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Kristin's visit: Southwest of France 2008


Scarcely unpacked, and memory sticks scarcely offloaded, from Ramsar COP10 in Korea, we're welcoming a nice visit from Kristin, who's leapt the Atlantic for a castle-hopping blitztour through southwestern France, mid-November 2008.

You 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.

Saint-Flour, France

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 dedicated 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

1. Sarlat
2. Roque-Gageac, Beynac
3. Castlenaud
4. Gardens of Marqueyssac
5. Castle of Fenelon
6. Carcassonne
7. Castle of Peyrepertuse
8. Carcassonne by night
9. Meyrueis, Tarn

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, Dwight Peck at . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 27 December 2013.


South France, December 2014


SW France, June 2009


SW France, November 2008