Plateau region, south-central France. It is bordered by the lowlands of Aquitaine, the Loire basin, the Rhône-Saône valley, and the Mediterranean coastlands of Languedoc. Comprising about one-sixth of France, it occupies an area of 35,006 sq mi (90,665 sq km). It consists mainly of plateaus with elevations of 2,000 to 3,000 ft (600 to 900 m). Its highest peak is Puy de Sancy, which reaches 6,184 ft (1,885 m). It is the source of many rivers, including the Loire, Allier, Cher, and Creuse.
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Subject to vulcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps by a deep north-south cleft created by the Rhône River and known in French as the sillon rhodanien (literally "the furrow of the Rhône").
Long a barrier to communication, the opening of the A75 motorway has not only made north-south travel easier but it has also opened up the Massif Central itself.