Our valley is in the Massif Central, at the southern edge of a volcanic plateau (“la planèze”) about 1000 m (3000 ft) above sea-level. To the north the land rises up to the Monts du Cantal, a range of extinct volcanoes peaking at 1855 m (over 6000 ft), and snow-covered from December to April. La Roche is a few kilometres from the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne, and from the Aubrac, which includes parts of the Cantal, the Aveyron and the Lozère.
To the south of the planèze, streams tumble down through steep, thickly-wooded valleys to the great Truyère river, cutting gorges and creating waterfalls as they descend.
The southern Cantal has a continental climate with hot summers and snowy winters. Spring comes suddenly in April, when the grass turns green again, and by mid-May the meadows around La Roche are full of wild flowers. In the unspoilt mountain pastures you will find gentians, orchids, and great expanses of wild narcissus and rare anemones.
High summer often has hot midday temperatures of 25o–30oC in the shade. However, because of the altitude, mornings and evenings are mild, and the nights are fresh and cool (15oC). Thunderstorms in late summer can be spectacular. September and October often have fine weather: warm days and frost at night. There may be an Indian summer (été de la Saint Martin) in the first half of November. It can be very cold in winter, but temperatures in February are usually around 0oC. La Roche is sheltered from the north wind, and it is always milder in our valley than up on the plateau. However, as in all mountainous regions, the weather can be unpredictable.
Around the gîte you may see red deer, roe deer, hares, foxes, red squirrels, Roman dormice, bats, red kites, cuckoos, woodpeckers, hoopoes, and black redstarts. The bird-feeder hanging in the gîte garden attracts bullfinches, nuthatches and many species of tit. In the evening you may hear owls hunting in the valley.
You will find guidebooks and a folder of useful local information in the gîte.
Follow these links to get an overview: