22 March 2019

Deux villages en Auvergne : Le Monastier et Goudet

We put our recent trip to the Auvergne region together very quickly, and at the last minute. My birthday was approaching, and I suddenly felt like doing something different that week. We arrived at the gîte we'd rented at Le Puy-en-Velay armed with a Michelin Green Guide, and with internet access linking us to Wikipédia and other sites and pages.

This is the Château de Beaufort, which looms over the village of Goudet in the Haute-Loire.

One excursion I had read about in the Michelin Guide would take us south to places named Goudet, Arlempdes, and Pradelles, three villages on the banks of the Loire river headwaters. We headed south in the car on Wednesday, March 6, heading toward a little mountain town called Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille (pop. 1,800). The drive took much longer than we thought it would because the roads were so narrow and winding.

The Château de Beaufort stands as ruins on top of a big rock.

When we finally got to Le Monastier, it was gusty and rainy, the sky was leaden, and we even saw a few snowflakes. I had read on one web site that Wednesday was market day in Le Monastier, and that it was a very picturesque market that has been a weekly event since the year 1495. Also, I'd read that the Monastérois (the locals) speak a distinctive dialect that I wanted to hear in person.

Tiny Goudet is located on the tiny Loire River in the Haute-Loire département of Auvergne.

Upon arrival, we saw a big sign that said Le Monastier's open-air market sets up on Tuesdays, not Wednesdays, so we were out of luck. We didn't even get out of the car. We just drove around in the rain for a few minutes and then continued on our way. Later, the owners of the gîte where we were staying said I probably wouldn't have heard the dialect spoken anyway, because it has pretty much died out.

The mighty Loire River doesn't look quite so majestic up near its source.

The next village I wanted to see is called Goudet (pop. 59 — not a typo). One of the reasons I wanted to see it is that on of the main landmarks in Goudet is the Château de Beaufort. Since my home county in North Carolina, Carteret Country, has the town of Beaufort as its county seat, I wanted see and take pictures of Beaufort Castle on the Loire River. It was built in the 1200s, and it's now in ruins.

Goudet is a "starry village" — the street lights are turned off at night so residents and visitors can enjoy good sky views.
Here are some of those photos. If you start traveling along the Loire River from its source, heading toward Le Puy, Beaufort is the second château you see along the way, after the one at Arlempdes. More about that to come...

There's at least one hotel in Goudet if you want to spend the night there.


  1. IIRC, after I was in Le Puy in 1954, I was headed East towards the gorges de l'Ardèche and pont d'Arc (the famous Chauvet cave wasn't discovered yet!), and further down to Grasse, on the Côte d'Azur.

    All this to say that I know practically nothing to the near south of Le Puy. These small villages look very nice and the mountainous landscape is very attractive.

    Is that bridge on photos 1and 3 built on piles or on existing rocks? I like it.

    The Beaufort chateau, or what's left of it, looks very impressive. Too bad the weather wasn't cooperating.

    1. The bridge over the Loire at Goudet was built on pilings, but I imagine that the pilings stand on rock. The weather was much better down at Loire level at Goudet and Arlempdes that day than up on the heights of Le Monastier.

  2. The ruins make for a good photo.

  3. Nice! What is the white window covering in the one hotel? Blinds or ???

    1. Those are roll-down shutters. They might be made of plastic or of aluminum. We have them on our house, and they're solar-powered, so all we have to do is push a button to roll them down or back up.


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