May 17, 2014 – Le Puy en Velay

(I have gotten behind in posting so John has been gracious enough to help me out.)

John here.

Today we bid farewell to St. Remy en Provence (and to our very kind hosts, Katrien and Filip) and set out for Le Puy en Velay, home of the green lentil of the same name. We get to the A7, head north for about 70 km, exit at Montelimar, and take the N102 towards Meyres where we hope to have lunch at a restaurant Mary has found on the internet.

Jack, our GPS, has other ideas. Despite all the signs directing us to continue on the N102 towards Aubenas and Le Puy, he keeps trying to take us a better way. We know better this time and selectively disregards his errant suggestions.

We proceed up (and steeply so) the valley of the Ardeche River. It is beautiful country despite having what appears to be a thriving logging industry. The road is very twisty with broad vistas of farms and mountains.

We finally get to Meyres and actually find the restaurant, Auberge du Pont. Mary has a salad and a roast beef plate, I have calamari Provencale style and fish Normady style. Mary’s beef and fries could have been materially improved by a sauce and some ketchup. We also suspect that the cattle had grazed on lavender. The owner is very pleased when we say that we found his website, which he apparently designed and implemented himself.


On to Le Puy (again no thanks to Jack). We find our hotel and decide to take a little walk around town to see the cathedral, one of the few large purely Romanesque churches left in France, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot plus being a major stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Campostela in Spain.

What we had not realized is that the cathedral is in the Upper Town and that up is REALLY up. And then the church itself has another hundred steps to get in. Serious exertion to say the least. Inside there is interesting art from the 11th through 17th centuries. Stepping out back, we get a view of the giant statue of the virgin made of melted captured Russian cannons from the Crimean War, perched on the very top of the peak.

Cathedral Notre Dame du Puy
Cathedral Notre Dame du Puy

St. James, patron saint of travelers
St. James, patron saint of travelers

Cathedral interior -the Romanesque structure shows in the massive columns and small windows
Cathedral interior -the Romanesque structure shows in the massive columns and small windows

Notre Dame de France
Notre Dame de France

(I have finished Clark and Lewis and am now taking over from John. Thanks, sweetie!)

What is more perilous going up those hundred stairs or down them and then steeply downhill on cobbled streets? I have to say down. My knee just does not like doing down.

Looking down the hill from the cathedral
Looking down the hill from the cathedral

We make it back to the hotel and flop in the room for a while. Then we go down to the Tavern here for dinner. We must have lentils in Le Puy! My meal is unsuccessful. John’s is more successful and reminds us of the giant pork knuckle we had Prague. Today is my day for ordering badly. Tomorrow I am going to decide what to order and then eat something completely different.

Short stay in Le Puy en Velay. Tomorrow we are off to Bourges.

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