Saturday, November 14, 2009

France trip review Day 4--Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region

I have been meaning to finish the France trip review for several months now.  I have a real motivation to do so now--I'm going to Spain in February!  A friend, Jessica, is joining me to Madrid, Barcelona, and hopefully the Basque country for a few days.  So, without further adieu...


We left the Chateau de Reignac after having the same breakfast as the day before.  Our next destination was the little visited Massif Central region in the center of France.  I am always looking for non-touristy places to visit and this was definitely it in France.  

The Massif Central is a volcanic region of with the most popular being the Puy de Dome.  There is a road going to the top but it can be closed because of snow.  Since we were there in late March there was some snow that had closed the road.


From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region



Our next stop was the city of Clermont-Ferrand.  On our way in to town we stopped at a wonderful overlook




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region


Notice the cathedral in the middle of the picture.  The cathedral in this town is black because it is made from local volcanic rock.  




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




After visiting the cathedral we made our way out into the country to our bed and breakfast for the night. On the way we saw some ruins on a hill

From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




There was no one around and it looked totally deserted. Chris wanted a closer look so he jumped a fence that I'm sure he was not supposed to. We found out the ruins are the Chateau de Mauzun. We can't find much about these ruins except that they were built in the 13th century.

From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




We got back on the road to our B&B for the night, the Domaine de Gaudon.

This place was so out in the middle of nowhere!  When booking this hotel they did not take online payment, so they had to mail me a reservation form and I mailed it back to them with our reservation and we paid cash when we got there.  We were completely in awe when we drove up to this place.  It was truly French country living with animals all around.  We were greeted with two energetic dogs, Rascal and Oscar.



We quickly learned that the couple who owned it did not speak a word of English.  
This did not stop them from treating us like honored guests. They sat with us immediately at their dinner table and made us tea. We had a conversation that consisted of my limited French and sign language. They wanted to let us know that they were so happy our country had elected Barack Obama (this is the third time so far we'd heard this on our trip).  

While we were having tea we were greeted by Zissou, a 23 year old cat!  This place was VERY animal friendly, which was great with me.  I do realize, though, that some people would not want a cat on their dining room table, but I did not mind!  And after 23 years, don't you think Zissou should be able to do what he wants?


From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region



After we had tea the couple showed us to our room.  In France, in order to be classified as a bed & breakfast you must have 5 bedrooms or less.  We were their only guests that night. 



From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region


The room was impeccably clean and we were so happy. Since it was a Monday, many French restaurants and businesses are closed, so madame offered to cook for us (we were also 45 minutes away from the closest restaurant, too. We felt like guests in an old friend's home. We were in the middle of nowhere but yet felt so at home. We had several hours to kill before dinner so we went outside to play with the dogs. That time playing with the dogs running around the country was my favorite time of our entire trip. There wasn't a care in the world. The dogs were so happy and so were we. At that moment I decided that I really do want to live in the country some day.

From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region



Despite the very cold weather the dogs wanted to go for a dip in one of the ponds



From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




Rascal was such a....Rascal.  He brought a tree limb to us to chew


From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region



Supper time!  Madame made us salami sandwiches, with three different types of local cheeses and the best apple tart I've ever had.


From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




Notice Zissou in the background?  He kept getting closer and closer...


From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




Most of you know Chris is not a cat person, but who can say no to a 23 year old cat jumping in your lap?

From France Day 4-Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, Domaine de Gaudon--Auvergne/Massif Central region




To see all of our pictures from Day 4 click here.

3 comments:

Jessica Cardoza said...

Fantastic photos. The black cathedral was stunning!

Jessica said...

Ok at the end I started cracking up at that cat. I love the picture of him across the table sitting on the chair and just seeing his glowing eyes. And then on Chris's LAP! That was priceless. It actually looks like Chris didn't mind.

Elizabeth Witt Walters said...

You better believe Chris didn't mind. Who is he to argue with a 23 year old cat?