The Ballards - France Aubusson


We visited Aubusson, in the centre of France (in an area known as The Limousin) in the Summer of 2002, to rent a Gite with a pool.
We took bikes strapped to the back of our Volvo, and over the fortnight various groups of friends stayed in the Gite (which slept 22) including a family who were thinking of buying the Gite (they didn't, and we stayed with them the following year in the Gite they did buy in The Dordogne).

The gite was large and comfortably appointed, with a huge garden and pool. The way life was meant to be lived...

The local villages were small and private, great for cycling around, even if the hills were hard work. Still, with all that local cheese and bread, you needed something to work off the calories!

Aubusson is a pretty, unspoiled town, with lovely traditional architecture unspoiled by the normal 20s/30s Art Deco, 50s Modernist or 60s glass and steel monstrosities, as it would have been in England. In my opinion, all post-war architects up to about 1980 should atone for their sins...

The neighbouring town of Felletin showed the same beauty and had a great market.

This part of France has beautiful scenery and, despite the common belief in England that the French are spoiled and unfriendly, we found everyone to be friendly and generous. You had to try and speak French, mind you, but that's fine. My French is crap, but after a few pastis it improves...

So, what's the conclusion?

This most untouristy part of 'La France Profonde' is an undiscovered and unspoilt gem full of lovely scenery and quiet roads.

Aubusson turned out to be the last analogue camera outing: after we returned I bought my first digital camera and put the OM-2 in the cupboard for the last time.
No more "37 exposures per roll" and having to pay for every exposure.
The end of an era: a bit sad really, but I sold the cameras well at a car boot sale.