Exploring (and eating) in the Auvergne, France

The Auvergne is so beautiful and welcoming that you feel homesick for it, even after only a single visit. Here's how I fell in love with this volcanic region of France on a research trip for @lonelyplanet

  1. I set out with high hopes and wasn't disappointed by the dramatic architecture of Clermont-Ferrand and the staggering views of the volcanoes from the Panoramique des Domes. But that said, my transport hadn't gone smoothly...
  2. As soon as one thing is late, your planned itinerary spirals further and further off course...
  3. But there was an unexpected bonus to arriving late at the Puy de Dome. The light was beginning to turn golden with the twilight.
  4. Another chaotic drive later (thanks, sat-nav) and I rested up in the friendly village of Orcival, and was greeted with this view the next day:
  5. The eye-candy only got better. First there was a ramble in the lush meadows around Orcival, and then rustling up a meal with the plants we gathered. Yes, really, I managed not to poison myself, thanks for the mind-boggling knowledge of local nature guide Christophe.
  6. Eating edible flowers and plants with the experts near Orcival, Auvergne
    Eating edible flowers and plants with the experts near Orcival, Auvergne
  7. And then it was off to find the glacier-carved wonders of Sanadoire. The views got better...
  8. ...and better.
  9. Though my expertise navigating winding mountain roads did not.
  10. I'd hiked trails, I'd rambled lakes, I'd photographed natural beauty spots... hefty mountain nosh was to be my reward. La truffade is a seriously cheesey and carb-tastic dish. And you know it wouldn't be the only one I had during this trip.
  11. Somehow all that cheese didn't weigh me down, and I managed to hike some of the perilous peaks in the Sancy the next day. Jaw-dislocatingly good views.
  12. And though lovely, this view is "Hell Valley", known for avalanches in winter. #Sancy #Auvergne… http://t.co/lOVpy8ZZZw
    And though lovely, this view is "Hell Valley", known for avalanches in winter. #Sancy #Auvergne http://instagram.com/p/tcfK8WLh7V/ 
  13. And despite my usual luck with spotting wildlife, the fauna was coming out to play in the sunshine. Marvellous.
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