With these delightfully quaint little villages, it looks like the Gorges de l'Allier were created to transport us back to the 60s. So some admirers of "retro" fashion had the good idea to offer the rental of vintage gear that will make our trip out of the ordinary.
How about a walk in the Gorges de l'Allier in vintage mode?
First Manu (Les Mobs à Manu), with his battalion of little petrolettes that this mechanical enthusiast likes to fix up. And then Isabelle and François de La Deuch' Company : for them, the 2CV is life!
Incredible the noise a 2CV can make when it accelerates! Once on board, you feel like you're flying, even though you're only at 50 km/h! We saw the landscape to the full, with something better than a sunroof: a convertible. And better than a car: a lifestyle!
In the morning, a short overview to learn how to tame these two-wheeled toys. The wicker baskets are securely fastened behind the mobs, the picnic tablecloth and the petanque balls are in the trunk, so "Drive Simone!" ".
Walk in the Gorges de l'Allier in vintage mode
Lavoûte-Chilhac and Chilhac, two charming old stone villages
First stop for a coffee in Lavoûte-Chilhac. We love the vaulted stone bridge and the air of the south of this village, its former Cluniac priory embedded in the loop formed by the Allier and its houses on the sides of the rock.
We then go on the sides of the gorges towards the village of Chilhac. This "Little City of Character" of raw beauty is hung by its basalt organs above the Allier River.
A gourmet break in Chanteuges at lunchtime
We reserved a table on the terrace of theChanteuges Inn . On the Ombre d'Auvergne menu, this very rare fish with the smell of thyme, farmed a few hundred meters from the restaurant, National Conservatory of Wild Salmon (which can be visited in the summer!). With the mushroom risotto, it's just divine. We continue with a cheese platter of course and a raspberry/blueberry tart. Along with strawberries, currants and blackberries, these lucky ones are part of the famous “Red Pearls of Velay”.
For the short digestive stroll, we climb the cobbled streets of the village of Chanteuges. In the low walls that accompany our ascent, succulent plants and flowers that seem wild intermingle. At the top, the Priory of Chanteuges sits enthroned on its rocky outcrop. There hovers an atmosphere of serenity as if, up there, time had stopped running... At the end of July, this magical site resonates with the talent of world-renowned guitarists during the 6-string festival along the Allier
It's hot, it's time for swimming in the Allier gorges, in Prades
We take our racing cars backfire to reach, just below the Prades beach (supervised in season). Swimming in the invigorating water of the Allier then pétanque: we are the kings of the world.
To end this day on a high note, we head for a nugget: the Chapel of Sainte-Marie-des-Chazes. A chapel of black stones which borders the green gorges of the Allier.