Into the Auvergne.

The following day we were on the road again this time driving south west and into the hills. A spectacular drive, first south to Saint Étienne then south west into the Auvergne and on to Le Puy-en-Velay and the land of volcanos. Crossing high passes at over 1200 metres and then down into the Lot Valley, through Mende and joining the A75 motorway for a few km to our destination for the night.

La Canourgue is yet another of those lovely ancient villages that are so prevalent in this wild part of France and the fourth we have stayed at in the last few years. The free aire (GPS 44.43339º 3.21173º) is just on the edge of the village and supposedly had space for 50 vans. That would mean a very tight fit with room to open a door if you were lucky, mind you, the French seem to revel in that sort of parking. The entrance requires a little care as it is between stone gate posts with iron brackets, which once held a gate, sticking out a few inches on each side. With care it wasn’t a problem for our 7ft 6in wide ‘A’ Class van. Water and dump facilities are also free.

It was a super village to wander around with narrow winding streets leading to small hidden squares. A small river runs through, a tributary to the Lot, with little channels of fast flowing water running through the streets and under some of the buildings. Simple sculptures of birds and fish stand in the water to add fun to the scene.

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