This little French town and various other places about are featured in this year’s (2008) Tour de France bike race.
We had many pleasant times in the town a few years ago as well as Genouillac down the road where we had an excellent working person’s lunch in the restaurant there. This is advertised on a board outside as “Ouvrier“.
It’s a bit strange really as during our two stays near Chatelus Malvaleix, we did half this year’s tour!
The race passes through the weird and beautiful “La Brenne” with it’s myriad lakes (or etang).
Then it passes Chatelus Malvaleix and the crayfish lake next to the campsite and faeries down the road at Roches, the town hall and Petit Casino, down past Gueret and Aubusson with the wonderful tapistries.
Chenerailles with the fantastic market selling superb oak furniture and the best beef butcher in the world.
It goes through Vichy (of the water and Nazi) and Sainte-Nectaire, my favourite cheese in the world.
It passes through old mining areas reminiscent of a hilly Ashington and huge Roman towns.
It passes through St Flour, personally famous for the runny cheese festival (la fromage est fondu!) and Aurillac as well.
It goes from the industry of St Etienne to the clean bright future of Grenoble.
It goes to Cuneo in Italy and passes very close to the Marco Pantani monument on a mountain pass to France.
I wish I was there! The poor old Centre in the Massif Centrale is getting well and truly plugged this year. Well I can nearly be there! Google have a maps add-on for this year’s tour and you can zoom in to the street, pan around and traverse up an down the road. Absolutely fantastic.
Check out Chatelus Malvaleix and Genouillac. The quincaillerie and the restaurante obscured by a big artic from the local rockwool factory.
Check out the pass between France and Italy with the breathtaking views and hairpins.
Ah. La Belle France.