Day 1: La Gabie – Montredon

View above Decazeville

La Gabie to Montredon

It was eight o’clock in the evening. Our train from Toulouse raced through green fields under a majestic sky colored with shades of gray and white. We felt happy. It was Saturday and we were a day late but we made it.  The loss of one day forced us to give up regretfully the part between Conques to La Gabie. I was terribly miserable because I longed to return to Conques but it was clear to both of us that since all nights were booked ahead we will need to stick to our schedule. We decided that at least we’ll find a way to visit the cathedral. Yet, we didn’t have even a clue how are we going to get to Conques so we decided to sleep on this problem . 

La Gabie

A rainstorm began as our host, Ben, picked us up from Villefrance- de -rourgier. It took another 45 minutes to arrive to La Gabie but it was worth it. The B&B is located in an old renovated house surrounded by trees. On arrival, all that we expected was to take off our shoes and have a rest. We were tired from the long day that included a flight, a train and a long distance drive in the rain. The guest room was rather cold but beautiful and comfortable and the huge bed invited us to curl up and fall asleep. The next morning Ben prepared a nice breakfast and then we parted and set out – at last we were again on the Camino, starting from La Gabie to Montredon.

Decazeville to Livinhac le haut

As if to remind us of the effort we are facing, as soon as we left the B&B we began climbing up the mountain. Luckily,the short climb in cool weather made it easy to walk and find the right pace.  Two kilometers and we soon arrived to the summit and enjoyed the green valley and the view of the church of Decazeville . A quick descent and we were in Decazeville. Foolishly, ignoring the fact that it’s a Sunday, we decided against buying food, thinking there would soon be another place. During the next half an hour we walked uphill on a path near the fields. Suddenly, not far from us we recognized some movement and two deer appeared among the wheat. They stood up and raised their heads and quickly broke into hops to the other side of the field where they stood to graze. It was a pleasant surprise for the morning and a good opening for our trip. Soon we arrived to Saint Roch. From there it was a slippery ,muddy descent on a path between trees and the yellow blossom of the thorny broom, which brought us down to the Lot river and the bridge that leads to Livinhac Le Haut. 

Livinhac Le Haut

From the new bridge one can see the remains of the beautiful ancient bridge. We stood, looking at the quiet waters of the river and then we crossed and entered the city searching for  lunch. It was past two o’clock. I was  starving but it seemed that everything in the little city (including the church which was going through some renovation) is close. Luckily , just near the church there was an open bar and we had a nice lunch and a rest.

Livinhac le haut to Montredon

It felt nice and warm when we left the bar (or maybe it was the beer) and we enjoyed walking slowly. The way began to mount and we followed the GR65 as it curled aside the fields. When we stopped for a rest, a woman we had seen earlier in the bar appeared up the path. Susan, from the United States, is walking alone and intending to walk all the way in sequence. We enjoyed walking together when the sky suddenly changed color, a wind began to blow and heavy rain poured over us. We hurriedly wear our windbreakers only to discover five minutes later that it was a false alarm. The sun shone again. The way climbed up mildly and it was less then an hour to  Montredon. Just before the village there is an observation point with a big cross and an interesting explanation regarding the three villages nearby. We entered Saint Michel. The  Neo Gothic church was built between 1876 and 1883 but it replaced an older building that bore the same dedication to Saint-Michel. From the church we continued down the road to our guest house – La Mariotte.

La Mariotte

We walked only 14 kilometers today and felt that it was just the right distance – we felt tired but not exhausted. Jacky, the owner of La Mariotte, greeted us at the entrance and beside him, a surprise awaited us- Susan, whom we met an hour earlier, sat with her friend Debora. We removed shoes with great relief, put the clothes we needed for the night into a plastic box ( the bag was left at the entrance in order to reduce the risk of ticks entering the house). The room has basic but with comfortable beds and views of a red sunset and green fields. After a pampering shower we went down to meet the other guests. The group that sat in the evening for a delicious meal (three tasty dishes prepared by Jacky) was cheerful and multilingual. Susan and Deborah in English and a married couple from Provence in fluent French. Tired of the wine, the food, and the way we got into bed at eleven and fell asleep in a moment.

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