Cantal is a department (admiCantal is province) in south-central France, with its capital at Aurillac. The department is named for the Plomb du Cantal, the central peak of the bare and rugged Monts du Cantal mountain chain which traverses the area. Its residents are known as Cantalians and its principal towns are Aurillac, Saint-Flour and Mauriac. Cantal is part of the current region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and borders the departments of Puy-de-Dôme, Haute-Loire, Aveyron, Lot, Lozère, and Corrèze. Along with Lozère and Creuse, Cantal is among the most sparsely populated and geographically isolated French departments. The climate being generally too cool and damp for grain, much of Cantal is given over to pasture for Aubrac and Salers cattle, sheep, and, formerly, horses. This in turn supports a dairy industry responsible for butter and Roquefort cheese and the appellation-controlled cheeses Cantal, Salers, and Bleu d’Auvergne.
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