The Variscan continental collision induced the development of large crustal melting in the western French Massif Central, accompanied by emplacement and deformation of syn- to post-tectonic granites spatially related to normal and strike slip faulting. Our study focuses on the regional deformation and shear zone patterns in the Millevaches massif, one of the largest magmatic area of the French Massif Central. In this massif, the syn-tectonic intrusions are related i) to the dextral wrenching along the Treignac-Pradines shear zones and the Creuse faults system, and ii) to the coeval extension along the N000°–N020° normal faults on the western edge of the Millevaches massif (Bourganeuf and Argentat faults). The analysis of deformation and kinematics correlated to new datations of granites allow us to propose a pull-apart model to explain the tectono-magmatic evolution of this part of the Variscan belt from 350 Ma to 325 Ma. At that time, these granites intruded a “pull-apart” system bounded by two major N140°–160° dextral strike-slip zones operating in the middle continental crust during a bulk N020° regional shortening.
From 325 Ma to 320 Ma, a clockwise rotation of the regional shortening axis was responsible for the late reactivation of the N020° eastern Millevaches tectonic border as a dextral fault system (Felletin-Ambrugeat fault system). This NE-SW shortening displaced the N140°–160° Creuse fault system and induced a reverse motion along the northern border of the Millevaches massif (St-Michel-de-Veisse fault). This Visean tectono-magmatic event induced the late exhumation of the Millevaches massif with respect to surrounding units and favoured the widespread granite emplacement in this part of the Variscan belt.