About the Sancy

Massif du Sancy

The Massif du Sancy is situated in the Auvergne in central France. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2018. The highest peak of this massif is the Puy de Sancy (1886 m), which is also the highest volcano in central France. During the summer season, this peak is accessible via various hiking trails or (partially) via a cable lift. From the top you have a magnificent all-around view, you can also see the Alps on a clear day, east of the Puy-de-Sancy. During the winter season, there are ski runs for downhill skiing or cross-country skiing in Super-Besse or Mont-Dore. There are also winter activities for non-skiers of snowshoeing, tobogganing, paragliding, dog sledding. Another unique experience is the Fantastic zip-line! All this can be found on ± 35 minutes by car from Villa St. Hubert.
There are also many charming mountain villages with their typical slate-roofs houses and other villages which have a predicate “one of the most beautiful villages in France” such as Montpeyroux, Saint-Floret, Usson and Saint-Saturnin.


Saint-Nectaire is a picturesque village in the Massif du Sancy in the heart of the Auvergne region, about 30 km south of Clermont-Ferrand, located in a green valley along the river of Le Courançon. The village consists of 2 parts: Saint-Nectaire-le-Haut, with its beautiful Romanesque church dating from the 12th century and Saint-Nectaire-le-Bas with its thermal activities (between 1900 and 2005).

Not only will you find a historical heritage in Saint-Nectaire, but also a culinary heritage as well: the ‘Saint-Nectaire’ cheese is one of the 5 cheeses from the Auvergne with an AOP quality mark. The cheese became famous in the 17th century, when Field Marshal Henri de Sennecterre (after whom it’s named) introduced the cheese to the court of the King Louis XIV. The cheese is famous for its soft (nut) taste and is made in one of the smallest protected areas of origin (AOP) in France, on meadows with wild flowers that contribute to the full aroma of the cheese. Without any doubt worth to taste!

Apart from the heritage, the village also offers you sportive and cultural entertainment. The Adventure Park with its forest and via-ferratas adventure courses , the Grottes du Cornadore (the first thermal baths in Roman times), The Petrifying Fountains where “man transforms water into stone” (Jean Serre, founder), beautiful walks in the village, in the Dolmen Park or along the Marais Salé where, due to the high salinity of the soil, you can see plants and flowers that normally only grow in Mediterranean areas.


Clermont-Ferrand is the capital of the Auvergne. It is best known for Michelin (tyres), ASM (rugby), restaurants, many beautiful fountains and the short film festival.

The name Clermont-Ferrand has its origin from 2 distinct and rival cities, Clermont and Montferrand. In 1630, Louis XIII imposed, by the edict of Troyes, the unification of the two neighbouring cities. In 1731 this union was reaffirmed by Louis XV. Today there are still the 2 historic centres: the center of Clermont and that of Montferrand. In the historic center of Clermont there is the Cathedral of Notre Dame de l’Assomption which is a Gothic cathedral with its two tall pointed towers that are visible from afar. The cathedral is built out of Volvic stone, a black volcanic stone. This stone was also used for the construction of various monuments and buildings in the city center as well. There is also another church worth visiting:  the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame-du-Port. This is a beautiful 11th century building and one of the 5 Romanesque churches of Auvergne. In summer time a tourist train connects the main squares of Clermont-Ferrand. The start is at Place de Jaude.

In the city center there is the Place de Jaude with beautiful buildings, fountains and the statues of Vercingetorix and General Dessaix de Nanteuil. Clermont-Ferrand is also a university city and there are many cozy cafes and restaurants, shops and boutiques. Did you know that Clermont-Ferrand is the home and city of Michelin? In the Michelin Museum, you can discover the whole history of tyres.

Besides Clermont-Ferrand, you will also find other pretty towns and villages in the vicinity of Saint-Nectaire such as Issoire (Romanesque church and clock tower), Besse-et-Saint-Anastaise (medieval village), Le Puy-en-Velay ( Notre Dame du Puy cathedral) and Thiers (The city of knives).


Discover now the Sancy

The Massif du Sancy, located in the green mountains of the Auvergne, is the perfect place for people who like tranquility, nature, walking & hiking, mountain biking and water sports.

