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To the Monts Dore (zouthwest of Clermont)

Home -> Europe -> France -> Travelogue France -> 10 June 2006

Saturday 10 June, to the Monts Dore (zouthwest of Clermont)

It is already slightly warmer than the past few days, we notice when we get up. Fortunately, we have a shady spot. After a relaxed breakfast with fresh baguette, we set off at 11 o'clock. We will make a tour to the southwest to see some higher mountains.
View on OrcivalWe first drive straight west, to Orcival, a small village (250 inhabitants) that turns out to be a real pilgrimage place! Maria seems to have taken a bath in a well here and since then the water has been healing. When there was also found a statue of the Virgin Mary in the neighborhood, a church had to be built.
The cathedral of Orcival The center of OrcivalThe basilica of Orcival is clearly Roman and from the beginning of the 12th century, very compact, but actually too big for such a small village. It was therefore more to accommodate the pilgrims. In the basilica we see in the crypt the embalmed hand of some saint.
Terrace in OrcivalWe have not been on the road for long, when we both find it time for a cup of coffee so we look for a terrace which we quickly find. Despite the 250 inhabitants we count at least 4 hotels, but now it is still quiet, the tourist crowds come next month and in winter of course when people can cross-country in the area.
Panorama of vulcanoesThen we drive south from Orcival on the D74 from where we have a beautiful view to the north on the Monts Domes, the young volcanoes where the Puy de Dome belongs to. We are almost one kilometer high, but it is quite warm for a walk. The volcanic tops that we now drive to are the Monts Dore, much older volcanoes than the young ones we saw yesterday. The whole area, however, falls within the Parc Naturel Régional des volcans d'Auvergne.
The rock Tuilière The rocks Tuilière and SanadoireThen we drive to the place Le Mont Dore and encounter two remarkable rock formations, Tuilière and Sanadoire. Tuilière left has a side where angular columns can be seen. It reminds us of the basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, they all seem to be hexagonal, but we do not know for sure from this distance.
Forest trail Queureuilh waterfallJust before Le Mont Dore we walk down a path to the Queureuilh waterfall. A steep and stony forest path takes us further down and also steeper. The waterfall is 30 meters high, not too wide, but very beautiful and especially the place at the bottom of the waterfall is a lovely spot. Too bad there are more people ...
Mont DoreCompletely sweaty we come back to the car, it is certainly more than 30 degrees and we turn on the air conditioning in the car for the first time this trip to cool down. Then we drive to Le Mont Dore where we have a fantastic view of Puy de Sancy where there is still snow. You can go to the top with a cable car, but we do not want to do that today. What we do miss however, is the heaviest book in the world that would be here in a mini-museum, over 200 kilos!
A winding and sometimes steep road brings us to the east and we see much more snow. That will be really gone in a few days, because it is still almost 30 degrees at a height of more than 1400 meters! A beautiful area to drive through and we fully enjoy it.
Fortunately, we are still able to do that after a visit to the store: when we come back with our shopping, the car suddenly appears to be a long way away! We have forgotten the handbrake and are lucky that the parking lot is almost flat and there were no cars ahead of us! Well, not flat enough to keep the car in place.
Château MurolJust like Le Mont Dore, Murol is a health resort, but we especially notice the castle that towers above the village at a height of more than 800 meters. We just drive past the village and then look for a nice place to picnic, with a view on the castle. We do not visit it because this region (where not in France?) is full of castles and we have seen so many from the inside already.
Château BusséolVia St. Nectaire, where a large market is held, we drive further back to the east and in Busséol we come across a castle where we only take a picture. We are already close to the campsite, but we have to follow all sorts of narrow and steep roads before we are on a slightly larger road; this really looks like a very secluded area.
In total we only drove 140 kilometers and have been on the road for almost 6 hours. A short, but very impressive route with beautiful natural beauty. Back at the campsite we enjoy the last hours of sunshine, because we also want to get a tan, of course. And what are we so tired of, we didn't do anything exhausting today? Time to rest and enjoy!


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