I can thoroughly recommend Meyrueis in the Cevennes national park, especially if like me you had never heard of it before. It is a fantastic location with so much to see and do we will definitely be returning here again, and probably to stay a few days. Last night we stumbled upon a gem of a restaurant serving great local food, where three courses and wine cost us less than 35€. In the summer we could have sat on their terrace above the river that the trout I ate for my dinner was caught in, but inside was cosy and there was a great atmosphere. Unfortunately for Ade the local sausage with aligot he ordered seemed to arrive as pork with ratatouille and potatoes, but he was hungry and ate it!
We had a lovely walk around the village as the market was setting up, then returned to the hotel and asked Madame if it would be possible to have a coffee and croissant on the terrace (we had said no to their full breakfast), no problem she said, so we sat ourselves in the sun. I was beginning to wonder how long it took to pour a couple of coffees and serve a couple of croissants, when we saw Monsieur pull up on his bike with a bag of croissants in his hand fresh from the boulangerie down the hill! There is a great circular scenic drive from Meyrueis that takes you to Mount Aigoul (1567m) where there is a weather station, a ski station and not a lot else, except a great view. It was surprisingly cold and bleak with nothing but short stocky pine trees growing; it was even too cold for grass. Thankfully back in Meyrueis, for morning coffee, the sun was still shining. The Tarn Gorges were our next destination, and coming in from the high plains of the Causse Mejean meant we had the most spectacular view of the meandering river which we followed until we turned off for the high plains of the Causse Sauveterre, where we found our own little wildflower meadow, perfect for a picnic lunch.
The Lot Valley was our next destination where the local stone houses have a pink tinge to them and the countryside had become lush and green once more. The roofs tend to be heavily pitched with dorma windows inset and tiled with rounded slates that made me think of the village of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books. There is often a turreted tower or two as well. Upon entering the village of Estaing with the chateau towering above it we both thought we had arrived at Hogwarts Castle. It was a good place to stop for the cherry clafoutis that the lady in the boulangerie in Meyrueis had carefully boxed for us this morning.
The Lot Valley led us to the Gorges du Lot, where we could smell the rain before we saw it. Thankfully only a few drops then back to sun! From the Lot we followed the Truyere River, rounded a corner and came face to face with the Cantal Mountains with their snowy peeks shining in the sun. This trip seems to be turning into a tour of my favourite cheeses! Cantal country was full of happy cows grazing contentedly on its lush green pastures, which carried us to Argentat in the Correze for our final night.
We have now completed our last day of deep gorge, hairpin bend and snowy peak driving. Tomorrow we will make our way home via lakes, dams and small villages. Not as dramatic, but still beautiful. I won’t be posting tomorrow night, as there will be lots to catch up on at home, so I leave you on the banks of the Dordogne River enjoying a glass of chilled beer in the sunshine. Thank you for reading and commenting and I hope I’ve inspired just one of you to get off the main roads and see a bit of France (in a Mini Cooper, of course).!(upload://fiwAf1lJVFZWwG5BaEnT8P88rQf.jpg)