 30 minutes flight in thermal conditions to gain maximum altitude - price €180
  • VIP flight: 30 minutes of à la carte flying, choosing what you prefer from all the packages - price €240

The most beautiful sites for flying independently

If you are an independent pilot, the Puy de Dôme is a magnificent site for paragliding. You can get there either on foot or by electric rack-and-pinion train: the Panoramique des Dômes. Don't hesitate to take advantage of the 60-pass package which costs just €42 and is valid for 1 year. Once at the top, you can stay local and fly for several hours on days with good conditions. You can then explore the Chaîne des Puys from the air and fly over all the most famous volcanoes. But the Puy de Dôme is also an excellent starting point for cross-country cycling. Once you've had your fill, you can often head south to the Sancy massif and aim for the Cantal and beyond. The current distance record is Montpellier, so it will be difficult to beat it in that direction.
However, the Puy de Dôme can quickly become overcrowded in summer. If you like to fly more quietly away from the crowds, you'll find many other official sites in the region that are much more Zen-like. Here are a few ideas for cool decorations:

  • Le Puy de l'Ouire Ideal for a north-westerly wind. The climb takes 30-50 minutes on foot from the car park at Lac du Guéry, with magnificent views of the Tuilière and Sanadoire rocks.
  • Le Puy de la Tâche A magical site with an easterly wind that takes in the whole range from north to south (30-40 minute ascent).
  • Le Puy de l'Angle With its wide take-off range and perfect thermal efficiency, it's ideal for cross-country flying in the Sancy massif and beyond. (Ascent 30-40 minutes)
  • Le Puy du Paillaret This is the preferred site when the wind is from the south. It allows you to discover the whole massif and join the Chaîne des Puys, as well as waving to the crowds at Puy de Dôme. The hardest part will of course be getting back (60-90 minute ascent via the Col de La Geneste or 30 minutes from Super Besse using the gondolas).

Hitchhiking is fairly easy to pick up. Tourists and locals alike are quite curious and inclined to pick up hitchhikers with oversized rucksacks!

To fly cross-country in Puy de Dôme It is nevertheless important to be aware of the ceilings authorised for the TMAs and the military corridors that can be temporarily activated. For further information >>

Cross Parapente Puy De Dome

The best places to stay in Puy de Dôme

It's very easy to find accommodation in Puy de Dôme, given the usual tourist trade in the region. If you want to go paragliding in Puy de Dôme, you can look around the volcano and the village of Orcines. You can even book thehe Freedom Parapente school gîte located at the foot of the Puy de Dôme. You'll be just 100 metres from the south landing stage, where you can also inflate. You'll have an unbeatable view of the mountain and the current flying conditions. You'll also be able to get all the information you need every morning direct from the school and instructors, and if you run out of equipment you'll have the paragliding shop at your fingertips. You're sure to have a relaxed holiday.
If you prefer to head for the Sancy, you can look at Murol / Chambon / Aydat. This is perhaps the most touristic area of the region, but also the one with the largest range of accommodation and restaurants.
Whatever your motivations, you won't be disappointed by your little climb in the region, and you should take home with you fond memories of your first flight in the Puy de Dôme !

About the author :

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Olivier C.

An adventurer and polyglot, I've been travelling the world with my paraglider since 2001, particularly in winter, to indulge my passion. After scouring Southern Europe and Morocco, I've been to Nepal, South Africa, Colombia and Brazil on several occasions... but now it's time to go to Mexico that I spend the winter, where I accumulate flights (around 200 hours), so that I can devote more time to our students/passengers during the season in Annecy. I'm also the developer/webmaster of our new site, waiting for yours! 😉

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