On Monday August 3, I went to explore the southern part of the "Chaine des Puys". During the journey my nose was glued to the landscapes in the turnstile of the road. I should have put on the shoes and taken my hiking sticks; the weather was gloomy and cold, I didn’t have the courage. In addition I bypassed the Vulcania Park. When I got to Chamalières, I supplied with food for the driver as well as fuel for the vehicle. Finally, at the end of the morning, I arrived at the big parking lot for the panoramic train in Puy-de-Dôme, here. As the photos show the weather was very dark and the temperature around 13°C. The Espace Temple de Mercure building traces the history of the occupation of the volcano called Puy-de-Dôme since Roman antiquity with the discovery at the end of the 19th century of the Temple of Mercury near the famous Voie Agrippa, here, from Lyon to Limoges. I spent the night in the parking lot.
Tuesday August 5 I went down from Puy-de-Dôme to arrive in Clermont-Ferrand at the Parc-Relais des Pistes where there are six sites for motorhomes with services. I took the tram at 8.00 am to visit the old town of Clermont-Ferrand, here, always with the Green Guide book, which I scrupulously followed the route to old Clermont knowing that private hotels cannot be visited. The two religious buildings draw my attention. The Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption cathedral, here, in a radiant Gothic style from the 12th century is built of black volcanic stone. It is characterized by sumptuous 12th century stained glass windows. Strolling towards the Notre-Dame-du-Port Basilica, here, I crossed squares decorated with fountains. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roman Auvergne style attested by its exterior architecture. The saddleback lintel shows the worship of the Magi, the presentation in the temple and the baptism of Jesus. The choir is surrounded by an ambulatory, the capitals of the pillars of which are historiated, in particular with the fight between virtues and vices. A very beautiful statue of the Virgin breastfeeding the baby Jesus from the 14th century lit by the red of the stained glass windows. The crypt exhibits a Black Madonna on the altar, here. I returned to Place de Jaude, stopping at St-Pierre-des Minimes Church to photograph a 14th century polychrome stone Madonna and Child. To all contemptors from the left and elsewhere, France's cultural roots are Christian!
Wednesday 05 August I traveled the northern part of the Chaine des Puys. Unfortunately, like Monday, I had my nose in the pastures and the firs despite a detour via a dirt track. Of course I did not undertake a walk. On the way I turned away for a closed 12th century church and the view of the Chateau de Miremont. On the other hand, the meander of Queuille attracts tourists and certain motorhome drivers glued to the small parking lot. I bivouacked on the sideroad of the roundabout before Queuille.
|Château de Miremont|
Thursday August 6 I left the roundabout where I had spent an excellent night to visit the Fades Viaduct above the Sioule gorges then the Menat Bridge before stopping at Menat to see the remains of a Benedictine monastery founded in the 6th century of which the abbey church and the cloister of the 12th century remain. I arrived in Vichy, known for its thermal waters and also infamous for the collaborationist government during World War II. I was turning for about a quarter of an hour to find a parking lot because all the parking lots are underground with a maximum height of between 1.85 and 1.95 meters! The little that I have seen, modern attracting buildings, tourist trap shops and of course idle spa guests. I went my way to park in the small car park of the Hurlevents at the foot of the television tower, not to be confused with the famous Emily Brontë novel, Wuthering Heights.
|Viaduct des Fades|
Friday August 7 I went to Arronnes by non-listed local roads in the Bourbonnaise mountain with morning encounters of cattle walking on the road here and there. The priory of Arronnes was not open. I continued to Châtel-Montagne to visit the granite church of Notre-Dame in the Auvergne Roman style, attested by the bedside as well as by the ambulatory. Two sculptures attract attention, a polychrome wooden pieta and a Madonna and Child. I shot directly to St-Pourçain, whose central square is adorned with a fountain and with the belfry of the old monastery and the steeple of the church of Ste-Croix in the background. The highlight is a sculpture of an Ecce Homo in a single block of stone with all kinds of creatures at his feet expressing the suffering of Jesus. I bivouacked on the service area near the tennis court, the temperature rose to + 36°C under my truck.
Saturday August 8 I visited the churches of the bocage bourbonnais the first two in Montet and Meillers were still closed during my visit I was content to admire the exterior architecture as well as some sculptures of the Meillers church, the tympanum in the saddlebag and the capital of musical animals, a lion playing the viol and a donkey on the harp. The priory church of St-Pierre-et-St-Paul de Souvigny has suffered the vicissitudes of time, built in 950 in the Roman style and restored in the 15th century. The interior decoration benefits from interpretive panels. The church of St-Menoux belonged to a former 12th century Roman abbey with a splendid ambulatory with in a chapel a polychrome Virgin and child as well as a blessing Christ surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists and the lamb pascal. Lastly the 12th century St-Georges de Bourbon-l'Archambault church has a very beautiful painted ambulatory and in the chapel of the Virgin a white marble statue of the Virgin and Child. A sculpted capital presents musicians. I bivouacked on the service area, the temperature under the truck reached 38 ° C and 42 ° C inside the cell.
Sunday August 9 was a short day on the road but heavy heat under a leaden sky with 34°C under the truck and 37°C in the cell. The only stop was at Épineuil-le-Fleuriel after the village of Meaulne which gave its name to the hero of Alain Fournier’s, here, only novel, Le Grand Meaulnes, here. I waited until 10.00 to visit the Grand Meaulnes school. By browsing the two classrooms as well as the furnished rooms of the official apartment of his parents, both teachers, I relived the beginning of Alain Fournier's novel which is the second most read in the world after The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry. I bivouacked at the municipal campsite in Vallon-en-Sully.