Massif Central

Massif Central
Massif Central
Puy de Dôme is the highest volcano in the chain of volcanoes Chaine des Puys
Country France
Regions Auvergne, Bourgogne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Midi-Pyrénées, Rhône-Alpes
Highest point Puy de Sancy
 - elevation 1,886 m (6,188 ft)
 - coordinates 45°31′42″N 2°48′51″E / 45.52833°N 2.81417°E / 45.52833; 2.81417
Location of the Massif Central in France

The Massif Central (Occitan: Massís Central / Massís Centrau) is an elevated region in south-central France, consisting of mountains and plateaux.

Subject to volcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps by a deep north-south cleft created by the Rhône River and known in French as the sillon rhodanien (literally "the furrow of the Rhône").

The region was a barrier to communication until the opening of the A75 motorway, which not only made north-south travel easier, but also opened up the Massif Central itself.

It is situated in the middle of southern France and it covers 15 percent of the country.



The following départements are generally considered as part of the Massif Central: Allier, Ardèche, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Corrèze, Creuse, Gard, Haute-Loire, Haute-Vienne, Hérault, Loire, Lot, Lozère, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône and Tarn.

The following régions are part of the Massif Central: Auvergne, Limousin. Part of the following régions are in the Massif Central: Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, and Rhône-Alpes.

The largest cities are Clermont-Ferrand and Saint-Étienne.

Volcanic rocks on northern part of the Massif Central dominate south France to the west of Rhône valley and limestone, granite and slate(schist) on southern part.


The Massif Central is a distinct physiographic province of the smaller Central European Uplands division. The entire region contains the largest concentration of extinct volcanoes in the world with approximately 450 volcanoes. One strip alone running north to south and less than 60 square miles (160 km2) contains 115 of them.[citation needed] The Auvergne Volcanoes National Park is in the massif.


Mountain ranges, with notable individual mountains, are (roughly north-to-south):

  • Chaîne des Puys
    • Puy de Dôme (1464 m)
    • Puy de Pariou (1210 m)
    • Puy de Lassolas (1187 m) and Puy de la Vache (1167 m)
  • Monts-Dores
  • Monts du Cantal
    • Plomb du Cantal (1855 m)
    • Puy Mary (1787 m)
  • Forez
    • Pierre-sur-Haute (1634 m)
  • L'Aubrac
    • Le Signal de Mailhebiau (1469 m)
  • Monts de La Margeride
    • Signal de Randon (1551 m)
  • Monts du Vivrais (Ardeche)
    • Mont Mezenc (1753 m)
  • Cevennes
  • Monts de Lacaune
    • Montgrand (1267 m)
  • Monts de L'Espinouse
    • Sommet de L'Espinouse (1124 m)
  • Montagne Noire

Plateaux include

  • Causse du Larzac
  • Plateau de Millevaches
  • Plateau de Lévézou
  • Causse du Comtal
  • Causse de Sauveterre
  • Causse de Sévérac
  • Causse Méjan
  • Causse Noir
  • Causse de Blandas


See also

Coordinates: 45°46′30″N 2°58′00″E / 45.775°N 2.9666667°E / 45.775; 2.9666667

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Massif Central — Carte de localisation du Massif central. Géographie Altitude 1 885 m …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Massif central — Carte de localisation du Massif central. Géographie Altitude 1 886 m, Puy de Sancy Superficie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • MASSIF CENTRAL — Les altitudes sont modestes dans le Massif central: la moyenne est de 700 mètres environ, et le point culminant, le puy de Sancy, atteint 1 886 mètres. Cependant, le Massif central est, de très loin, le plus vaste massif montagneux de la France… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Massif Central —   [ma sif sã tral], Zentralmassiv …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Massif Central — Lage des Zentralmassivs in Frankreich Das Zentralmassiv (franz. Massif Central) ist ein Gebirge in Süd und Ostfrankreich, das mit einer Fläche von 85.000 km² ungefähr 15 % des Landes einnimmt. Es trägt seinen Namen aufgrund seiner zentralen Lage… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Massif central —    Le massif central est un massif essentiellement hercynien qui occupe le centre sud de la France, avec une surface de 85 000 km2, c est le massif le plus vaste du territoire, d altitude moyenne et aux reliefs souvent arrondis …   L'Abécédaire du Vin

  • Massif Central — Sp Centrinis Masỹvas Ap Massif Central L kk. C ir P Prancūzijoje …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Massif Central — /mann seef sahonn trddannl / a great plateau and the chief water divide of France, in the central part. * * * Plateau region, south central France. It is bordered by the lowlands of Aquitaine, the Loire basin, the Rhône Saône valley, and the… …   Universalium

  • Massif Central — noun a mountainous plateau in southern France that covers almost one sixth of the country • Instance Hypernyms: ↑tableland, ↑plateau, ↑massif • Part Holonyms: ↑France, ↑French Republic …   Useful english dictionary

  • Massif Central — geographical name plateau central France rising sharply just W of the Rhône Saône valley & sloping N to the Paris basin & W to the basin of Aquitaine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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