A Weekend in Auvergne [Part 1]: The Medieval Fortress

Have you ever wondered what was in the center of France? I never did.

Like most people, my first few years in France were concentrated on seeing the sights that everyone talks about: the tourist attractions here in Paris and then eventually those in Normandie, Bretagne, the Vallée du Loire, and the lovely Cote d’Azure.  I had spent a weekend visiting a friend in Lyon but other than that most of my travels in France kept me pretty close to boarders or the coasts.

A few months ago though, I finally discovered a little more of what lies in between.  Invited by Edouard’s aunt & uncle to spend a weekend with them at their country home, me, Edouard & his brother headed to the-middle-of-no-where France, AKA: Auvergne.  More specifically we stayed in the tiny town of Saint Hilaire (03440).

map 2

A 3.5 hour drive south of Paris, the trip was totally worth it!  It felt so great to breath in the fresh autumn air and take in the miles of green land all around me.

Saint Hilaire (03440)

Sheep at Saint Hilaire

When we arrived, Edouard’s aunt had a delicious French lunch prepared for us – just what we needed after the long drive.

Edouard outside the small country home where we spent the night

Edouard outside the small country home where we spent the night

justsomegirlinfrance

I’m hungry

French Cheese and wine auvergne

Cheese? Yes please!

Knowing that we were heading out to the countryside, I had envisioned a relaxing weekend lounging around reading.  I had filled my bad with books for me and E.  But Edouard’s aunt & uncle had a whole itinerary planned out for us!

What is there do out in the middle of France you might ask? (besides cow-tipping…)

Well, our first stop was a visit to La Forteresse de Bourbon l’Archambault.  Although only three towers remain of the once mighty fortress, it’s still a pretty cool place to visit.

Forteresse de Bourbon l'Archambault

Edouard’s brother at the Forteresse de Bourbon l’Archambault

Forteresse de Bourbon l'Archambault

Me in front of the towers

The tower rooms have been decorated to give you an idea of what it was like to like in the castle during medieval times : from the royal bedroom, to the apothecary chamber there’s so many things to see! And play with…

And at the top of the towers? A beautiful view!

After our fun afternoon hanging out at the castle, we headed back to the house.  While Edouard’s aunt prepared another wonderful home-cooked meal, his uncle took us for a tour of the neighborhood…

That night we headed to bed early, exhausted from our fun but busy day.

For Part 2 of our trip click here.

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