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Did you know ?

The Puy-de-Dôme is an extraordinary site

Its geographical location is its altitude of 1465 m, gives it a climate similar to that of the Alps, it is the highest peak of the Chaîne des Puys.

This majestic site has always intrigued man. At the time, it was a major place of pilgrimage for the Gallic and then Gallo-Roman peoples. 


1_ The story of man 


The man and the Puy-de-Dôme, here are some major dates that have marked history:

Beginning of our era: Construction of the Great Temple of Mercury

XI and XII century: Construction of the Saint-Barnabé Chapel

1648: Study on atmospheric pressure by Blaise Pascal

1752: Study by Jean Étienne Guetard on the organic nature of Puy-de-Dôme

1789: Deputy Jean François Gautier names the department: Puy de Dôme 

1872: Discovery of the remains of the Temple of Mercury

1876: Inauguration of the world's first mountain meteorological observatory

1900: Scientist Bernard BRUNHES discovers the reversal of the magnetic field

1905: Ascent of Puy-de-Dôme by car by Auguste FRAIGNAC

1907: Construction of the railway line linking the city center of Clermont-Ferrand to the summit of Puy-de-Dôme (14.7 km)

1911: Eugène RÉNAUX's plane lands at the top of Puy-de-Dôme and wins the Michelin Grand Prix

1926: Inauguration of the toll automobile road

1952: First ascent of the Puy-de-Dôme by the riders of the Tour de France

1956: Construction of the Television de France antenna

1973: First hang glider flight taking off from the summit

1992: Inauguration of the panoramic restaurant, the reception area and the main building

2010: Start of work on the rack railway 

2012: Inauguration of the train 

2018: The site is classified cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_as a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Puy-de-Dôme was a mythical and religious place. The place was considered evil in the Middle Ages, the monks abandoned it around 1730.

It was also visited by great writers such as Montaigne, Chateaubriand, the center of great scientific discoveries and the object of sporting challenges. 

Now the natural site of Puy de Dôme and recognized and preserved, labeled Grand Site de France in 2008, it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2018. 


2_ The Temple of Mercury 


It was during the construction of the first mountain meteorological observatory that the temple of mercury was discovered by Émile ALLUARD in 1872. Numerous decorative elements and bronze objects were discovered during archaeological excavations.

The size of the temple (3600 m2) suggests that many pilgrims frequented it.

It has belonged to the county council since 2007. The start of its restoration began in 2013.


3_ Scientific studies 

In 1647, scientist Blaise Pascal proved that atmospheric pressure varies with altitude. He then began a work of synthesis: the treatises on the balance of liquors and the gravity of the air. It lays the foundations of Hydrostatics, the science of “immobile fluids” founded by Archimedes, and of meteorology.

In 1872, Clermont-Ferrand University professor Émile ALLUARD created the first mountain meteorological observatory, a world first! They are among the 15 major sites of the atmospheric observation networks of excellence. The current PGC water configuration dates from 1985 (Observatory of Physics of the globe of Clermont-Ferrand).

4_ Sports Challenges


On March 7, 1911, Eugène RÉNAUX and his passenger Albert SENOUQUE posed at the top of Puy-de-Dôme with their Farman plane (Renault 50 CV engine, weight 550 kg). The next day, workers from the Michelin factory disassembled and lowered the device on a truck to the Gravanches aerodrome. 

1973, the first hang-glider flight! François GUINAND and Bernard DANIS achieve this feat. Since then, the summit of Puy-de-Dôme has been occupied by hang-gliders and paragliders. 

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