I was so keen to leave I suggested we wait for coffee until reaching Saint-Nectaire a few kilometres up the road. After paying an over-priced €70 for the room, we walked in 5°C drizzle to the car, parked in its free space behind the casino (the only place whole town where parking is now free), and I took the wheel to make sure we were actually leaving, now!
The route out climbs onto a plateau which was so foggy, there wasn't 20m visibility ahead. It stayed like that until we came down off the plateau. How glad were we to be leaving?
Saint-Nectaire has two parts - upper and lower. The upper old town has a church, a bar (closed) and houses, and that's it from what we saw of our short tour. All the shops are at the bottom. We drove back down to the little row of shops along the main road, went into the bar (open) to ask if they had croissants, and was told to buy them next door. Joy!
My DB wanted to see Issoire because it was where there was an attempted revival of the French motorcycle industry - Voxan - created in 1995. Voxan went into liquidation in 2009, but the name was bought by Venturi. Located in Monaco, Venturi's Voxan is making a come-back as an all-electric motorbike claimed as the most powerful on earth, packing in 200CV.
I told my DB that Issoire is a bit of a dump, but he wanted to see it with his own eyes, and make a brief pilgrimage to this biker town. We drove through the centre where the halles (an historic covered market) was the only remarkable building, and out to the autoroute, and agreed that it was indeed a bit of a dump.
We stopped for a bread and cheese (again) picnic lunch in the car at a packed service station. There were many families from the academy of Clermont-Ferrand in Zone A going south on holiday, no doubt in search of some sun!
|Old road. |
The sun, the sun, how good it was to see the sun again! It was warm and bright and colourful. How I love living in the south!
My little car was very pleased to have its engine stretched. It was a bit sluggish on the way up, but full of pep on the way back. At 25,000 km, it is now run in, and at its best. Hurrah!