24-Jun-2005 -- I visited this confluence with fortunate timing while heading south to stay with friends in the Cévennes. The journey started with a roadside picnic with fresh bread and Cantal cheese, continued with a quick visit to the Cantal mountains and a cable car ride up Plomb de Cantal, the highest peak in this volcanic range. Unlike the previous visitors I did not have a bike, so it was an easy journey cross country via Murat and the villages of Ussel, Valuéjols, and Alleuzet, finally parking near a stone cross in rich farmland some 250m from the confluence.
The timing was good,as a hay crop had just been cut, a few days earlier it would not be possible to get any closer as there would have been standing crops between the confluence and the road.
This area of the Auvergne is flattish and cultivated. Known as the Planèze it is relatively rich farmland and used for rasing cattle, the hay crop being their winter feed. It is a high plain, the confluence being at just over 1000m above sea level. It is part of the Massif Central, a huge area of high land that occupies southern central France. The edges fall away in deep gorges, but it is mostly rolling flat high land, the good soils on the volcanic rocks supporting agriculture, the poorer land on acidic schists and granites forested. The basalts here originated in the Cantal mountains to the west, remnants of a vast caldera. The area is quiet now but there are still hot springs.
Ths site itself was in the second field from the road, accessed by rolling under the barbed wire fences. The hay had been dried and was baled in the modern fashion as big round bales. In my farming days we baled small bales that were stacked by hand,transported on a trailer and then hand stacked in a barn,lifted on a pikle or pitchfork. a hard labouring job that required help from volunteers from the village, now these bales can be easily moved by machine. They are so big that they dont need to be kept in a barn, and are sometimes left