6 Cool Things to Do In The Deep Heart of France This Fall

Autumn in the Auvergne Autumn is not just a physically beautiful phenomenon in the deep heart of France – although the rich colors of the leaves and tendrils of wood smoke rising from chimneys do give it the quality of a fine Renoir painting.  It’s also part of the annual rhythm of life here – work hard all year, leave for vacations in August, then come back charged up and ready to attack again after the rentrée in early September.  That’s reflected in the number of events and programmed activities you’ll find at this time of the year in central France.  Here’s a round-up of 6 of the most interesting things to do this fall in the Auvergne region. 1. […]

Montlucon Bourbonnais Auvergne

Montluçon – Medieval Home of the Bourbon Dukes

A Saturday Afternoon Event A wedding is about to start when I arrive in Montluçon on a humid Saturday afternoon.  The church – the Eglise Saint Pierre – was built in the 12th century, so I do the math.  If you assume 1 wedding a week (and that’s probably estimating on the low side), that means more than a thousand couples have gotten married here over the centuries – and this is only one of several significant churches in town. A family crowd is gathered in the little square by the main doors of the church.  The bride, her train held off the cobblestones by a teenage girl, is being tended by her mother, who’s wearing a long black gown […]

MuPoP in Montlucon is a must for music lovers

If you’re a musician – or someone who loves music – you should get out of Paris for a day and head south to MuPop , the Museum of Popular Music in Montluçon. (And yes, I know there’s enormous competition for your time, attention and money when you’re traveling in France.  Trust me, though – this is worth the day away from the capital!) MuPop is an exceptionally well-curated collection of instruments, songs, and stories about musicians from the past 200 years or so.  You’re given a set of headphones at the entrance, with a simple point-and-choose control to let you listen to what you’re seeing.  In each of the exhibits of musical instruments there are good demonstrations of how […]