End of October 2018 we are on the road again. Our target is Spain. Clermont-Ferrand is located at about half the distance between Basel and the Pyrenées. We selected Pontgibaud close to the motorway to stay overnight. We discovered a nice small hotel and a nice small town stretched along the Sioule river. It counts some 800 inhabitants.
The Hotel de la Poste has just opened, because the owner expects spontaneous guests that get stuck in the snow announced. It snowed slightly, when we arrived.
We have dinner – I eat braised calf cheek – a plain and excellent meal.
In the morning, we find the sky covered, but there is no snowfall. We walk around the small town built using the black volcanic stones of the area . The dormant volcanos called “Puy” are not far. This is the townhall or hotel de ville ornated with the black volcanic stone.
This house with its watch tower has been built in the 15th century.
In pre-Roman, Roman and medieval times, lead was retrieved in the area. This might have been the reason for fortifying the town and buliding the castle (Source: Städtische Wirtschaft im Mittelalter). The inhabitants of Pontgibaud are called Gibaldipontins.
From the town fortification, the city gate is left.
Across the gate starts the park of the Castle.
The Castle was built in the 12th and 15th century.
The park – now slightly powdered with snow – overlooks the small town with the church Saint Benoît from the 13th century.
We say good-bye to this friendly small town and leave for the Val d’Aran in the Pyrenées. After having arrived in the Pyrenées in the evening, we hear that in Clermont-Ferrand traffic had been halted by a heavy blizzard. Good for the Hotel de la Poste at Pontgibaud that might now be full of guests that got stuck in the blizzard and decided to stop their journey.