Wednesday, January 31, 2007

20 December 2006 First Week in Clermont-Ferrand

It's hard to believe that only a little more than a week has elapsed since I arrived in Clermont-Ferrand, France. I arrived Saturday, 9 December, after a six-hour flight from Montréal and a four-hour drive from Paris. My son and family live in the old city, meaning that some of the buildings date from the 13th century.
The town is surrounded by wooded hillsides, most of which were volcanoes. There are, in fact, hundreds of extinct volcanoes in the region, covered with grass and benign-looking, giving no hint to the terror they must have caused to the human and animal residents of the time.
At the top of the tallest of these volcanoes is a Roman temple, now in ruins, but once a huge and impressive edifice. Negotiations are taking place between the provincial and national governments for complete restoration of the temple. Given that governments the world over move with glacier speed when it comes to deciding who will invest the most money in a project, it will be lucky if my great-great grandchildren will see the restoration realised.


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