A weekend in Cantal - In Photos

Posted on 05. Sep, 2012 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, France, Photo Posts, Press Trips

To wrap up this series on my press trip in Cantal, I couldn’t think of a better solution than a photo essay. Not because I don’t have anything to say about Cantal.

I do.

In fact I always have something to say, about pretty much everything. Ask my husband!

But somehow I feel like no words could possibly give justice to this incredibly beautiful but sadly often forgotten region of rural France. Whether you’re into volcanoes, breathtaking scenery, hiking, cheese tasting, hearty meals or medieval villages, you are certain to find more than you bargained for in Cantal, and never in a bad way. Without further ado, here are my best photos of Cantal.

Marcoles

Cheeky sign in Marcoles

I loved this sign too much not to take a photo of it. Cute but straight to the point!

“Help! Shut your engines, even for one minute! The smells coming from your muffler go straight into my house, and I much prefer the smell of roses. Merci!”

The beautiful Saint-Etienne-Cantales lake

La Petite Librairie in Aurillac

The Cantal way of serving cheese

That was one of my discoveries thing during the trip - how the Cantal restaurants serve cheese during dessert. It’s not a plate of randomly chosen cheeses that’s brought to you from the kitchen. It’s quite the opposite, actually. The waiter comes to your table with a huge plate of all kinds of cheeses (but mostly local ones - Salers, Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Bleu d’Auvergne and such) and you just point at the ones you want to taste, et voilà.

It’s kind of weird at first, because of the typical North American obsession of refrigerating cheese and rejecting everything that’s not pasteurized, but French cheeses are actually at their best served at room temperature.

Also possibly at their smelliest - but what’s French cheese without its smell, right?

The most picturesque spot in Aurillac

Aurillac

The beautiful scenery in Salers

Salers was definitely a highlight of the trip. Not only is it incredibly old, it was extremely well taken care of throughout the years and the historical center is almost intact today. Add to that gorgeous green mountains all around, and buildings made out of black volcanic stone and you have a recipe for success. Definitely one of the most beautiful villages I’ve seen in France so far.

Salers at night is surprisingly lively

Another cute street of Salers

A touch of Gustave Eiffel in Cantal - Viaduc de Garabit

La ferme aux fromages

And last but not least, La ferme aux fromages, run by Martine and her husband. They are the proud owners of this land, and more than happy to share their knowledge and love of cheeses to the visitor. There are three parts to the visit - the surprisingly interesting farming museum, that explains how machinery changed the industry completely. Then you get to walk around the different buildings, meet with super cute locals and understand all the methods they use throughout the year. And finally, the best part - the cheese tasting!

One of the super cute locals.

I really, really loved my trip in Cantal. And considering I live just a few hours away in Auvergne, I know for sure that I will be back sooner rather than later. For Cantal is one of the most underrated French departments, and yet one of the most interesting, truly connected to nature and committed to high quality, both in the people and the products.

So, when are you coming to join me?

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Atout France and Tourisme Auvergne on this trip. As always, all opinions are my own.

Have you ever been to Cantal? Would this be a region you’d include on your next French getaway?

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15 Responses to “A weekend in Cantal - In Photos”

  1. Angela

    05. Sep, 2012

    Beautiful place, I LOVE the cheeky sign and the cute local ;)

    Reply to this comment
  2. melodie

    06. Sep, 2012

    Super! Le cantal et le st-nectaire sont probablement mes fromages français préférés. Juste pour ça, je visiterais cette région. Et pour voir le tit-mouton, qui donne de la concurrence aux moutons écossais !

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      12. Sep, 2012

      C’est vraiment adorable comme région. Je recommende fortement!

      Reply to this comment
  3. mmmmmmm smelly cheeses - Im hungry now!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Abby

    10. Sep, 2012

    Lol I always love your animal pics! And that stunning first photo… What a view.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Laurence

    11. Sep, 2012

    The only reason I know the Cantal region at all is because we eat cheese from there for lunch most days :) Thanks for giving me a bit more of an insight ;)

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      12. Sep, 2012

      They do have the best cheeses. I’m a sucker for Salers!

      Reply to this comment
  6. Patrice

    11. Sep, 2012

    Very nice essay Marie !

    If interesting to you, you can have a look at my panoramic pictures, including a lot taken in my native Cantal ! (and some from Canada where I lived 8 years) !

    http://beijaflor.zenfolio.com/p737163770

    Reply to this comment
  7. I’ve never heard of this part of France, but it sounds wonderful and looks beautiful.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Aggy - DEW

    23. Sep, 2012

    What a cute local!
    I loooove French towns, they are always so pretty. Would love to visit Cantal one day when I’m back in France!

    Reply to this comment

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