Day 6, Wednesday, and we awoke to a dull day. Quite a transition from the bright sunny weather of the previous day. We had studied the maps after dinner, on the previous evening, and had decided to head to a small town, Entraygues-sur-Truyere, about an hours drive south from the gite.
So after a light breakfast we headed out. Every curve in the road, every hill crested, presented us with a grand vista, or another point of interest. In some cases we were presented with the plainly curious.
Like the ripples in this meadow below the road ….
…. or this distant tower ….
Our route took us over the EDF hydro-electric dam at Cambeyrac.
The following was lifted directly from http://www.tourism-occitania.co.uk
This site, used by EDF, comprised a power plant and a dam built between 1954 and 1957. It was fitted out so that the visitors can freely access and enquire about the site. From the outside, it is thus possible to observe the engine room and to understand the functioning of this power plant which produces the equivalent of the consumption of 14 000 inhabitants, so 10 times that of the population living in Entraygues-sur-Truyère. Thanks to information desks, distributed around the power plant and on the belvedere located at the tip of the dam, the visitor also discovers how this site was built, its components and the local aquatic flora. Observation binoculars are available for visitors. Open and free access all year.
Just downstream from the dam is the 13th century bridge over La Truyère.
There has been a bridge here since permission was granted for its construction in 1269. It was built by the “Frères Pontifes” a lay brotherhood whose vocation was bridge building.
The bridge originally had four arches and two toll towers at each end and in the 13th century it had huts running the length of the bridge. These huts were occupied by small merchants who sold their goods to passers-by. In 1927 it was listed as an historical monument.
The bridge is currently undergoing essential works, hence the scaffolding.
Whilst exploring the dam, I spotted some movement in the water and was lucky enough to see an Otter. It was diving below the surface and, on a couple of occasions, actually surfaced with a fish clamped between its jaws.
I was so excited at seeing an otter in the wild that I called out to a passing cyclist. I had assumed that he was French but he turned out to be Brit. He joined me at the wall to watch the otter and we were soon joined by his wife. Turns out that they were from the north of England and were on a cycling tour, following the river route through valley. We had quite a chat during which we exchanged information about where we had been and our travel plans. I told them about our visit to Chartres and the light show at the cathedral. They told me that something similar was happening nightly, at the abbey in Conques, thru to the end of September. I added this to the mental list of possible destinations during our stay. We bid each other farewell and continued on our separate ways.
Gerry and I continued on our way to Entraygues-sur-Truyere in search of an eatery. Arriving in town we parked up alongside the Lot River. We weren’t the only ones looking for a spot of lunch …
Just a short walk alongside the river we found our way to Le Quai West. All of the outdoor tables were occupied, so we were seated inside. This turned out to be a good thing because, when we were mid way through our meal, it started to rain. The good news is that it had stopped by the time we were ready to leave. The food here was good and filling. Gerry had the “L’Aubrac Burger” ( a burger with local meat, green salad and fries served with the house sauce) whilst I had the “La Planchette Aveyronnaise” (a selection of regional meats and cheeses). All washed down by the obligatory beer.
After an enjoyable repast it was time, to go walk off those calories, to explore Entraygues.
In the past, Entraygues was a strategic point at the crossroads of transportation routes, at the junction of Auvergne and the Lot Valley. Here also, the Lot and Truyere rivers meet.
The gabarre vessels (flat bottomed boats) were used to transport goods to such far away places as Bordeaux.
We decided to call it a day and head back to the gite. The road out-of-town ran alongside the Lot and we were soon presented with this bridge, Pont Notre-Dame.
Back on the road back to the gite we, once again, stopped to take some pictures as the weather was closing in and the valleys were beginning to fill with clouds.