may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
We're on our way to our first stop, Sarlat in the Dordogne region, and we've stopped the night in Le-Puy-en-Velay in the Haute-Loire region, the most popular French pilgrimage site a millennium ago. The next day, on the scenic route of winding back roads over the Massif Central and the Volcanoes National Park, we're looking in briefly at Saint-Flour.
A view of the ville haute on its ancient volcano (from the ville basse) -- St-Flour in the Cantal department of the Auvergne region
The site of Saint-Flour shows signs of earlier settlement (including a Roman villa or two), but the neighborhood was otherwise neglected, even when Saint Florus passed through at some unknown date, Christianizing the region and doing some miracles, etc.
It's a bit of a grey town now, or at least it is today.
A small monastic community existed up on the hill from the 9th century or so, but is attested from 996. In 1095, Pope Urban II warmed down from proclaiming the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont just north of here by dedicating a new church for the abbey here.
That's what's left of Saint-Flour (after all his hard work)
The lower town from the upper town, and the river Ander
The cathedral, in the upper town
Where to now?
We're driving on to Sarlat now and hoping we're done with the torrential rain for a while.
And, next, Sarlat