Day 8: Drive to Auvergne
If you are behind on blog posts, today is your lucky day! This is clearly the entry you should skip. It documents seven hours of driving halfway across France. Just think… you could browse back to two days of Tour de France photos and videos, but now you are about to get photos of car snacks. 🙂 Still here??? OK! here we go…
On our last morning in Port Louis, we returned to the boulangarie for a baguette traditionale. This time, we also correctly ordered a torsade (chocolate twist pastry). We continued to the Caucutts and ate breakfast with Nate, Alan and Hannah before saying goodbye.
We ducked inside a small convenience store and stocked up on some car snacks before heading out for our seven-hour drive to Auvergne.
We stayed on the tollroads and freeways, but at least our route did take us through parts of the Loire Valley, which were quite picturesque. Our apologies to fans of vineyards, chateaus and Leonardo da Vinci for not spending more time here.
After traversing the the Loire Valley, we passed Borges and saw the Borges Cathedral in the distance — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With Gothic and Romanesque architecture — and a period of re-construction in roughly the 12th century — it sounds like it might be very similar to the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. Again, our apologies to historical European architecture fans for not stopping. It was, however, surprisingly easy to spot at distance because it seems to be the largest thing in Borges by a long shot.
Fun Fact: Next along the drive, we found ourselves seeing signs for what they kept calling the “Center of France”, which honestly sounded like marketing for some new retail operation. But, after passing a funky, pyramid-shaped bridge proclaiming to be “The Center of France”, it occurred to us that they might be speaking geographically. Neat-O.
As the afternoon wore on, we finally reached the volcanic region of Auvergne, and we were treated to views of extinct volcano cinder cones with old towns built on them.
The Chateau de Murol is very close to our hotel and was build on top of a basalt outcrop in the 12th century to protect itself from attacks. Turns out, building a giant fortress on the top of a huge volcanic rock surrounded by mountains is a good way to keep enemies at bay.
We found our hotel and I took a quick walk to check out the area.
Afterwards, we kicked back and relaxed. Evening plans included resting, blogging, working on that case of cidre we bought, and then getting to sleep early for our 6am hot air balloon flight tomorrow.