Saturday, 28 July 2007

Riom, Vichy and Lapalisse

This post covers our journey north from Clermont into the departement of Allier.

On Saturday 21 July we drove 15 minutes from our night stop at Chatelguyon to the town of Riom. It was market day and finding a park proved tough at first! We eventually parked on the edge of town and walked in, passing many people heading home clutching baguettes under their arms. It was market day and there were dozens of stalls laid out along the main street selling goods as diverse as Country Music CDs to undergarments, handbags to spit-roasted chickens. We decided to grab one of these delicious looking chickens after our walk and then head on to the boulanger for a baguette. On the way back we lined up for a chicken but the guy told us there were all orders for other people and he had none left! We got in the queue at the boulanger and again there were slim pickings to be had. We then realised the museum we wanted to go look at was closed until 2pm, it was another one of those days!

Thankfully things turned around for us, we hopped into Ace and headed to the nearby Carrefour where our chicken sandwich dreams came true! I also came back with some cream cakes in tow and some fresh Nile Perch. Sarah has waited in Ace but then wanted to go off and do some secret shopping for my birthday. She came back with a surprise for me which she quickly hid and also a book to keep her out of mischief, the new Harry Potter book, in English of course! After lunch we drove back into town and visited the regional museum of the Auvergne which had displays depicting rural life in this area in 19th century. There was a wedding party in town having their photos taken in the rain, what bad luck as it had been sunnier earlier. As we drove off somebody forgot to close Ace’s sunroof and we hit a couple of low hanging branches of trees!

Top: Sarah and the sunflowers
Above: Me sporting my new hairdo
Below: More sunflowers

From Riom we headed north to Vichy, a spa town and the seat of government of the collaborationalist French regime during WW2. At a building called Source des Celestins you can taste the mineral water straight from the source. We both had a cup of water which tasted quite nice, it is particularly good for the intestine. We walked into town with the laptop where we asked at a hotel if we could pay to use their WiFi, the woman was very nice and said we could use it for free. We checked our email and then updated the website with 4 new blogs. It was dinner time and we decided to grab a bite out for a change. We had seen a restaurant in quite a few French towns called Buffalo Grill and guess what, there was one in Vichy. Sarah had chicken wings and I had half a chicken. I think we will turn into chickens with the amount we seem to be eating! The waiter tried to rip us off with our change but we didn’t leave until we had the proper amount.

From Vichy we drove north further into the departement of Allier towards the town of Lapalisse. The light was beautiful around sunset and I had to stop several times to take photos of the pink-purple skies. We arrived at the large aire de service in Lapalisse where there were already half a dozen motorhomes parked up. We found a phone box in the main street, adjacent to a beautiful fountain which was lit up with different coloured light. We finished the day off by returning to Ace for a hot drink and our cream cakes.

The next morning it was a little bit cooler, but the sun came out and quickly warmed things up. We went for a walk around town again, this time to admire the Chateau de Lapalisse. We ate some raspberries and blackberries in the sunshine and decided to head off around noon.

1 comment:


So you decided to eat some raspberries and some blackberries - and head off about noon - How civilised.
Me - I had a slice of vege toast and headed off in old Freddie Ford for a full day in the country.
Bye the way - Ray/Shirl's old upright freezer has a new home - 88 Harrison Street - and the other day - it sent an email to its old owners telling about life in the smart part of Bulimba.
Off to Adelaide on Sunday for a week - not as special as France - but the best we can do for the moment.
Will you be anywhere the Aussies when the Rugby world cup is on - do not give them up - they have a real chance of winning

Cheers Dears