Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Auvergne September

Here in the Auvergne, we have had very varied weather the last week, plenty of sunshine, but also a really vicious storm with very large hailstones on the last day of August, and which brought down mudslides and rockslides, some of them affecting the road. There have also been days when the temperature is well into the upper 20's Centigrade, but despite the heat, there are some signs of the coming autumn, mostly in the subtle changes of colour on the wooded valley sides. Life is calmer now that many of the visitors have returned home, there are fewer out-of-department numberplates on the cars dashing up and down the local roads, and the supermarketsnow shut at midday for their hour and a half or two hour lunchbreak, except on Friday and Saturday. One day last week we drove over to Murat, a pleasant town situated on the side of a hill overlooking the valley of the Alagnon river. The old part has lots of little winding narrow roads, many pedestrianised. there is lots of information (in French)
here and some in English here and here, After a good wander round and a restorative cup of coffee, we headed off to St Flour, visited in one of the stages in the Tour de France in July this year. The upper town with its cathedral and museums, is situated on a small plateau, with a lower town down below by the river. Its an interesting place to wander round, and has many small cafes and restaurents. The view from the ramparts at the east end of the cathedral over the valley below and distant mountains is stunning.
However, despite visits and other doings, such as swimming,general pottering and so on, I have manged to fit in some reading.

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