Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon


Sunday morning and we have to bid farewell to Millau. I hope we make it back here some day. We were set to travel to Lyon, but first we headed out in the wrong direction with the satnag pointed at Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon. Our route immediately started us on a climb up to he Larzac plateau. Which in turn provided us with spectacular views over the countryside.

Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon is a village in the Aveyron department in southern France. Here is a little background courtesy of the official tourism website of Aveyron.

The Knights Templar took possession of the Larzac plateau in the 12th century thanks to the gifting of land to the order and from which the revenue served to maintain the Knights in the Holly Land. In order to ensure the security of the local inhabitants, they created the commandry of Sainte-Eulalie de Cernon, La Cavalerie, La Couvertoirade and Le Viala du Pas de Jaux; these villages which the Hospitaller Knights inherited during the suppression of the Order of the Knights Templar by the Pope in 1312 were fortified in the 15th century. The Hospitaller Knights ensured their management for five centuries.

It didn’t take us very long to get to the village and we weren’t disappointed by our diversion.

After all this history, and with an eye to the fact that we needed to get on our way to Lyon, we decided to have a spot of lunch. Luckily there was a handy eatery, Auberge la Cardabelle.

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Auberge la Cardabelle – Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon, France

Don’t worry, no musical link this time.

 

We had a good meal although Gerry felt she had to rush her meal. She felt she was in a race with the flies to see who got to eat first. In this instance France would give Australia a run for their money in the fly department.

Once we had settled up we headed back to the car and set of for Lyon with just a couple of parting shots before the village disappeared over the horizon….

 

Millau


So on Saturday we packed our bags and left the gite in Serandon. As, per my previous post, we had experienced a super storm during Friday night, the weather was calm but misty / drizzly.

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Dordogne – Morning after the storm.

We wound our way down into the gorge and the first thing we noticed was all the debris, from the trees, strewn across the roads. And, as we climbed up the other side there were several areas where rock shale and mud had been washed down of the sides of the gorge, onto the road. Also, a number of trees were down but still being supported by electric cables. We eyed these with great suspicion as we maneuvered past them. Concerned that they would choose the moment of our passing as the time to drop completely.

As we wended our way towards Millau, the weather turned decidedly worse, until we were driving in torrential rain. Especially as we climbed up and down the various hills and gorges. As we travelled on the weather improved until, as we approached Millau, we were being treated to blue skies and sunshine.

The scenery in this region is fantastic and the more we saw the more we vowed that perhaps this would be the next region in France that we would target for our next long holiday.

Soon the reason for our trek to Millau popped into view.

The following is taken from the Aveyron Official Tourist Website

Millau viaduct holds the world record for the tallest bridge, culminating at 343 metres (higher than the Eiffel tower), 2460 metres long and touching the bottom of the Tarn valley in only 9 places.

Conceived by the French engineer Michel Virlogeux and designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, it fits perfectly into the naturally intact and grandiose landscape: a very thin slightly curved steel roadway supported by stays gives it the appearance of a huge yacht and the ensemble rests on 7 very slender pillars.

The bridge is spectacular and can be seen from many miles out. We took a few pictures, then headed for our hotel in Millau.

We were staying at the Hotel Mercure and were soon installed in our room. ow lucky were we with the room allocated to us. Take a look at the view from our hotel room ….

After a little freshen up we headed out to explore and grab a bite to eat. All the eateries near the hotel were only serving drinks. Once again our pursuit of lunch had commenced after the proscribed hours.  Pushing out, further afield and we discovered a brasserie, Le Mandarous, who were more than willing to take my Euros in exchange for food and drink. The brasserie was situated adjacent to a roundabout so we were able watch both human and automotive antics while we ate a rather tasty meal.

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Millau, France

I’m afraid I’m getting rather boring with regard to my choices. If it is on offer, I will almost always go for the “assiette de charcuterie”, an assortment of cooked meats which can including ham, garlic sausage, salami and, depending on the region, perhaps some cheese. Back in the Correze it was common to have Chèvres, Cantal or Salers. In Tulle there was Bleu d’Auvergne but on this occasion, in Millau, I was treated to a couple of pieces of a rather nice Roquefort. This was a real melt in the mouth treat.

