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Cooking from a Suitcase - Notes and photos from Auvergne and Paris

Cooking from a Suitcase - Notes and photos from Auvergne and Paris

Jan 24th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Isn't Hypocras that medieval (think medicinal) liqueur they tout at all the castles in the Dordogne? Tastes kind of like wood stain but doesn't go down as smoothly? Yes, once is enough!
StCirq is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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Loved your stuff on the churches and will look out for the book. I've been to Notre Dame du Port, Orcival and Ste Nectiare. Must put the others on my list. Thanks again. Yes, put this on the new Trip Report Board.
gertie3751 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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What a great report but leaves me wondering where to go? My wife and I are still working at age 55 and love to go to Europe for 15-20 days each year,at least for the last 5 years. We always seem to have a worldwind tour and come back exausted and wishing for more time, jobs don't allow. This year we are planning at least one week in one place, looking at Southern France. Been looking at a house in Provence in L'Isle sur La Sorgue. We would like to travel during the day eat lunch out and cook dinner each night, much as you describe. The region you describe also sounds great and is slightly cheaper. thanks again for the enjoyable report.
StephenG is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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StCirq, that's the stuff. I looked it up on the web and found out it contains cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and rose petals. It may be an acquired taste, but I don't aim to experiment any further.

gertie, so St-Saturnin and Issoire are the two you'll want to see. Issoire is particularly interesting as the interior was painted in the 19th century. It's a bit of a shock when you first go in, but it is actually very striking. Issoire also has symbols of the zodiac around the chevet.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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StephenG, I was just talking to my wife about the difference in costs between Provence and the Auvergne. Thinking it over, we agree that the Auvergne is probably a little bit less expensive.

Food, fuel, and car rental rates are probably pretty close to what you'd pay elsewhere in rural France, but we felt our hotel in Clermont-Ferrand was less expensive than a comparable one in, say, Avignon, which is a city we are familiar with. So too was the house we rented, although there are fewer on offer in Auvergne.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 01:00 AM
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Fabulous report, Anslem, thank you. It makes me want to visit this area soon.
Keren is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 03:09 PM
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I have crossed the Auvergne but never really stopped. After your report I feel we should give it a try. We welcome your attendance as cook! The meals sound wonderful, the more so as I am dieting to prepare for our planned 3 weeks in Italy in March. See you soon in Ottawa.
tedgale is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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Oh, lovely! This report is so evocative, it gives a feeling of recognition to one who's never visited the region! (And it also gives ideas for my 10th-anniversary trip next year.)

I'm with Mathieu and TexasAggie and gertie--this is well-suited for a "Featured Trip Report"--just the sort of travel one wants to read about!

smalti is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 09:42 PM
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Lovely report and pictures, thanks for posting.

Appreciate your notes on the Marais as I'll be staying in that quartier for the first time next trip.

luveurop is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:05 AM
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smalti, I see you found it! Thanks to you and others for the comments.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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KarenKM is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:07 AM
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So glad someone brought this to the top again. I totally enjoyed re-reading it and loking the gorgeous pictures
jody is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 10:38 PM
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Topping this for others who might be like me and researching the Auvergne for my next trip.

I have only been as far north as Le Puy-en-Velay and west towards Collonges la Rouges and Conques. If I understand St. Nectaire is divided between high and low town? Is one more desireable as a visitor coming especially for Romanesque architecture?

If just passing through in one day, could Issoire give an overview/taste of the real Auvergne, or do you need to go to the smaller villages for that?

Loved your pictures Anselm! Thanks for sharing and looking forward to comments/suggestions.
klondike is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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Hi Klondike.

St-Nectaire is indeed split between two levels. The lower town is spread out along D996, and thatís where youíll find the spa, hotels, shops, restaurants, and, of course, places that sell St-Nectaire cheese. The Romanesque church is on the upper level, which you can reach from below, either by walking up a steep path or driving up a road. You can get a pretty good idea of the layout if you look at the 28th photo on the PBase gallery (the one titled ďSt-NectaireĒ). Itís an aerial view of the upper village; you can see a parking lot beside the church and the village off to the right. The lower town is immediately to the left of the church; the trees hide the steep drop-off.

We didnít find Issoire as attractive as several of the other towns and villages we visited. This is due, I think, to geography: Issoire lies on a gently rolling plain. Itís pretty, but nowhere near as dramatic as the volcanic uplands to the west. (If you look at a map, the most interesting terrain is west of a line connecting Clermont-Ferrand and Champeix. Alternatively, look for the boundaries of the Parc Régional des Volcans to get an idea of where the best mountains are.) The big attraction in Issoire is the church. The exterior is finely proportioned and decorated with mosaics depicting the signs of the zodiac. The interior is painted, a 19th century modification that for once adds to rather than subtracts from the beauty.

If you have time to stroll through villages, our favourites were Orcival (with another beautiful church), Besse-en-Chandesse, and St-Saturin (also with a church). Take a look, too, at those driving routes I suggested above. We found the scenery delightful. Our only regret is that we didnít have time to explore further afield.

How long will you be in that area?

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 08:47 PM
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Anselm: unfortunately, just for a night passing through on our way to our gîte outside of Pézénas. We leave Paris 10:00 am on 8-23 (Saturday) and can take possession of the house Sunday after 12 and have it for a week.

As we are well familiar with the gîte already, we don't need to arrive much before bed time if we so choose. We also aren't against arriving a day late at the gîte if we fell in love with the Auvergne and wanted to spend an extra day--we did that mid-week last time by spending the night spontaneously at Collioure. No baggage; just us-and it ended up being a memorable highlight of the trip...so we are flexible as long as lodging can be found.

We just scratched the surface of Le Puy-en-Velay last time and I look forward to seeing this area more in the future.
klondike is offline  
Jan 31st, 2008, 04:07 AM
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Ah, I understand now ... you'll be driving south on the A71.

Yes, Issoire would be an easy stopping point. Exit 13 would probably be best, just follow the signs for centre-ville. You'll cross a bridge over a little river as you enter the old part of the city. Turn right after the bridge onto boul Triozon-Bayle (you can follow signs for the Gare SNCF) and the church will soon be on your left. I had no trouble finding a parking spot along there.

And then, if you feel you have time to wander, you can drive west from Issoire into the volcanic uplands.

Safe travels, and enjoy Languedoc.

AnselmAdorne is offline  

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