Hi there, this blog update can also be read at Hello! Magazine Online! If you haven’t already caught up with it there, then here is the latest from France ….!
Bonjour from me, Lee and little Hank from Clermont-Ferrand in central France. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!
Lee has made his way to the Pyrenees for a pre-season training. A week of mountaineering, commando training, zip wires … oh and a couple of rugby matches thrown in too for good measure.
In his absence, I’ve been welcoming some visitors from the UK and attempting to give them a taste of the Auvergne. Although, as I’m still discovering myself, it’s been more the idiot’s guide than the Lonely Planet!
My oldest school friend (and bridesmaid) Lisa was first to land for a sneaky weekend break before she became too pregnant to fly! The weekend’s itinerary started with obligatory pampering at the Royatonic baths and spa in the Royat area of the town. It’s fuelled by the hot thermal springs of the Auvergne volcanic region and well worth a visit. We followed that with a rooftop lunch at the gorgeous Princess Flore hotel, taking in fabulous views of the city including Clermont’s iconic black Gothic cathedral built from volcanic rock.
We rounded off the weekend with a drive up the mountain roads to the Puy-de-Dome, the king of the region’s chain of volcanoes, which make up its unique landscape since erupting all those thousands of years ago. However, not feeling it was fair to drag a heavily pregnant lady to the top on foot, we settled for eating ice-cream and watching other people either hiking up to the peak or parascending down from it (watch this space though – the latter is on my to-do list)!
Lisa flew out of Brive, which gave me an opportunity to take in another new town with beautiful views! And just a hop, skip and jump from the Dordogne, which hosts many a Brit and their second home! And who can blame them?
Best friend’s flying visit was swiftly followed by my mum’s arrival for a week.
The ‘ladies who lunch’ theme continued! Clermont’s beautifully groomed gardens perfectly combining à la carte with a red and white pavement café vibe at Jardin Le Coq. Dappled sunshine and delightful food.
Otherwise, chilling has been the order of the day. Often, for us Brits, it’s simply too hot to do much else! With the heat wave lasting the entire summer here, temperatures touching 40 degrees and the absence of a pool at the house, we decided to invest in another cooling mechanism. You’re never too old for a giant a giant paddling pool!
Finally, for those following the progress of Miniature Schnauzer Hank, he too has been feeling the heat …
And he almost stumbled upon a unique way of cooling off …
Next time, my tribute to our Brit Tour de France champ Chris Froome as I get on my bike to explore the Auvergne …..! And for those who follow my blog, this time I have actually bought one of my own!
I am still writing for @CardiffLifeMag too … keep an eye out for those columns. I will also update them on here for you! Au Revoir!