Hike and fly a combination of hiking and paragliding. This hike can be done on a "classic" site (like the Puy de Dôme for example, which we will see a little further down in this article) but generally, paragliders prefer this type of practice on less populated sites to take off on beautiful sites not accessible by vehicle.
Auvergne, land of volcanoes and mountains, offers many sites for hiking. In fact, you can access most of the region's paragliding sites by walking.
The site of Saint-Sandoux is surely one of the reference sites in the Puy de Dôme because it offers good flying conditions all year round, from beginners to advanced and even for cross country skiers. It is a site where paragliders are used to going up by car but it is possible to go up on foot by a small path in 20 minutes.
Puy de Dôme site although you can climb it via the Panoramique des Dômes, it is also possible to climb it on foot. Two routes are available:
The Sancy massif offers magnificent paragliding sites, most of which are only accessible via hiking. We present you the 4 best sites of the Sancy:
This is a beautiful site with the possibility of taking off from the east, west or south depending on the conditions. It is also a site with great thermal yields and cross country departures. An exceptional site in terms of beauty and flying conditions! From the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert, you will find the GR to climb to the summit. But the flight must be earned because it takes between 30 and 40 minutes of walking. But you will certainly not be disappointed!
[Photo by Charles Fella]
In the Sancy, between Mont-Dore and Chambon sur Lac, near the Col de la Croix Morand. To reach the summit, it is necessary to walk 30-40 minutes from the Col de la Croix Morand where you will find a path going south. You will arrive at the summit at 1620 metres for a magnificent flight.
A beautiful paragliding site with incredible panoramic views from the top and in the air. It is especially a perfect site for beginners with a grassy and easy take-off without obstacles. Located between Orcival and Le Mont-Dore, near Lac du Guéry, you will need to walk 35-45 minutes from the Roches Tuillière and Sanadoire car park to reach the summit. You will need to take the GR 30 heading east at the Col de Guéry.
A magnificent flying site, north of Le Mont-Dore, at Murat le Quaire with a direct view of the Puy de Sancy. You will have to walk up to the summit from a forest path 600 metres before the Banne d'Ordanche car park. It takes about 45 minutes to walk up to the summit and the climb is about 250 metres.
Also in the Cantal, many hiking flights can be done. Here are the best specific sites for walking and flying in Cantal.
Surely one of the most famous sites in the department, this take-off is accessible in a few minutes walk (about 20 minutes) from the Pas de Peyrol. It is a site which offers a beautiful difference in altitude (between 290 and 700m) but above all a magnificent landscape.
Situated opposite of Puy Mary, this site offers 2 decos: Buron d'Eylac and La Maurinie. These two sites are accessible after a 20-30 minute walk from the Pas de Peyrol.
Between Murat and the Pas de Peyrol, north of Dienne. This is a great site to progress in paragliding with a large grassy slope, the possibility of soaring, thermal flying where it is easy to rest at the top even in strong winds. To get there you will need to park above Renouziers and walk up the slope (about 30 minutes).
But in any case, the majority of paragliding sites are accessible on foot either by road or by specific hiking trails.
For those who wish to discover all the sites in the region, the CDVL63 has produced a small booklet where you can find all paragliding sites in Auvergne and information on how to fly there.
In hike and fly, the objective is to discover new landscapes, new sites by enjoying the scenery first, to arrive at the top and have a magnificent flight and to have this feeling of accomplishment. Knowing that there will probably be no one flying, the market and flight requires theoretical skills to analyse the dangers and the aerology of these unknown sites for us. If you don't have these skills, it is better to go with an experienced paraglider who will be able to advise you and scout the flight.
Remember to check the weather applications on the sites before you leave to see the conditions of the day. Also, as you know, weather and air conditions change with the time of day and the seasons. The morning is the best time for calmer conditions before the valley breezes set in and therefore to maximise your chances of flying and not having made the effort "for nothing".
The equipment will also play a role in the success of the practice of walking and flying. A light equipment will allow you to be less tired and to take off safely. You can find all the perfect light equipment for hiking on our paragliding shop.
The most important thing in paragliding (but also the hardest) is to know how to give up! After a long walk with all your paragliding equipment on your back, it can be difficult to give up flying even if the weather conditions seem to be limited. In any walk and flight, it is necessary to foresee a possible descent on foot. Both in terms of disappointment and timing so as not to get caught in the dark. But as soon as you think that the weather conditions are limited, it is better not to take off to avoid taking risks. Wait a while, be patient and if the conditions do not change, you will have to go back down on foot!
For those who love rando flying, there are also walking and flying competitions all over France all year round, listed on the FFVL website. In Auvergne, you can take part in the Cantal Air Tour, which has been taking place at the beginning of July for a few years. It is a really nice competition which, as its name suggests, takes place in the Cantal and the beautiful Monts du Cantal. You can find all the information on their website or social networks.
For the more extreme, you can also go on a bivouac flight. With the added aspect of sleeping outdoors, bivouac flying is a great way to get closer to nature and disconnect for a few days or more. It is a great activity to recharge your batteries in the mountains between flying, walking and bivouac. For those interested, find all the information about this practice on our article about bivouac flying.
You now have all the information you need to go hiking in Auvergne, whether in Puy de Dôme, Sancy or Cantal.