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Sunday 19th June 2022

After our Parisian wanderings we boarded a train to Clermont-Ferrand - partly inspired by a BBC programme entitled Secret France hosted by chef Rick Stein. We wanted to find new pastures in France in which to taste the local food - and wines.

It was a 3.5 hour journey followed by a walk in the heat to the hotel - we were right at the back of the train, and by the time we emerged from the station not a taxi was to be found! (Google Maps also sent us on a bit of a wild goose chase). The Oceania Hotel is rather lovely (with great aircon!) for two nights. I'm not going to be staying in such sumptuous accommodation throughout my travels but this was much appreciated.

Unfortunately the hotel restaurant was closed, and it appeared that most Clermont itself was shut on a Sunday night!! However, TripAdvisor sent us to a restaurant close by that offered very good steaks (with a fab blue cheese sauce) and of course frites - PLUS a very good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I know you want to see the steak...

A large pre-booked group of Germans from our hotel showed up and so the restaurant did rather well out of us!

Clermont is the birthplace of Blaise Pascal - physicist, mathematician, philosopher and more - and indeed it was his "birthday" (he was born in 1623) and so we raised a glass to him. He is generally known as one of the "fathers" of modern computing as he invented the mechanical calculator.

Clermont does seem incredibly quiet on a Sunday night! It is a university city and so maybe most of the students have left for the summer break.

We had a relatively early night and considered our plans for making the most of Clermont before we head for Lyon on Tuesday.

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