The Auvergne – Centre of Volcanic Tourism in France
Introduction Even though France is not known for active volcanoes there are a number of dormant volcanoes and a number of active geothermal sites, especially in the Massif Central of the country. Here, the remnant volcanic landscape has been exploited for geotourism in two main ways. The first is the establishment of the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park, the largest natural park in France, and a major centre for health and wellness spa tourism, geotourism and adventure tourism. Second, there are two educational theme parks in this area devoted to volcanoes: Vulcania, a series of displays and exhibitions built into the cone of a dormant volcano, and Lemptégy, where visitors can descend into an actual crater. This chapter explores the geological background, cultural and historic uses, and management of the Auvergne and other sites (Cap d’Agde in the south of the Languedoc, for example), and the development and management of the attractions based on them and the ways in which the surrounding regions attempt to link them in with other forms of regional tourism (food and wine, heritage and culture, etc.), through joint publicity and marketing, and through tour suggestions.