After our meal we continued wandering the streets, sorry I mean exploring….

We both decided we liked Millau and felt that it would be a place we should visit again. With its quaint cobbled streets and narrow alleyways it has a really nice feel.

As we meandered into another square, Place Marechel Foch, we decided to take advantage of the shade provided by the trees and sat down for a cold beer from the nearby brasserie. We became aware of a wedding group gathering outside a nearby church.

Apart from the bride, page boys and bridesmaids there were numerous cars that had been decorated in perhaps, by UK standards, an unusual way. We liked it. Something else the French do is have the entire wedding group clamber into their cars and drive around the town honking their horns. Making everyone aware of the wedding and, I guess, involving everyone in their celebrations. There were several weddings on this Saturday afternoon in Millau and we had observed this tradition a couple of times around Serandon and Neuvic.Of course the Simca Rally Car did not need to sound his horn to make people aware as the engine noise was fairly noticeable.

Suitably refreshed we meandered our way back to the hotel for a brief nap before getting changed and heading out for our evening meal.

On the whole a good day.

 

Leaving


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Last night there was a humongous storm. Possibly the wildest storm I have experienced. Very strong winds, continuous lightning and torrential rain.

This morning was calm but dull and damp. The picture shows the view from the gite towards the gorges. This was our last view of the Dordogne, at least for this vacation.

At the time of writing we have arrived in Millau, in the Aveyron department of the French Midi-Pyrenees region in southern France.

We are here, for just one night, to see le Viaduc de Millau, the tallest bridge in the world. Tomorrow, we head to Lyon as we meander our way back north and, ultimately, home.

So We Are Out


The leave campaigners have had their way and Great Britain will leave the EU.

I am not a fan of the EU. Personally I don’t believe we should have joined in the first place.

In theory the EU is a great idea. The problem is, just like with communism, you have to factor in human nature.

The good bits of the EU have been smothered by the petty bureaucracy, stupid rules that interfere in individual national processes and traditions.

And let’s not forget the petty bureaucrats, the fat cats getting fatter on the EU expenses gravy train.

No, we should not have joined. However, we did and we have been in too long to extricate ourselves without a lot of pain.

Britains exit may well be likened to a particularly messy divorce. With both parties making life difficult for each other, more out of spite than moral rights.

And for those who think that voting to leave means that our EU contributions will be switched to the NHS, or that all immigration issues will be resolved, don’t hold your breath.

Just remember, those promises were made by politicians,  professional liars and withholders of the truth.

Just take a proper look at the various statements they made and see how much water they hold in the weeks, months and years to come. 

And just how much is a Boris Johnson television apology really worth

Argentat Revisited


The title is stretching reality, just a bit. We did make it to Argentat, about ten days earlier in our holiday. However, as I’ve already posted, we got a little distracted en-route and arrived too late to do it justice. You can see what diverted our attention here.

So, this morning, we got our act together and by 10:00 we were on our way. Determined that we wouldn’t get distracted, our resolve broke when we were passing through the village of Rilhac-Xaintrie ….

Apparently the Chateau dates from the Fifteenth & Sixteenth centuries and is a listed building.

Continuing with our journey we soon arrived at Argentat which sits on the Dordogne River. Our first view of the town is from the side of the surrounding hills.

And shortly thereafter we are parked up just a few metres from the Dordogne. The temperature today was around thirty degrees centigrade, or Celsius if you prefer. So without further ado, we headed for a suitable hostelry to quench our thirst and also feed our souls.

We were soon sat at a table in Auberge des Gabariers, with a prime view out onto the river.

Gerry had a Tuna Steak with risotto, while I had a starter of Foie Gras followed by Steak accompanied by Trauffade. We both had dessert, strawberries with ice cream.

Suitably nourished we set about exploring a little further around Argentat. However, due to the heat, 32 degC according to the app on my mobile, we curtailed any further street walking.

