Economy of Puy Mary
The economy of the area around Puy Mary is mainly based on three economic sectors: sustainable tourism, agriculture and forestry.
Summer and winter alike, the Grand Site de France Puy Mary – Volcan du Cantal has strong arguments to attract and satisfy visitors. A rich and preserved nature, grandiose landscapes, an authentic and lively culture, numerous activities and leisure facilities and services.
The emblematic pyramid of Puy Mary and the charming villages that surround it give it a prestigious reputation and tourists are not mistaken! More than 500,000 visitors from May to October…
Numerous service providers (hosts, restaurateurs…) established on the Grand Site de France work daily with great respect for their environment and a passion for this unique natural setting!
Kitchens based on local products, ecological maintenance of their structures, habitat restoration based on ecological solutions…
The Cantal volcano is an ideal place to practice numerous outdoor activities, to discover a dazzling natural environment and an exceptional heritage.
A lively and authentic country, the festivals and events are numerous and varied. They enable visitors to meet the local population and share moments of exchange and conviviality.
Agriculture is one of the main economic activities of the department, which has continued to evolve over the years. Traditional livestock farming has long predominated before mechanization led to the expansion of farms, the reduction in the number of farms, and the abandonment of high altitude burons.
Recently, agro-tourism has developed strongly, allowing diversification and providing new sources of income for farmers. This can be seen in the establishment of a variety of accommodation facilities on the massif: bed and breakfast, gîtes, farm campsites.
Cantalian agriculture has also adapted to new consumer habits. There has been a sharp increase in quality procedures, such as the AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) and AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) – like AOP Cantal –, that guarantee consumers the quality of the products.
Different breeds of cows are represented in the Puy Mary area, the most emblematic being the red Salers cow. It is an integral part of the history and landscape of the Cantal and is named after the famous medieval Cantalian town. Other breeds are also present such as the Aubrac, Monbéliarde, and Holstein.
On the Cantalien volcano, the forest is mostly limited to the steep slopes, the flat areas being dedicated to agriculture. The surface area of the forests is therefore small compared to the huge open spaces of the plateaus and ridges. It is all the more a major landscape element to be protected and conserved. The forest plays a role in soil protection by preventing gullies.
On the Puy Mary massif, it occupies an important place (beech forest of Mandailles-Saint-Julien, Bois Noir du Fau, vast fir forest of the Falgoux communal forest) both in terms of landscape, tourism, and economy. Locally, the relatively recent coniferous plantations (Lavigerie forest) mark the landscape: the dark green contrasts with the soft green of the meadows or deciduous forests.
The Bois Mary, in the commune of Le Claux, is a sectional forest: it offers the right of grazing, i.e. each sectionalize (inhabitant of the village) can take a certain amount of wood per year for his or her personal needs.
The forests in the area contain a great biological wealth of flora and fauna. They are the subject of discovery trails set up by the departmental policy of the ENS (Espaces Naturels Sensibles – Sensitive Natural Areas).