It was good to get
away from Paris. Clermont Ferrand looked
fairly ordinary but the countryside around
looked good. Volvic seems a very prosperous
place - built, not on sand, but water.
Got up late and got out
at 9:30 without waking our somnolent friend.
Had "breakfast" at a café on the Place
Republique. Here A discovered pain au chocolat.
He had two!
We then walked to the
Pompidou Centre and back to the Hotel, getting
sandwiches for lunch on the way. We checked
out at 11:30. Our somnolent friend was gone.
The hotel was filling up
as we left. The guests all looked as if they
had been sent from the Youth Hostel. The only
hotel service is reception and room cleaning.
We took the Metro to the
Gare de Lyon and are now speeding through
France at about 100 mph. Our route was through
Melun, Montargis, Gien, Nevers, Moulins, Vichy
and Riom. Our accommodation is like an old
fashioned BR train, with a corridor and
compartments. There are 8 of us in our
compartment - the train seems very full.
Fortunately it is air conditioned - it looks
warm out there. Bits of the train go to Le
Mont Dore and Aurillac.
At one point we went
along the banks of the Loire. Coming into Riom
we saw the Chaine de Puys, including the Puy
de Dome - it looks very high. We got in 15
minutes late, at 16:25, but it has been a nice
At Clermont Ferrand
station we bought tickets to Volvic and a
Telecarte so that we could phone C. The train
journey to Gare de Volvic is short but
spectacular. It is hard work for the engine,
uphill all the way, but there are spectacular
views across Clermont Ferrand. The black mass
of the cathedral is very evident. A large part
of the way seems to be through the better
suburbs of the city.
The platforms for non-TGV
trains are not obvious when you get to the
Gare de Lyon. They are to the left and
forwards (looking along the tracks out of the
Station). Despite being a second class citizen
the train to Clermont Ferrand was very
But after that we had a
long 45 minute walk down into Volvic. It is a
steep walk along a fairly busy road without a
pavement. Not nice.
In the town, which
looks very pretty, we quickly got a room for
160F at the Hotel du Midi. Pretty good, 2 big
beds, shower, bidet, sink, toilet down the
stairs. We showered, did the washing and went
exploring. Lots of shops - nice little town.
The Hotel du Midi
looks the poor relation of the two hotels in
the town centre. We will eat in the other one
It turned out that it
would have been better to have walked from the
Gare de Volvic. But the first train on
Saturday was about 6, the next being at 10 or
12. So a reasonable start time for Saturday
meant getting to Volvic on Friday.
I’m writing this as we
finish our meal at the Hotel du Commerce. I’m
on the 110F menu, A on the "Enfant". He
couldn’t face a menu with
snails and frogs legs on it. There’s a Spanish
folk group performing in front of the church -
lots of "Hobla, Hobla!" Quite pleasant as it
was taking a long time for my sweet to arrive.
A went and phoned C and, after paying, we both
went and phoned her. All is well at home.
The local rock is
a black volcanic rock of andesitic
composition. There is lots of evidence of
skilful quarrying and masonry.