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Report 2022: Nine Weeks in Country, France

By phirhon from Queensland, Australia, Spring 2012

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Page 5 of 12: Week 4 Haute, Loire 14 - 21 April

It was quite cold as we set out heading for the Haute Loire. We were staying in the small village of St Beauzire, near Brioude, in what was once the Casino epicerie. It has been cleverly converted into a comfortable gite with an impressive wood fire which we put to good use in what was to be a very cold week.

Sunday was awful - so cold and wet. On Monday we woke to find there had been a light fall of snow which was very exciting for us (definitely no snow where we live). Later that day we visited the lovely village of Lavaudieu on the Allier river, and then drove up through the Livradois forest to La Chaise Dieu. It was like being in a Christmas card and seeing the magnificent church and cloisters blanketed in snow was magical.

A must do this week was a trip to Le Puy en Velay, and we really enjoyed wandering the narrow streets and climbing steep stairs. Of course we climbed the rocher to the small chapel and looked into the distance from the lovely cathedral. Another day we drove down the Gorges of the Allier with stops at several interesting villages such as St Ilpize and Lavoute-Chilhac (on a loop of the river).

There are several Plus Beaux Villages in this area and we saw a few - Blesle, Lavaudieu, Montpeyroux and St Floret. I had seen photos of St Floret taken from above, so we were delighted to find the vantage point at the old chapel of St Chastel. It is a lovely little church with a very old cemetery with exposed tombs and a small ossuary. Another wonderful week.

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