What does man really need to function? Fresh air, clear spring water, inspirational, breath taking views and of course a good selection of cheeses; stand up and take a bow the Auvergne, your moment of glory is here.
The beautiful volcanic region of central France lives an extremely modest life, so modest in fact that it is often forgotten about altogether. Well, to avoid such a crime I am here to shed some light on a place which really deserves to be discovered.
We are a funny bunch us humans, always trying to find quicker and newer ways to do things, building more roads, flyovers, bypasses, high speed rail links just to gain a few minutes here and there, destroying natural beauty but yet still convincing ourselves with weak and shallow reasoning that we are doing the right thing. We forget about the fundamentals and tangle ourselves up in technology and the unnecessary, it’s so easily done, and I wish I could escape more often. Thankfully there are still retreats or sanctuaries not a million miles away, such as cycling around certain secluded parts of the Auvergne, where we can step back in time and forget about trivial complications.
Freewheeling through villages and hamlets lost in the rural countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, vast, greener than green forests and lakes formed in volcanic craters, oozing traditional and a simpler way of life, you feel a certain weight lifting from your shoulders. Like the houses and churches the locals could have also been carved out of the dark volcanic stone, solid and sturdy, once warmed they share their heat freely, making you feel welcome for a life time. All this is looked over and protected by the sleeping volcanoes, strung together in impressive chains, forming imposing natural barriers, keeping the future out and the past alive. The inspiration coming from the reassuring peace provided by the security of a stunning background.
Photo by Jacques Pouillet