Friday, October 7, 2016

Ascent Of Le Puy De Dome

The major feature of France's Central Massif are its volcanoes. Yes, volcanoes. In France. They are all dormant now, all 80 of them, but the last eruptions were a mere 10,000 years ago, nothing in geological time, and certainly witnessed by some of our more recent paleolithic ancestors. The largest is Le Puy de Dome, six miles west of the city of Clermont-Ferrand. We've skirted the Central Massif on several occasions, but this time wanted to take it on directly. And so first we undertook an ascent, on foot, of Le Puy de Dome.
And there it is, from the parking lot; a couple thousand feet
above sea level, I guess; like many high points in Europe, there's
a TV transmitter on top

The car park includes a score of spots for RVs; we took the
Muletiers route up the mountain; essentially the old Roman
road to the Temple of Mercury they built on the summit in
the 2nd century; on foot

On the trail

Track of the rack railway not taken (up)

Remains of the Roman road, we thought

A bit of the Chaine de Puys (chain of little extinct volcanoes)

The city of Clermont-Ferrand, six miles away

Nearing the summit

On the summit, a take-off field for parapentes

Looking another direction in the Chaine de Puys; some of them
really look like volcanoes

OK, I am not sure what's going on with any case,
it was on Le Puy de Dome that the philosopher/mathematician
Blaise Pascal (a resident of Clermont-Ferrand) established
that variations in mercury readings were due to air pressure,
that is, that the atmosphere had weight

And on Le Puy de Dome that early aviators
answered a challenge from the Michelin
brothers, to fly from Paris and land on Le Puy
de Dome; this they did in 1911

It is the Romans' Temple of Mercury on the summit that
commands most interest and respect (next post)

Looking north, more volcanic domes

We took the train back down

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