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Espalion - A travel report by VK
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Espalion,  France - flag France -  Auvergne
8561 readers

spaceout's travel reports

Castle and Diving Suits

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Espalion travelogue picture
Espalion is a small town hosting numerous attraction. The most impressive are the Chateau de Calmont D`Olt and then the museum of Joseph Vaylet. The town was very quiet when we got there. A small cafe on Boulvard Poulenc was open, yet almost empty, probably because we got there after the rush of the tourist season. Sandwiched between the Church of St-Hilarion and the Musee Joseph Vaylet, we ate some cheese and drank warm coffee. The cafe was decored with an assortment of knick-knacks, and they also sold old postcards, the cardboard yellowed with age.

Favourite spots:
Espalion travelogue picture
We strolled in the narrow cobblestone streets. The weather beaten houses stood silent. We didn`t encounter anyone although we did find a tiny park which consisted of one park bench, bushes and four high colums (probably dating from the Roman era, as there has been a lot of Roman influence in these parts). There was no indication anywhere, even in our guide book, of from where, how and when these colums become.

What's really great:
Espalion travelogue picture
We drove up the hill, where we could see the ruins of the Chateau de Calmont D`Olt (castle of the 11th century). The grounds were closed to the public as were arrived there off season, but we did have a marvelous view of Espallion from there. We couldn`t see the castle ground well, since it is surrounded by a high wooden fence, and also because parts of the castle was covered with tarps, probably for renovations. The dirt winding road was surrounded by a few abandonned small houses, seemingly from the same age as the castle itself, and everywhere we found chesnut trees.

(On the left is a picture of the entrance to the Bastille. Although it looks open, it is actually closed to visitors. The `rock`in the background is part of the castle ruin)

Espalion travelogue picture
There are two main church in Espalion. One is hidden in the `background`of the town. After following a narrow dirt road, we found it sitting by a small brook. All was quiet around, and the church was closed, therefore we didn`t visit nor were we able to get the story of this small yet impressive building. That Church is actually build in the roman style, with only one bell in the four arches which consist the large, flat spire of the small building.
The second Church is on the main street and is called St-Hilarion, also dating from the 11th century. Two spires reach for the sky, and atop the narrow towers are two statues of saints reaching out. Four clocks are set in each spire. Great details were taken to adorn St-Hilarion, which include numerous statues of saints outside and inside. The statue of St-Hilarion himself is also on display.

Other recommendations:
Espalion travelogue picture
The Musee of Joseph Vaylet also in the main area of the town, is where you`ll discover some interesting artifacts. Outside the museum is an odd art piece in honor of the `Scaphandre.` This town is home of the first `Scaphandre`(diving suit). If you do stop in this town, you`ll wonder like me, how they actually thought of developing diving gear as the water ways don`t seem deep enough for the need to dive.

(Shown on the left side is a map of the castle ground)

Published on Thursday December 11th, 2003

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