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Saturday, 13 July 2013

PROVENCE PART 2

 
After a good sleep at Saint Amand we awoke refreshed and ready for the next leg of our journey.  We set off south to cross the Massif Centrale, the mountains of central France. I had my sketchbook and some watercolour graphitint crayons ready to use.  The centre of the country has a region of volcanic formations which look very odd as you approach from the north; The Puy de dome is the highest one in this sketch and the rest are just as seen here, lots of even shaped peaks scattered across the landscape.
 
 
The volcanoes give way after Clermont Ferrand to more peaks, some still snow covered in the distance.  We visited the Monts d'Or a couple of years ago and found them beautiful with many beautiful valleys and hillsides of meadows populated with cows producing delicious cheeses. On the way down the motorway I bought a new road atlas and decided to use the old one to illustrate my sketches.
 
 
About an hour's drive south of Clermont we turned off the A75 to go across country to our next destination of Vallon Pont d'Arc.  The N102 is a beautiful drive through undulating countryside gradually becoming more mountainous with hairpin bends around the valleys filled with broom bushes in full flower.  The fragrance came in through the open windows and the air was very warm, quite different from our drive the day before that started in cool drizzle.
 
 
We arrived late afternoon and found our site at the side of the river Ardeche.  It was very hot by this time so we were pleased to find all the pitches well shaded by plane trees.  We chose our spot and settled down for a rest before having a pizza for dinner.