Sunday, 26 August 2012

Auvergne summer

Summer came to the Auvergne in August and it was very, very hot, up into the 30's Centigrade. We drove down on a hot, sunny day and it got hotter and hotter. No one moved much, as moving seemed not worth the effort. People sat under trees for shade and to try and catch any little breeze that was available. The late evenings were full of people in the village sitting outside their houses, chatting with friends and families in the cooler darkness. The weather was perfect for the kermesse held in mid-August, with a church service for St Ferreol, followed by a sale of home made patisserie, and a fete with a lottery(3 tickets for 10euros), in which I won a voucher for 20euros worth of flowers,(winnings shown above) then a meal for everyone, with bread and patisserie made by members of the local hunt ( la Chasse) who used a bread oven belonging to people who have a house overlooking the village.
A couple of weekends later , the village held its final Marche du pays, an evening event when local vendors of sausages, aligot (an Auvergnat speciality, recipe here) omelettes, bourriols ( a type of local pancake made with buckwheat flour) and local Auvergne wines and soft drinks. Everyone buys a bit of what they fancy and sits down at long tables and benches in front of the Mairie and eats and chats, generally socialising with friends and relatives. There are usually a small group of musicians playing local music on the bagpipes and accordian, to add to the gaiety.

Our latest outing was a coach trip to the national Museum of the Resistance, followed by lunch on a boat which started  and ended its trip on the Truyere river just beneath the Viaduc de Garabit. Lunch was a four course meal, with a starter of salad, pate de foie gras, then duck leg and vegetables, followed by cheese and either apple tart or ice cream, and finally coffee. A long day which began with the coach party leaving at 6.30am, before sunrise, which we watched as the coach made its way to Mont Mouchet, with a short pause for a coffee just as we went on to the A75. The site is interesting, with a monument, walks in the surrounding forests, and a well-laid out and informative small museum.

The visit to the Garabit Viaduct, built by Eiffel,was interesting, as at  the end of the trip, the boat went almost right underneath it, perfect for taking photographs. We finished our day out with an hour's stop in St Flour, in the old town, and paid a brief visit to the cathedral, before having a quick coffee on our way back to the coach. A grand if somewhat tiring day out.

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