GR 40 Tour of the volcanoes of the Velay

The Tour of the Volcanoes of the Velay GR 40 (formerly the Tour of the Velay) is a circular itinerary of 182 kilometers which can be covered in 9 days of walk. A diagonal following the ways of Loire GR 3 and GR 3F and going by Le Puy-en-Velay, will also allow you to do two other loops.

The Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes is perfect to discover Le Puy-en-Velay and its surroundings…

Stopovers of the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes

Below, some suggestions of stopovers on the main circular hike of the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes (GR 40) and on its West and East loops.

Main circular hike from Vorey

  • Day 1: from Vorey to Céaux-d’Allègre, 21 km (around 5h15 of walk)
  • Day 2: from Céaux-d’Allègre to Siaugues-Saint-Romain, 21 km (around 5h15 of walk)
  • Day 3: from Siaugues-Saint-Romain to Montbonnet, 21 km (around 5h15 of walk)
  • Day 4: from Montbonnet to Goudet, 30 km (around 7h30 of walk)
  • Day 5: from Goudet to Freycenet-la-Cuche, 19 km (around 4h15 of walk)
  • Day 6: from Freycenet-la-Cuche to Saint-Front, 16.5 km (around 4h15 of walk)
  • Day 7: from Saint-Front to Queyrières, 24 km (around 6h of walk)
  • Day 8: from Queyrières to Blanlhac, 20 km (around 5h of walk)
  • Day 9: from Blanlhac to Vorey, 10 km (around 2h30 of walk)

West circular tour from Le Puy-en-Velay

  • Day 1 : from Le Puy-en-Velay to Vorey, 26 km (around 6h30), by the way of Loire GR 3
  • Day 2: from Vorey to Céaux-d’Allègre, 21 km (around 5h15)
  • Day 3: from Céaux-d’Allègre to Siaugues-Saint-Romain, 21 km (around 5h15)
  • Day 4: from Siaugues-Saint-Romain to Montbonnet, 21 km (around 5h15)
  • Day 5: from Montbonnet to Goudet, 30 km (around 7h30)
  • Day 6: from Goudet to Solignac-sur-Loire, 18 km (around 4h30) by the variant of the way of Loire GR 3 F
  • Day 7: from Solignac-sur-Loire to Coubon, 5 km (around 1h45) by the GR 3F, then from Coubon to Le Puy-en-Velay, 8 km (around 2h) by the GR 3

East circular tour from Vorey

  • Day 1 : from Vorey to Le Puy-en-Velay, 26 km (around 6h30) by the way of Loire GR 3
  • Day 2: from Le Puy-en-Velay to Coubon, 8 km (around 2h) by the GR 3, then from Coubon to Solignac-sur-Loire, 6 km (around 1h45) by the variant of the Way of Loire GR 3F
  • Day 3: from Solignac-sur-Loire to Goudet, 18 km (around 4h30) by the variant of the Way of Loire GR 3F
  • Day 4 : from Goudet to Freycenet-la-Cuche, 19 km (around 4h45)
  • Day 5: from Freycenet-la-Cuche to Saint-Front, 16.5 km (around 4h15)
  • Day 6: from Saint-Front to Queyrières, 24 km (around 6h)
  • Day 7: from Queyrières to Blanlhac, 20 km (around 5h)
  • Day 8: from Blanlhac to Vorey, 10 km (around 2h30)

Tricks for shorter circular tours

If you only have a few days, the Tour of the Volcanoes of the Velay can easily be shortened in a circular tour of 4 to 5 days by following transversal GR. Perfect to discover the Velay!

It is also possible to link Vorey and Le Puy-en-Velay by the SNCF railway which goes right through the gorges of Loire.

Circular tour in 5 days (or 4 days with the SNCF railway)

  • Day 1: from Vorey to Céaux-d’Allègre, 21 km (around 5h15)
  • Day 2: from Céaux-d’Allègre to Siaugues-Saint-Romain, 21 km (around 5h15)
  • Day 3: from Siaugues-Saint-Romain to Montbonnet, 21 km (around 5h15)
  • Day 4: from Montbonnet to Le Puy-en-Velay, 16 km (around 4h) by the Saint James’ way GR 65
  • Day 5: from Le Puy-en-Velay to Vorey, 26 km (around 6h30) by the way of Loire GR 3

Circular tour in 5 days (or 4 days with the SNCF railway)

  • Day 1: from Vorey to Saint-Julien-du-Pinet, 16 km (around 4h)
  • Day 2: from Saint-Julien-du-Pinet to Queyrières, 14.5 km (around 3h45)
  • Day 3: from Queyrières to Saint-Julien-Chapteuil, 10 km (around 2h30) by the Saint James’ way Geneva – Le Puy (GR 65)
  • Day 4: from Saint-Julien-Chapteuil to Le Puy-en-Velay, 17 km (around 4h15) by the Saint James’ way Geneva – Le Puy (GR 65)
  • Day 5: from le Puy-en-Velay to Vorey, 26 km (around 6h30) by the way of Loire (GR 3)

Preparing you hike

Warning!! Due to some sever weather conditions, this itinerary can be difficult in some places. See our article about it.

