After a cold, restless night in the tent, (I needed to put on my fleece and socks and had been sliding down hill all night), I was awake early and packed up quickly. It was still cold so we found a tabac that was open and had our essential hot coffee and hot chocolates. Thawed out we set off eagerly. We followed the GR3 again but ever wary to deviate if it got overgrown again. This is the major Rondonnée route in France but it is also one of the toughest. Many of the tracks haven’t been walked or maintained for ages. Today was like a bridal path, soft underfoot, wide and well used. The walking was delightful with fields and horse paddocks and the mountain ranges on the horizon. How is this for a pigeon/bird roosting solution?The term Puy is supposed to be for domes of old volcanos. We made good time and hit a village sooner than expected but opted to picnic by the river so we can dry our tents in the sun.
I had a catnap after our lunch of bread and cheese, chocolate and fruit. Tents dried we packed up and started the climb to the panoramic view. We passed a chateau on the water that must have had a waterwheel to generate electricity or for milling perhaps. The Loire runs fast all the time so you can imagine them using its force. It appeared renovations were underway if the noises emanating from the building were any indication.
Up we trekked, up, up on a rough but well graded path till we emerged from the trees but still not at the top. A little dog greeted us with lots of barking but we pushed on.
This time we walked more along the ridge line and then there it was, a breathtaking view of the whole valley.
We could see where we had walked from one side to the other. From here we had a gentle descent but not into Le Puy as we had hoped!
By now we were all feeling weary and the sun was warm so Karen was getting hot.
We reached Polignac a small village with a remarkable castle on a rock and lost the path.
We decided we would follow the Camino signs because they are more direct. The GR3 is given to avoiding roads so ADDS distance sometimes!
Eventually after regrouping we came across the view we most wanted to see. Le Puy! We were all pretty spent but an ice cream shop lifted our spirits. A big day.
Our AirBnB is on the 4th floor of a medieval building right in the centre of town. It was a long walk up the stairs, feet smarting. When we reached the apartment we all just about fell in the door and into our beds. I promptly fell asleep for 15 minutes! Refreshed we started our usual routine of bathing, washing and getting organised for dinner. The person who lives/d here must be very tall. I can’t even see into the mirror over the hand basin, the bath and we all had a bath, is so high I nearly fell out getting out, while the toilet is so high my legs don’t even come near the ground. I dangle them like a child!
Reinvigorated we set off for dinner, quite late for us at 8:00 pm and found many quaint places to choose from. Civilisation has many advantages which you appreciate when you have been without for a while! Dinner included Puy green lentils of course and I had trout and lemon mousse for dessert. Delicious and such a nice change.
View from my window
The hairdresser’s assistant. It seems like everyone in France has a dog. And not just one but often multiple dogs. In the city little dogs are preferred and in the countryside all sizes but in particular lots of border collie types as well as German Shepards and mutts. Yorkshire terriers are very common and most dogs are well socialised because they go everywhere.