Posted by: Stevie D | August 9, 2012

Vichy.

We didn’t travel far before our next port of call, the historic city of Vichy. It sits on the River Allier, and our campsite also overlooked the river, on the outskirts of the city.

Vichy is famous for three main reasons. Firstly, and it’s oldest industry, are it’s thermal springs which have bathed the sweaty bods of the rich and famous for hundreds of years. On a similar note, the cosmetics company L’Oreal has laboratories in the town and uses the Vichy name on skincare products, none of which I care to use myself. Finally, it was, basically, the capital of France during the 2nd World War as the discredited government which collaborated with the Nazis was based in Vichy.

What Jayney and I found when we visited was a quite sophisticated city with lovely riverside parks and a bustling centre with many historic buildings and landmarks.

The park which separates the town center from the river doubles as an arburitum.

Fountains are a typically French addition to their city parks.

The Thursday evening market in Vichy is a lively, atmospheric event.

Vichy has many, quite grand buildings which tell of it’s opulent past.

This unusually designed church called Notre-Dame-des-Malades was completed in 1937.

France has been scarred by two wars on it’s soil in the last century. Current generations however, don’t forget the sacrifices made by their forefathers. There are many memorials and the like around the country dedicated to the countless people who died during those terrible conflicts ,all tended and cared for as though the events were only yesterday.

The impressive War Memorial in Vichy.

One of our ride outs took us along some typically great French rural roads and we ended up at Marcigny, a small town on the banks of the Loire in the Burgundy region. It had a fine town square with several cafe’s, so we parked up and took a coffee break.

One of our ride-outs took us to this fine little French town on the banks of the Loire.

We had a coffee in the old square and took in both some sun and some ambience for a while.

The Loire is impressive, even this far upstream.

Next morning we left Vichy and headed north once more. The French countryside was at it’s glorious best and all was well with the world. No if’s or but’s, it was a lovely day.

There are fine old castles and Chateaux around every corner(it seems).

Just an ordinary bridge, but someone has kindly decorated it for our arrival.

We took an overnight stop in a tiny riverside village called Gurgy, just outside Auxerre. And what a great little place it was.

Our overnight stop-off was a fantastic place.

An idyllic spot.

France, summed up in this amazing bridge.

Next morning, we reluctantly left Gurgy and continued northward, where we would find a touch of the Champagne lifestyle.

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