May 9, 2014 – Roche Solutre and Parc du Pilat

Today we are driving to Vienne with a couple of stops along the way. John has found the Roche Solutre, a pre-historic site where early humans were making especially fine flint tips. There is a museum and a giant rock with hiking trails.

The ride through the countryside is beautiful. Quant little towns and vineyards are nestled into rolling hills. We find the site. The rock is impressive. It reminds me of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming except made of limestone instead of basalt. We go up the steep hill to the museum to find…that it is closed for renovations. So sad. Continuing up the rock with my knee and John’s bad hip is not possible so we turn around and drive back to the highway continuing south.

Beautiful countryside
Beautiful countryside

Roche Solutre
Roche Solutre

It’s now past 1 PM. We are low on fuel both for the car and ourselves. We figure we will take care of this once we are off the highway and on our way west to the Parc Regional du Pilat. No way could we miss out on a park named Pilat.

Our park
Our park

Once off the main road, there is no gas and nowhere to eat. We turn around and search frantically for a gas station. The first one we find won’t accept our credit card. We are all the way to Vienne now and on empty. Finally we find a station with an attendant. Good thing because now John can’t figure out how to get the gas cap open. Well, long story short, someone helps us, it’s past 2 PM so we eat at a McDonald’s and finally arrive at Pilat Park around 4 PM.

The park is not like what we would think of as a regional park. There are many towns in it and farms. There’s not a lot of wilderness. We find the park headquarters. We take numerous pictures. John relates how his name is Pilat. The staff is non plussed. Oh well, we are stupidly happy about all the Pilat things.

Mr. Pilat with his park
Mr. Pilat with his park

His very own flag
His very own flag

Apparently the park was created as an artisanal protected area. Kind of like a modern Sturbridge Village. Products from the land diligently crafted is as much a part of the park as are the hiking trails. What’s this? A Pilat Brewery? Yes, we will go visit that.

Biere du Pilat
Biere du Pilat

Pilat beer headquarters
Pilat beer headquarters

Arriving at the Brasserie du Pilat we sample some beer, take some pictures and John once again tells the proprietor that we are Pilats. Not much reaction.

This Pilat's for you!
This Pilat’s for you!

We head back to Vienne and check into our hotel, La Pyramide. They have a two star Michelin restaurant where we have reservations Saturday night. The room is fine but the Internet is not. Also the air conditioning is feeble. We are not making much headway with the person at the desk. John learned French before the Internet was invented and he can’t explain the problems.

Our room at La Pyramide
Our room at La Pyramide

We have dinner at their bistro. Dinner is fine.


Back at the room the internet is still not working. I wake up periodically to check on it. (Yes, I am obsessed) So now at 4 AM with the signal weak and intermittent I am trying to get this written. I know I won’t get back to sleep until it is done.

Success!

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