We had a pleasant drive to Vichy spotting a heard of Bison no less and several chateaux and grand houses. The farms are larger here and seem more mechanised. Herds of creamy Charolet are the beef cattle of choice though the herds are hardly more than 30. It is calfing season and there are lots of Plat de Jours (plate of the day) offering calf heads!
I have tried the charolet steaks twice now and while I find them tender they don’t seem to have much flavour.
Getting rid of the car to Avis was a tedious ordeal. The car needed to be left in the station car park; after taking a parking ticket you leave the keys with the station information desk. None of that was clearly explained and we left it twice before finally getting the correct information. We were quite cross with the Avis rep but when we passed the office and saw him inside we decided to check with him. He was so pleasant we lost our ill humour. Still the explanation needed to be clearer.
Our AirBnB is really charming and well situated though we were disconcerted to discover our hosts were living here with us.
We stumbled on the most unusual and beautiful Art Deco church. We were all blown away by its stained glass and the decorative touches.
The river Allier which runs through Vichy has beautiful parks and sports areas along its banks. It also has a beach and beach boxes. There were several slippery dips from the higher level of the park. I had a go and it was so fast I landed in a patch of wet playground.
We returned to our house for a home cooked meal after booking a massage at the Spa for Tuesday afternoon. We are meeting Karen’s mother Sue and her two French friends Denise and Nicole for lunch.
They are the loveliest of women. So very friendly and asking us to come and visit. It was a wonderful day topped off by us showing them the Art Deco Church! They admitted they know the Vichy ships best! I showed them where u bought my swimsuit for the spa and they agreed it was a good choice but expensive. The spa was too upmarket for me to go in my underwear!Then it was off to the spa for which Vichy is famous.
Because it is May 1st, a very serious public holiday hardly anything is open.
There are flower sellers everywhere selling Lilly if the valley which are always sold in the 1st if Mat and symbolise a happy home for the year ahead.
After the spa we looked for a place to dine having exhausted our provisions the day before. I was starving and couldn’t believe nothing was open. Eventually with the help of the internet we found an Indian restaurant 19 minutes walk away. Disaster averted!