Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Professional Sightseer

The plan was for this to be a relaxing holiday, just a chance to get away and chill out after all the upheaval of the past few months. My Dad and his wife bought a house in France a couple of years ago and said I should come out and join them whilst they were over in September/October. “Great idea” I thought “I can help out with some of the work around the house or just sit about and read my book, have a lie-in, happy days.”

However something got lost in translation and last week turned into what can only be described as an epic sight-seeing tour that saw me out of bed by 7.30 every morning.

I think Dad was just so excited to have me at the house that he wanted to show me everything in the vicinity. And when I see vicinity please don’t mistake that for near vicinity. Because in the near vicinity there is nothing. This is rural France people. No-one can hear your scream.

They live in a tiny little village. So tiny it doesn’t get to appear on postcards of the Aveyron region but I can tell you that it is in the uppermost tippy top of the region. I could mark it for you on a postcard if you’d like.

So this was my abode for a week.

I was a little wary about going away because of the state of disrepair of the house when they first bought it. I wasn’t sure what awaited me, but thankfully the biggest jobs have been done (like getting a working shower and kitchen – all life’s essentials) and really it just needs cosmetic stuff doing it. When I left they were about to tackle the attic which is going to be a job and a half in itself.

So basically I’ve seen everything there is to offer in the northern part of Aveyron and a little bit of Cantal.

(I am of course joking. Kind of.)

Highlights included:

The National Resistance Museum in Mont-Mouchet which was amazing and with Dad’s help I could figure out pretty much what the exhibitions were talking about.

The Viaduc de Garabit which is a big viaduct over the Truyere river and was built by one Mr Eiffel before he went on to build some tower in Paris or something.

Vallee de la Haute-Truyere – let’s call it the lower gorge of the Truyere. It’s a funny old river because it’s dammed in about five places to provide hydroelectric power so it looks incredibly calm for a river and you also can’t swim in it in case they decide to drain it and you disappear down in to some awful mechanism.

Chaude Aigues – location of a very hot natural spring. I did ask if you could stick your hand in it but this was before I realised that it was 82 degrees. There was a part of me that wanted to try it out though, I mean it’s not like it’s boiling. It rather strangely had a pan with a boiled egg in it. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean I guess to prove it could boil an egg, but unless someone takes the egg out each day and sticks a new one in I don’t really get it.

Chateau de Thenieres – I’m all for ruins and this one was especially amazing because a) it offered stunning views across the valley and b) health and safety doesn’t exist over here and you could climb up things you definitely wouldn’t be able to if you were here in England. I took full advantage.

Trou de Bozouls – it’s a big hole in the ground! And who knows why. I vote we blame nature. It looks like a bore hole or like someone was making a gigantic pie and decided to use a great big pastry cutter to cut away the landscape. Very impressive and you can drive down to the bottom but we were running out of time as I had a date with Rodez airport to fly back home.

I am aware that there is a temptation to run away with oneself and write a gazillion posts about my holiday and the things I saw there but I am even more aware that those posts can get incredibly boring quickly and become the modern day equivalent of sitting through someone’s slideshow. So I am going to limit myself to a couple of posts (yesterday totally doesn’t count, it was about airports) and am in the process of sorting myself out with a proFlickr site so that I can put photos up there and if you were really really desperate you can go there to see them.


  1. Hooray for sightseeing!!! Glad to hear you had a good time, the house looks really pretty too!
    So sorry you missed out on the giveaway, I felt really guilty knowing that you were away!!!

  2. Yeah that's a strange egg - do they leave the same on in all day? It'll be somewhat over-boiled surely?

    Sorry to have made you hyperventilate, I hope you've recovered. I hadn't really thought of it as a strange thing to do but I suppose it is. ON the other hand, if I didn't have lists and goals and things, I would just daydream and drift, I know I would, and never get anything done!

  3. Well you may not have got the lie ins you hoped for but at least you have an excuse not to sightsee next time you visit!

    Victoria x

  4. Trust me, after a few years they'll be so sick of taking all the people who visit them to all the local tourist sights that they'll never want to see any of these places again and they'll leave you in peace to read in the sunshine :)

  5. Looking like a great tour so far. I know what you mean about things being miles away!!

  6. I must be terribly boring, because I'd quite happily sit through someones holiday slides (as long as there was wine being passed around too).

    I'm thinking that as stunning as Trou de Bozouls is, I definitely wouldn't want my house teetering on the edge of it :0)

  7. Looks great! So did Mr. Eiffel sit there after building the viaduct and think to himself... hmmmmm what can I do with all this left over iron...hmmm...OOOH I know! :) Loved all the pics, and the look of you Dad's house! Susie xxx


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