We arrive back to find that two of our favourite restaurants have changed.

La Restaurant de la Marie in Sauxillanges has changed hands. After 42 years, the Fontbonnes have moved on. Emilie and Denis Leclaire have changed the name to La Table St Martin.  We look forwards to our first visit. Here’s La Montagne’s report on their arrival, they don’t have a website yet but do have a Facebook page.

Le P’tit Resau constantly scores as the top restaurant in Issoire on Tripadvisor, and deservedly.  No change in the people here – but they’ve moved! Their original premises in Rue du Pont just off the Place de la Republique was very small, only room for four or five tables inside and a couple on the pavement. They have moved to a larger location on Avenue de la Gare, (The Hotel de la Parc) just opposite the main station, we will be visiting soon to make sure the menu has survived the move!

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Motorcycling in France – Update for 2016

The Auvergne has some smashing biking roads, heck, even our motorways are twisty!

Bikers are welcome at La Verrerie. We have hard-standing areas you can park bikes alongside the house, away from the road, solid concrete surface. Happy to suggest routes and destinations!

We would like to draw your attention to some new regulations now in force, especially the yellow jacket requirement that has now come to bikes as well as cars, and can result in an instant fine if you don’t have one, or, if you break down or stop at the side of the road, you don’t put it on at once! There’s also a requirement for hi-vis reflective stickers on helmets.

Lots more information here.


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Spring 2014

As of the end of April 2014, we finally have the new roof on Gite 1. Gite 2’s roof was done a couple of years ago. So that should, touch wood, mean both are good for another 150 years of keeping the rain out!

We’re also making some minor tweaks around the property, those who have been before may notice the differences but nothing affects the overall situation, so the layout plans of the gites, etc., all stay the same.

One difference you may appreciate is that we have had TV aerials put up – we will be adding set top boxes, so both gites should now be able to receive UK and French TV channels.

After an unexpectedly mild winter, the pool had decided to emulate a duck pond, and it was something of a nightmare to get it clean and “happy” and looking like somewhere you might actually want to swim, but we managed it!

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Summer 2013 news

Roads into Sauxillanges from the direction of Issiore are undergoing some works, widening some sections and smoothing out a few of the tighter bends. This work isn’t causing significant delays (touch wood) but does involve Single Alternate Lane traffic at times so allow an extra couple of minutes if you’re rushing to meet a train/plain/curtain-up.

I suspect this work is not unrelated to the new supermarket being built in Sauxillanges. This is going up on the Issoire side of town. It’s a larger “8-a-huit” and will have a 24/24 petrol pump. The supermarket in town will close (all the staff have jobs at the new one!) This should reduce the traffic congestion caused by parking in the narrowest part of town – hopefully it won’t impact the bakers, butchers, and bars, as the french typically like to use individual shops for those products anyway!! Work is well under way on this though I can’t guess when it will be completed. Until it is, the existing store remains open.

Remember, despite the name, it shuts at 7, and for lunch. And monday mornings. It is open on Sunday morning, however, I can’t guess if that will remain the case for the new shop.

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Spring 2013

The mountains as seen from the garden at, Spring 2013

The mountains as seen from the garden at, Spring 2013

Spring was late starting in the Auvergne this year like it was all over Europe. Much more snow on the mountains much later than usual.

But, as usual, once the sun comes out, you can appreciate the view of the snowy mountains whilst sitting by the pool in a t-shirt and shorts.

The air is always very clear in spring, so long as it’s not raining or foggy, so the view of the mountains 60 miles away is fabulous – you can almost count the skiers!

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Breathaliser – update

It appears that the latest version of the “breathalyser” law is now in place. It is now compulsory to carry (at least) two “single-user” breath test devices in the car with you, this applies to holidaymakers as well as residents. However, according to this article, it looks as if there will be no actual fine for not having one.

For a quiet life, I would suggest you get a couple.

Ours was €3 for a pair from Carrefour. I dare-say the ferry companies will charge a premium but hopefully not a massive one. I would guess but can’t comment that they will also start to appear in motorway service areas alongside power adapters and phone chargers.

Note also that they have a “blow before” date on the side. Not sure if the bobbies would notice you had an expired one, but… you were warned! 🙂




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DIY Breathaliser rule – revisited

It looks like the rules introduce last year, then delayed, that you should have two disposable breath test kits in your car, have been deferred even further, as apparently it’s still proving difficult for motorists to obtain the kits.  More info here. 

We of course bought our kit last summer, when we found no difficulty, Carrefour had hundreds of them. Grr.

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A new look

We’ve spent much of our time at La Verrerie in 2012 re-painting the shutters. We’ve gone for a darker blue. We’ve not done the doors and window frames to match yet so just think of it as a “contrasting” colour scheme.

The house at La Verrerie viewed from the garden. A fantastic place for your self-catering holiday in the Puy de Dome area of the Auvergne.

The house at La Verrerie with new shutter colours and the creeper now up to the roof line! Click on the photo for a full-sized view.

With the significant growth of the creeper up the walls and the ivy up the buttress in the last couple of years, and the new colour scheme, the house looks quite different from the earlier photos on the website.

The shrubs and trees around the top bank of the lawn have also grown considerably of late, and in the last couple of years the walnut tree adjacent to the terrace of Gite 2 has been adding nuts to the ample supply we already get each October from the large tree by the BBQ shelter.

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You may or may not be aware that from June of this year it will be mandatory to carry in your car a breath tester. I bet these will cost a lot from UK sources esp if you leave it until you get to the ferry port. I’m given to understand, I’m looking for information to confirm this, that there’s no fine for failing to carry one until November, so the best bet may be to travel without one and grab one at the first service station once in France. But don’t take my word for it!

I also ponder that, as with spare bulbs, you probably need to carry two, otherwise, if you use one, you are immediately in breach of the rules for not having one (any more).

I hope everyone is already aware of the rules requiring you to carry a HiVis vest for each person in the car, which should be readily accessible so you can get it BEFORE you get out of the car, in the event of a breakdown or crash.  Again, these can be quite expensive from the port shop – I get mine from Mammoth, basic vests (sufficient for the regulation) are under a fiver, or if you prefer, nice quilted hi-vis bomber jackets around twenty. Check the link…

Mini-rant, I think we should have compulsory hi-vis in this country too. And for cyclists. Last night I saw a walker in the road 50 yards away, and a few minutes nearly hit a cyclist who had no lights, and no hi-vis, his bright orange but not reflective pullover was no better than a dark coat, and only the hit of a flicker from his pedal reflectors meant I saw him before “emergency braking” would have been required. Last year, I had a similar incident with a dog walker, dark coat, gloves, black dog – the dog had a hi-vis collar, otherwise they might as well have been invisible.

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Petrol and Diesel Price website

Visit this site to find out what the cheapest fuel is in your area – or you can put in details of a forthcoming journey and it’ll work out the most economical places to fill up as you travel.


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