Walking and hiking

The Sancy, located in the ‘Parc Naturel des Volcans’, is a must for those nature and hiking enthusiasts! You can enjoy its fantastic volcanic landscapes and beautiful flora and fauna. To be able to enjoy this exceptional “at one with nature”, nothing better than a walk. Discover the areas around Saint-Nectaire, enjoy the views and waterfalls in the Chaudefour Valley, go hiking to the Puy de Sancy (with its 1,885 m. altitude, the highest peak in the Massif Central) . There are so many different tracks for adults or children, beginner or advanced, there is something for everyone!

For many different hiking trails in the Auvergne you can see the following 2 links: Walking & Hiking routes and the 20 best Running Trails around Clermont-Ferrand

 Water activities

100% fun in the waters of the volcanoes of the Sancy!

A day of rest and relaxation at the beach? Read a book or have a nice picnic by the water? A walk or a bike ride around the lake? Cross the lake on a sup or pedal boat? Everything is possible! In the Sancy there are many lakes for different water activities. One of the lakes is only a 10-minutes’ drive from Villa St Hubert: Lac Chambon. This lake has 2 beautiful sandy beaches, there are areas with trees and the water is always at a pleasant temperature in summer. And above all, there are fantastic view of the Sancy mountains and the Vallée de Chaudefour.

  Mountain biking and cycling in the volcanic area

The Massif du Sancy in the Auvergne is a volcanic and surprisingly varied region. Around Saint-Nectaire there are beautiful panoramic roads. There is an extensive network of mountain bike trails in the Sancy. For road bikes there are 210 climbs with height differences between 220 and 1600 meters. You also can choose an electrical mountain bike (VTT-électrique) to discover the Massif du Sancy, which can be rented in Murol (5 km. from Villa St. Hubert). Click here for more information. Check the following links for 20 best MTB trails in Puy-de-Dôme, the 20 best Road cycling routes in Puy-de-Dôme and the 20 best Bike touring routes in Puy-de-Dôme.

 Ballooning & Paragliding

Admire the Sancy from above……

This is possible in the Auvergne! This can be done by hot air ballooning, skydiving or paragliding over the volcanoes and its beautiful landscapes. An unforgettable experience. A hot air balloon flight can be taken near Lac Chambon or the Puy-de-Dôme. Only fifteen minutes away from Villa St. Hubert, you can make your dreams come true. For more information, check the website of ‘Auvergne Montgolfière’ here: Ballooning

Fly above the Puy-de-Dôme and its volcanoes! Discover this unique experience with a tandem paragliding flight with a certified instructor. If you feel like experiencing new sensations and you’re looking for a thrill, to admire the superb panorama, to feel free as a bird… then take a look at: Tandem paragliding flight

Local products


Authentic dishes from the Auvergne

In many restaurants in the Sancy, you can taste and enjoy the gastronomy of the Auvergne: La Truffade, a dish of fried potatoes, mixed with fresh ‘tomme’ (Cantal cheese) and garlic, served with a green salad and local charcuterie of dried cured Auvergne ham and sausages; Aligot, a dish of mashed potatoes, mixed with fresh ‘tomme’ (Cantal cheese) and garlic, served with a delicious local sausage; Green lentils from Puy-en-Velay and our unforgettable Fondue au Saint-Nectaire, 100% melted Saint-Nectaire cheese, served with cooked potatoes, green salad and dried Auvergne ham.

In the Auvergne you can taste many cheeses, including 5 qualified AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses. The AOP quality label identifies a product that derives its authenticity and typical character from its geographical origin. The label guarantees that there is a close link between the product and the region. The appellation is intended to protect a long-standing reputation.

The 5 AOP cheeses in the Auvergne are: Le Saint-Nectaire, Le Bleu d’Auvergne, Le Cantal, La Fourme d’Ambert and Le Salers. In addition to these 5 cheeses, the Auvergne also offers other delicious cheeses made from cow’s or goat’s milk. Perfect for an aperitif, on a cheese platter or to prepare in cooked dishes.

Video & Photos


Video impression

You can get an impression of Villa St. Hubert and its surroundings…

A preview…

Villa St. Hubert is located in the picturesque French village of Saint-Nectaire in the Puy-de-Dôme department. Discover the real France and enjoy peace, space, mountains, lakes and the friendly French life. There are plenty of options for guided tours and day trips (culinary, castles, markets, towns) in the area. Do you want to do something fun for a day? We’ve highlighted some tips and ideas for you.