The plan today was to hit two villages in the Cantal region of France. Cantal is famous for it’s cheese and the ruggedness of it’s mountains. We experienced the ruggedness of the mountains and enjoyed the least populated part of France we have been in so far. At one point we went almost 15 kilometers between two towns which is a record for us in France.
We stopped up in Cheylade to visit their church which is famous for its roof and nave. It was a nice spot and while we were in there we had a good conversation with a group of Belgians who showed up to take in the church.
After getting confirmation from the Belgians that the pass was open we headed towards Salers. Salers is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has retained almost all of it’s medieval structure. After years of obscurity that allowed it to stay virtually unchanged for centuries it has been discovered, and last year had over 400,000 visitors.
It is certainly a nice place in a nice location, but maybe it was the bad weather (cold and wet), but we were both a little let down by the town. It felt a little too touristy and more commercial than we expected. (I think our bad taste started by having to pay 3euro to park François when the parking lot was empty.)
When we first arrived we went over to the city campground for the night, but were totally perplexed about how it worked. There was what appeared to be a proper campground, but it did not appear to have any water on site, but it did have electricity. There was also an aire next door. The perplexing part was there was not a soul on site to take money or give directions. After wandering around for a while we decided to head into town and come back later and see if we could figure the place out. When we returned a couple of hours later the situation was the same, no one on site and no one using the facility. We decided we would grab a spot in the area that looked like an aire. While we were eating the Gendarme (national police) passed thru a couple of times without moving us on so we figured we must be legal and free. When Ron went out for his evening walk he ran into a gentleman who turned out to be the campground manager. Patrick is quite a character and we ended up talking to him for quite a while and he is going to take us into town for cheese tomorrow. But our free site turned into 13 euro when he collected the fee.