We eventually escaped to France for a visit to our house and for a break from English news. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny mostly, with few rainy days, and we felt we could relax. I could swim in an outdoor pool without having to make an appointment, my husband go for a cycle ride without having to deal with city traffic to reach countryside, and we could actually visit a supermarket together. The whole area is usually fairly quiet, except in August when a lot of people come and visit families, but this year it was exceptionally quiet.
On the 7th September we went for a walk up towards the Col d'Aulac (1288m) from the village of Le Vaulmier, and could see some of the preparations being made for the Tour de France which was due to pass through the village in a few days time. The local association of young farmers, Les Jeunes Agriculteurs de Salers, provided the manpower and the hay bales, arranged eventually in the shape of a cow's head. (The view from the helicopter shown on the TV broadcast is much better, showing the completed head)
the Tour passes through Le Vaulmier
This stage of le Tour, Stage 13 finished at the Pas du Peyrol, altitude 1588 metres, and passes over the local roads we are very familiar with. The men in red teeshirts in te picture above are Les Jeunes Agriculteurs, madly ringing cowbells as the caravane passed, throwing out freebies, and as the cars and cyclists flashed by. As soon as the last of the cyclists and following vehicles had sped through the village , everyone rushed over to the little temporary bar and television, set up for the afternoon, to watch the final push. The evening finished with a barbecue in the nearby field and eventually fireworks. A day to remember for all.