Monday, August 31, I left Rodez early in the morning on foot to visit the cathedral and the city about 2.5 km from the bivouac. The cathedral here was open at 8.00 when I arrived, no tourists! The exterior architecture is unusual with its dungeon bell tower. Unfortunately the facade is under construction under scaffolding. The nave and the two side aisles have an exceptional height. A chapel containing a sculpture of the entombment as well as the rood screen are finely carved. Unfortunately the choir and the stalls are not accessible. The visit of the old town allows me to discover some houses from the Middle Ages. From 10.00 I went to the reception of the Soulages museum, here. During my travels around the world I have had the opportunity to see works by Soulages in the largest museums. I must admit that I have never been seduced by his non-figurative paintings. The Rodez museum brings together a collection of works covering all of his activity. I spent a lot of time trying to capture the quintessence of Soulages’s work, which has remained inaccessible. I left the town of Rodez around noon to go to Estaing. Of course I took pictures of the castle here of ex-President Giscard, which I was careful not to visit. I bivouacked in the parking lot by the river.
|Château d'Estaing propriété de la famille Giscard d'Estaing depuis 2005|
Tuesday September 1st I arrived in Conques around 8.00 am in the parking lot before the Sainte-Foy abbey, here. No tourist. The building dates from the 11th century in a pure Romanesque style of great sobriety enhanced by stained glass windows by Pierre Soulages who had a translucent glass made. The abbey is on the road to Saint Jacques de Compostela. The 12th century tympanum represents the torments of the Last Judgment, to be seen with a highlight between 10:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. The treasure contains pieces of gold leaf and silverware on a wooden plinth. Alas no-photo. The gallery, below, presents a photo of the reliquary statue known as the Majesty of Saint Foy taken from the brochure given at the entrance with the ticket. I took a detour to see Decazeville, the former mining and steel town. Alas no vestige remains. I bivouacked in Laissac on a huge parking lot.
|Stained glass windows by Pierre Soulages, here.|
Wednesday September 2 was a short morning drive to visit the castle, partially in ruins, of Sévérac-le-Château. Then I dawdled in the Gorges du Tarn from Boyne to Les Vignes along the D 907. Unfortunately, it was almost impossible to make a photo stop, no parking and a narrow road between cliffs and gorges. Finally I branched off to climb to +870 meters altitude at Point Sublime to admire the Gorges du Tarn. I found a bivouac on a sloping ground.
Thursday September 3, I went down from the bivouac around the Point Sublime to explore the Gorges du Tarn, here, from Les Vignes to Florac with a detour to the Roc des Hourtous belvedere for a panorama seen from above on the shore at the opposite of Point Sublime. As usual, I left early in the morning to descend the lace up to Les Vignes. Then the roadway of the secondary 907B is sometimes narrow with an alternating passage as well as a succession of tunnels with a vertical clearance varying from 3.8 to 4.2 meters as well as a very narrow tunnel at 3.5 meters. The lace from La Malène to the Roc des Houtous is prohibited for vehicles over 6 meters. For my 5-meter vehicle, I sometimes had to do three maneuvers to get through certain hairpin bends on the D16, both uphill and downhill; fortunately no traffic between 9.00 and 9.30! The Gorges du Tarn are unmissable but above all to be covered by canoe for a view of the bottom out of the summer season for a good impoundment, especially at Pas de Soucy. I bivouacked on the service area in Florac.
Friday, September 4, another short day of driving with an altitude of between 900 and 1100 meters in Gévaudan. I made a stop in Mende to visit the Notre-Dame and Saint Privat cathedral, here, partly built in the 14th century, destroyed in the 15th century by sicaires then restored in the 17th century etc. A very 17th century organ, baptismal fonts, a black virgin (11th century) and hanging Aubusson tapestries (1706). The crypt was closed when I visited. The very narrow rue de la Jarretière leads to the Place du Blé with a superb view of the Tour des Pénitents. On the way to Langogne I stopped at Chaudeyrac, here, to admire the comb bell tower. I bivouacked at the Langogne service area.
Saturday September 5 was a link stage from Langogne to Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille, here, to stock up on energy food at Intermarché supermarket for the hike on the Chemin de Stevenson with a donkey in the Cévennes, GR 70. I set up my camp at the Camping L'Estéla.
|Castle of Beaufort, Goudet|
|Camping L'Estéla, Le Monatier-sur-Gazeille|
On Sunday September 6th I arrived at Chik’Ânes’s, here, around 3:00 pm. Sylvie for more than two hours gave me the basics of the profession of donkey to lead my companion well for 13 days. The course ended with a short hike around. I bivouacked there.