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Cantal (Occitan: Cantal, Cantau, Chantal, Chantau) is a department in south-central France. It is named after the Cantal mountain range, a group of extinct, eroded volcanic peaks, which covers much of the department. Residents are known as Cantaliens or Cantalous.

Cantal is part of the current region of Auvergne. It borders the departments of Puy-de-Dôme, Haute-Loire, Aveyron, Lot, Lozère, and Corrèze. Its principal towns are Aurillac, Saint-Flour, and Mauriac. The highest point in Cantal is Le Plomb du Cantal at 1858 metres.

Cantal remains, with Lozère and Creuse, one of the most sparsely populated and geographically isolated French departments. Aurillac is the farthest removed departmental capital from a major motorway.



Cantal is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from a part of the former province of Auvergne, called Haute-Auvergne.


The department of the Cantal has different types of climates according to the geographical position.

The west is well watered, thanks to abundant precipitations coming from the Atlantic. The temperatures are smooth generally, whereas the East is much drier and cooler.

As a matter of fact, there is abundant precipitation on the central area. To this fact, it is necessary to add the effect of the altitude: the climate is quite cold in winter (It snows almost every winter) but it can be very hot during the summer (especially in the southern part of the department which has borders with Aveyron and Lot)

In the central part of the department, that it is to say the highest ground, the altitude surpasses 1,000m easily: It can be very cold, The snow falls in abundance and can remains up to six months on the tops. The temperatures can fall, in the heart of the winter, to below -15 °C, whereas at the height of summer 25 °C is often reached.

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