Tag Archives: vals le chastel

Auvergne: clouds and sky


On a recent walk from Vals le Chastel up and over to the hamlet of Le Pin (The Pine), the sky and clouds were putting on a spectacular display. The photographs were taken at about 600 metres of altitude, looking towards the Margaride and Cevennes hills in the far distance. The yellow and red stripes on the tree in the photo above are the french footpath way marks letting you know you are on the correct route!




Monument du Mois – L’église Saint Roch



Last Sunday our local church was the subject of a guided tour as a “Monument du Mois”. In particular it involved a detailed look at the 15th century frescos in the separate chapel. The  12th century church has an interesting history being originally the private church for the adjacent castle.




The church has recently been restored and is now looking in a better state of repair than before.















The main surviving fresco – in a separate side chapel –  is much damaged. The Virgin Mary shelters, with a huge cloak, clerics on the left and local nobles on the right.



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The exterior is also interesting with parts of the church being fortified.



The church was part of the castle complex. This was sold off after the revolution, into apartments, farms and barns, as seen below.


frescoes and old lace

It’s been too hot to do anything much these past few days but we have been out and about a bit!

We had a couple of interesting cultural excursions this weekend, both of them in full-on rapid French.

The first, on Saturday, was the opening of a new summer exhibition at the Lace Museum in Brioude.
20140609-181809Now, I have to admit that we’ve never visited the Lace Museum, because to be honest it really doesn’t sound that thrilling. It’s a bit like the Pencil Museum in Keswick – it’s always been there as a wet weather alternative, but we’ve not actually had to resort to it. Turns out we were wrong in this case. The museum is housed in a beautiful old building, and there is a lot of really fascinating social history as well as the exhibits relating directly to the lace-making industry in the region. It’s also a working studio, producing contemporary designs which are used by fashion designers in their catwalk collections. My French really wasn’t up to…

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Along the Doulon Valley

Trees  - Doulon Valley

Trees – Doulon Valley

A lovely sunny Sunday afternoon spent walking the quiet roads from Vals le Chastel towards Domeyrat.

Moon over the Doulon Valley

Moon over the Doulon Valley


frost pocket on the bank of the Doulon river

frost pocket on the bank of the Doulon river


Monts du Cantal from the Domeyrat-Vals le Chastel road

Monts du Cantal from the Domeyrat-Vals le Chastel road


Looking down the Doulon valley to La Portal

Looking down the Doulon valley to La Portal


La Portal and a white horse

La Portal and a white horse





Not a lot happens in our village. The population is only 47, theres no bar or boulangerie or shop. But we do have an excellent garage at the bottom of the hill leading up to our hamlet.

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The main event usually is a get together at Christmas for champagne and cake. However the local church has been the subject of major renovations and so an inauguration ceremony took place on Saturday.


invite for the church inaugeration

There was a mass performed by the Bishop of Le Puy en Velay and then numerous speeches by local dignitaries including our local mayor resplendent in a tricolour sash.

Mayors speech at the church inauguration

The church is originally 11th century but heavily reworked in the 15th century including wall paintings which have also been restored.

church interior

After the speeches we all retired to the Mairie for an “apéritif dinatoire” which turned out to be sangria and savoury and sweet nibbles, including some gorgeous raspberry and cream macaroons.

Vals le Chastel Mairie