on to the coal mine town, decazeville
After a two day rest at the Auberge Saint-Jacques in Conques, I headed to Decazaville, 21km away. Walking down Rue Charlemagne and then under the Porte du Barry, I crossed an old pilgrim bridge and began climbing.
DAY 11 de Conques à Decazeville (maybe 20km) sur Le Chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.
Soon I reached the Chapelle Sainte-Foy, a pilgrimage church on the valley wall. Nearby are waters that may (or may not) cure eye complaints. If only the day was clear I might have been able to look back and see Conques.
I walked to Noailhac. I chose this route, this variant, because I wanted to see the Chapelle Saint-Roch. After a climb, passing several crosses, maybe 13, lining the path at short intervals, I arrive at the last cross, Via Crucis, and a picnic area.
In the vestibule of the Chapelle, built in 1884, I ate lunch. Above me in the tympanum looking down was a statue of a saint. I felt safe and comfortable.
Continuing the climb, I finally reached the top and was treated to a clearer day and a panoramic view.
‘Man, moved spiritually by the mysterious and solemn calm of this poetical hour, likes to contemplate the the sky; he may then discover in the clouds giants and towers and all the brilliant fantasies of his exalted imagination.’ Becoming lost in the clouds, making us dream, ‘their [clouds] rapid passage plunges our soul into the most profound philosophical meditations. . . .Man has in his heart a secret and slender thread that binds him so closely to all part of nature.’ “Les nuages,” Contre Sainte-Beuve par Marcel Proust
I reach Decazeville, once having the largest opencast coal mine in Europe. I refuse to say anything unkind about Decazeville. I find my hotel, Hôtel Foulquier, and stay the night.