One reason why we headed for the Massif Central and the Auvergne was Volvic mineral water. If you've ever seen a bottle of Volvic, you may know what I mean. Each one carries a picture of the countryside where the source of the Volvic water can be found. Prominent in the photograph is the Puy de Dôme, an extinct volcano in the middle of lines of rounded hills. For more information, go to the Volvic web-site - catch the daily sitcom - en français.
Leaving St. Nectaire, we stop to take photos looking back over the valley at the castle at Murol.
Then we headed for the Puy de Dôme itself. The road leading up was quite steep. Nearly at the top was the visitors' centre. Being a French visitors' centre, there were three types of eatery - a snack bar, a brasserie and a restaurant (with linen tablecloths). We chose the brasserie and had a fine meal.
At the top of the hill is a communications centre. This mast can be seen from huge distances, making it easy to identify the peak. In the early days of flight, pioneers flew from the relatively flat top and there is a monument to them. Hang-gliders still use the place as a starting point.
We went for a walk around the top and took pictures of the views across miles of the Auvergne, with the spines of volcano shapes. The clouds moved across us, sometimes covering the top of the hill.
After visiting the hill, we went onto the town of Volvic and to our hotel, La Rose des Vents - the windy rose. From our room, we could see the Puy-de-Dôme, recognisable from the mast on top, breaking the smooth outline. However, the next morning, the cloud had come down so heavily that we couldn't see it.