So starts the mad dash back north, so why am I heading east? Partly because I don't want to re-trace any of my original route down, if I can possibly avoid it, & partly because I wanted to see as much of “Le Massif Central” as I possibly could. This is a part of France that has always attracted me, ever since I first learned about it at school.
From what I understand it's one of those big “green bits” on the map (I've mentioned those before) only this one is the size of a small country and, I've been lead to believe, a kind of mountainous, forested area dotted with tiny little villages. I never gave much thought as to how these little settlements would be connected though.......
So, I filled the tank again (well, almost filled), which is usually more than enough for the days drive between sites, & off I went.
I did end up re-tracing some of my original journey down, which took me nicely past a garage which restores older cars that I'd wanted to stop at on my way down but didn't have time. They had a rather tasty 1976 BMW 635csi, among some other tasty stuff, all at various in their restoration. Needless to say, some time was spent taking pictures.
I also re-traced some of my last leg towards the Auvergne mountains, as far as the hydro-electric dam, which I believe is on the Dordogne river, so I took some more pics of that as well, although I didn't get a chance to drive over it again this time.
Then I was heading into the thick of “Massif Central” country, full of beautiful tree lined valleys, peppered with tiny villages, any inhabitants who managed to catch a glimpse of me were looking very interested indeed.
Most of these little villages, precariously perched on mountain sides, were connected by equally tiny roads, also perched on mountain sides. The journey was all switch-backs & hair-pin bends, up & down steep valley sides, in & out of heavily stuffed forests & barren grazing plains. My little old sports car was in its' element, and so was I. In fact, it was the only time the French drivers weren't tailgating me, waiting to overtake! Quite the opposite this time, although there was actually very little traffic on these roads, which made the journey even more enjoyable.
So there I was, doing my Colin McRae rally driver bit, when I suddenly realised what it was doing to my fuel consumption! I still had enough left to get me to the village I was heading for, which was a small place called Laurie, about 50km north of Saint-Flour, in the Cantal area of the Auvergne region, which was supposed to have a small municipal.
Well, after going down a few dead ends & peoples driveways I stopped to ask for some directions. Two women, neither of whom spoke any English, managed to make themselves understood & within 5 minutes I was driving round a beautiful little municipal site, with its pitches nicely terraced onto the hillside, picking my pitch for the night.
The site was all very nice, the whole thing was tastefully terraced onto the hillside & nicely landscaped, with all the usual facilities, which were all nice & clean, as usual, the only problem was that the Mairie had decided to leave it late in the day to come round & collect the money!
And the price I had to pay for this very quiet, tidy little site with its fantastic views from all sides?.... 6€40 can't say fairer than that. I would recommend some rock pegs though, but I was only there for one night, so pegs half way in would do me fine.