We decided to go and find a shady spot, preferably by the river, for an afternoon nap. However, once in the car again we set about exploring. randomly choosing destinations from our book of maps. The satnag was, on occasions, totally useless. But we found our way back to the gite, eventually.

We did stop for a couple of snaps ……

 

 

 

 

Tournemire / Pleaux


After two weeks in France, I finally decided to refer to the information that I had gathered, regarding places of interest in the region of our gite. We decided to head off to Tournemire.

Had I checked it out before visiting Salers on Monday, I would have realised that we could combine the two villages as part of one days touring.

Still, with another beautiful day promised we headed back out to the Cantal region and the village of Tournemire.

Tournemire village is situated 15km north of Aurillac, in the Massif Central, Auvergne region. The village is classified as one of the “most beautiful villages of France”.

While still a couple of kilometers out from the village you are treated to a view of the fortress sitting high up on the side of the valley.

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Tournemire – Auvergne, France

Although the village is largely hidden from view by the trees. Joe Public cannot drive into the village but have to use the car park, a few hundred metres outside. Signs indicate that a ticket must be purchased from the Tourist Office.

However, it was closed, so we had to park illegally. There is always the concern that our car could be clamped or even towed away. We wondered if they would be so petty, especially since the fee for parking was one whole Euro, for the day.

Feeling quite guilty, we entered the village. Some of the houses are said to have been built on original Roman foundations. Once again the local volcanic rock dominates the construction and most houses are topped off with slate roofs. As previously mentioned the fortress, Chateau de Anjony, dominates the village and dates from the 15th century.

After exploring the village we felt it was time to recharge the batteries, so to speak. We headed back through the village to the Auberge that we had passed earlier in the day.

At the Auberge de Tournemire we enjoyed a simple but filling lunch comprising Truffade with an assortment of cold meats. Truffade is a local Auvergne speciality comprising potato and cheese. Washed down, of course, with a nice cold beer. Sorry but I’m at it again with the musical links. You only have to say the word Auberge and the Chris Rea tune pops into my head….. dah dah dah dah dah !!!

After lunch we left Tournemire to meander our way back to the gite. Referring to some local pamphlets we picked up in the Tourist Office, and having paid our one Euro parking fee, we decided to go via Pleaux.

Once again, many of the buildings in Pleaux are constructed using the grey volcanic rock and topped of with the grey slate.

We stopped to have a beer and watch the world go by for a while and also explored the “Land Art” on display in the square. There was some quite innovative use of bottle tops and coffee pods giving an almost oriental feel.

All to soon we had to continue our journey home to the gite.

 

 

 

Le Bicyclettes de Salers


Based on a recommendation from Florence, our landlady, we undertook a trip to Salers. It is famous for the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) cheeses Cantal and Salers. It is also known for the Salers breed of cattle that originated in this commune.

As for any journey originating from Serandon, the first few kilometers involves descending into, then climbing out of, the nearest gorge. Every now and again I find myself breaking into The Self Preservation Society and imagining driving one of those infamous mini’s round the dozens of hairpins.

Long before we reached the village we became aware of an association between the village and the cycling. Around every corner, on top of hedges, even in the tree tops there are bicycles. Mostly painted bright yellow, but on the odd occasion they are painted in various other colours.

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Bicycle – Salers, France

The primary reason for this is the Tour de France. This summer, Cantal will be the first mountain stage of the Tour. Some 216 km long, the riders will arrive in Anglards de Salers, Salers and the Col de Néronne, they then climb the Pas de Peyrol before returning to Murat and the final ascent to Le Lioran.

The nearer you get to Salers, the more bicycles there are. Nearly all my subsequent photographs have a bicycle present somewhere.

The village is very beautiful and there is plenty to keep ones interest. The historic buildings or the many cafes, restaurants and the artisan shops.

We had lunch here, at a pavement cafe, and Gerry finally managed to get her Croque Monsieur that she had been hankering for, since we arrived in France two weeks ago.

So, I’ll leave you with another musical link Le Bicyclettes de Salers

I wonder how many of you remember the tune and of those that do, how many have actually seen the film ?