As you may have noticed, the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes GR 40 is perfect to organize hikes of a few days around Le Puy-en-Velay.

The TopoGuide includes the tracks on IGN maps, the detailed descriptions of the path, the accommodation, the services and some thematic sheets of the following itineraries:

  • The Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes (GR 40)
  • The diagonal by the Way of Loire (GR 3) between Le Puy-en-Velay and Vorey-sur-Arzon
  • The diagonal by the variant of the Way of Loire (GR 3F) between Goudet and Le Puy-en-Velay

The guidebook does not include the routes of the Way to Santiago de Compostela (GR 65) which will help you in the making of your journeys of 4 or 5 days, mentioned above. With this aim in mind, you will need the following TopoGuides:

Where can you sleep on the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes?

To find your accommodation on the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes (GR 40), consult our accommodation guidebook that you can download here or see the interactive card of the itinerary. You will find all types of accommodation, stopover gîtes, bed and breakfast, hotels or campsite.

Can we make carry our luggage on the Tour of The Velay’s Volcanoes?

Yes, it possible to make carry your luggage on this itinerary. Our partner La Malle Postale offers this service in its catalog. You can also consult other service providers or ask your host who can make you an offer!

Which daily budget for this hike?

According to the type of accommodation, you can plan to have a budget sets between 30 and 60 euros per day per person. If you opt for the bivouac, your spending will be lower but your equipment will be heavier!

Where is the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes?

The Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes (GR 40) is integrally situated in Haute-Loire (43). The starting point is in Vorey-sur-Arzon but, it’s a circular tour… thus you can start your hike wherever you like!

Do not forget, the diagonal by the Way of Loire and its variant (GR 3 and GR 3F) or the Way to Santiago de Compostela (GR 65) which cross it and offers many possibilities of tours!

Markings and maintenance

The Tour of the Volcanoes of the Velay is is an itinerary certified of “sentier de Grande Randonnée” (long-distance hike) by the Walking French Federation: the GR 40. It is then marked in white and red by the Walking Committee of Haute-Loire.

If you wish to support the work of markings of the Walking Committees’ teams, you can sign up for:

  • A membership card in one of our hiking clubs
  • A “Randocarte”, membership of the Walking Committee, directly from our online shop, section Randocarte

History of the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes

The long-distance hike of the Tour of the Velay’s Volcanoes, the GR 40 starting from Vorey-sur-Arzon, will make you discover, in a roaming of 10 days, many volcanoes. This journey will allow you to walk from sites to sites, surrounded by open landscapes, some of which stretching as far as the eye can see. You will discover the heart of the Haute-Loire.

At the bend of the volcanoes

The Velay, it’s a part of the region of Haute-Loire which formerly belonged to the Occitania (South of France).

In this area, during the geological times, developed four volcanic systems. On the East, it’s the province of the “sucs” (specific type of French volcanoes) with its pelean type volcanoes. Subsisting of an ancient volcanism, these little mountains are made of a rock named phonolite, the “rock that sounds”. Indeed, if we knock it with a little metal object, it will make the sound of a bell!

On the West, the summits that stand out are named “Gardes”. They’re strombolian volcanoes, of red soil and of which the summit is occupied by a little wood of scots pines. It’s a favorable land for the green lentil of Le Puy (AOP).

An astonishing architecture

Walking on the diagonal will show you the area of Le Puy, where once existed a lake. Some of the surtseyan volcanoes which appeared there hold now remarkable structures as the donjon of the castle of Polignac or the chapel of Aiguilhe at the summit of the volcano’s chimney. The architecture is to the colors of the rocks’ variety, the front of the cathedral of Le Puy-en-Velay and the chapel of Aiguilhe have wonderfully highlighted it.

Elsewhere, the volcanoes are of the maar type, with, for example, the lakes of Le Bouchet or Saint-Front, two exceptional sites.

In the land of the Lentils and “Fin Gras”

During your roaming, will present itself to you a diversity of landscapes. Some stretch for as far as the eye can see. You will go from wooded areas to farming and livestock farming areas. You will be in the Land of the famous Green Lentil of Le Puy and “Fin Gras” of the Mézenc (product of French bovine farming), vegetable and meat (AOP) which will relish you and that our great cooks know how truly accommodate in their dishes.

Vos avis !

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  • Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

  • Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

  • Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

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