Posts Tagged: South of France

01 August
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Hello again! Bonjour from me, Lee and little Hank from Clermont-Ferrand in central France. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

Lee has made his way to the Pyrenees for a pre-season training so he’s had a week of mountaineering, commando training, zip wires… oh and a couple of rugby matches thrown in too for good measure!

 

Lee doing his pre-season training

Lee doing his pre-season training

 

In his absence, I’ve been welcoming some visitors from the UK and attempting to give them a taste of the Auvergne. Although, as I’m still discovering myself, it’s been more an idiot’s guide than Lonely Planet! My oldest school friend (and bridesmaid) Lisa was first to land for a sneaky weekend break before she became too pregnant to fly.  The weekend’s itinerary started with obligatory pampering at the Royatonic baths and spa in the Royat area of the town.  It’s fuelled by the hot thermal springs of the Auvergne volcanic region and well worth a visit.   We followed that with a rooftop lunch at the gorgeous Princess Flore Hotel, taking in fabulous views of the city including Clermont’s iconic black gothic cathedral built from volcanic rock.

 

View from the Princess Flore Hotel

View from the Princess Flore Hotel

 

We rounded off the weekend with a drive up the mountain roads to the Puy-de-Dome, the king of the region’s chain of volcanoes which make up its unique landscape since erupting all those thousands of years ago.  However, not feeling it was fair to drag a heavily pregnant lady to the top on foot, we settled for eating ice-cream and watching other people either hiking up to the peak or parascending down (watch this space though – the latter is on my to-do list)!

 

Lisa and me at the Puy-de-Dome

Lisa and me at the Puy-de-Dome

 

Lisa flew out of Brive, which gave me an opportunity to take in another new town with beautiful views! Just a hop, skip and jump from the Dordogne, the area hosts many a Brit and their second home – and who can blame them?!

 

View over the Brive countryside

View over the Brive countryside

 

Best friend’s flying visit was swiftly followed by my mum’s arrival for a week. The ‘ladies who lunch’ theme continued and we headed to  Clermont’s beautifully groomed gardens, perfectly combining à la carte with a red and white pavement café vibe at Jardin Le Coq, where we enjoyed the dappled sunshine and delightful food.

 

Mum and me

Mum and me

 

Otherwise, chilling has been the order of the day.  Often, for us Brits, it’s simply too hot to do much else! With the heatwave lasting the entire summer here, temperatures touching 40 degrees and the absence of a pool at the house, we decided to invest in another cooling mechanism.  You’re never too old for a giant paddling pool!

 

The beloved giant paddling pool!

The beloved giant paddling pool!

 

Finally, for those following the progress of Miniature Schnauzer Hank, he too has been feeling the heat…

 

Hank hanging out in the heat

Hank hanging out in the heat

 

And he almost stumbled upon a unique way of cooling off…

 

Hank looking to cool down!

Hank looking to cool down!

 

Next time, my tribute to our Brit Tour de France champ Chris Froome as I get on my bike to explore the Auvergne…!

Back soon! Love, Ax

 

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