Sunday, May 3, 2009
Looking around Royat
On Saturday we went to Royat, where there's a nice things to see. Royat is a suburb of Clermont-Ferrand, on the side of the city toward the mountains where they have a lot of mineral springs and people come to soak in the special water. The different springs have water with different combinations of minerals because of the volcanos nearby. I think that's just a lot of hot water. I like the park there. It has a stream running through it called the Tiretaine. (pronounced "Teer - eh - tane")
In the park is a big collection of rocks, set in piles along the path. There's a note next to every pile telling where the rocks are from and how they were made by the earth. There's gneiss and granite and black lava and lots of others. This one is schist. I like the way it has different colors, and it gets shiny when it's wet. I also like that you're allowed to climb on the rocks instead of just looking at them like they might break or something.
Here we are sitting on the rail of the bridge over the stream. It was kind of windy and Ellie almost fell in and got swept away all the way to the Atlantic ocean.
More fun in the park.
To get up from the park to where the town is you have to take the stairs, but now there's an elevator for handicapped people. A lot of older towns have roads like this you can't take cars on, because they were made long before there were cars.
On the right of the stairway above there's a series of really narrow houses. On the other side of the same houses here's the stream. Don't fall in, Ellie! There used to be a mill here in the stream, using the energy of the rushing water to make flour or drive machinery.
At the top, there's an old church. The oldest part of this church is one thousand years old. This Roman kind of building style is quite unusual, and Saint Leger is one of very few fortified churches left in France. (I think it's funny, because "Leger" means "lightweight", and this church is really really heavy!)
Inside, underneath the sacristy, there's a crypt where they used to bury people. Now there's mostly just a lot of plaques that people put up in memory of their loved ones, or to thank God for something that happened in their life, like a baby or getting over a serious illness. You can't take pictures down there - it's disrespectful. Next door there used to be a monastery full of monks, but now it's a school.
Royat is a very pretty town, and they like to keep it clean. There are some special corners for dogs to use for pooping, and in several places they have free baggies to pick up after your dog. Dog poop even has its own word, "crotte", which is different from the other animals' poop.
Cobblestone streets are still very popular in small towns.
Some views over Royat.
French people like to cut their bushes into fun shapes.
Then we stopped at the train station in Royat-Chamalières. Royat is uphill, Chamalières is downhill. From here you can take a train east to Lyon or west to Bordeaux. There weren't any people around, and the station was closed. The next train was coming at 12:54, but we were too hungry for lunch and didn't wait for it.
This is the going to Lyon side.
All over the place we kept seeing these funny tubes sticking out of the ground. I have no idea what they are for. Nancy thinks they're the guts of the earth poking out.
Posted by NanU at 9:05 AM