The dark cloud and the rain didn’t stop us. Determined to get the most pastoral view out of our trip, we woke up despite the exceedingly soothing drizzle and embarked on an exciting journey to La Salvetat. This is a little French village tucked away in thick forest on top of a mountain. A place that would easily score a multiple-page spread on international travel magazines, if it wasn’t for its inaccessibility and lack of exposure on the internet.
It’s a wonderful place among a chest of treasured gems in France.
And as our car wiggled its way up to the destination, this delightfully charming view appeared in front of our eyes.
If you are from France or a regular visitor, you may have known this place through the eponymous sparkling mineral water. La Salvetat has such a wealth of natural resources – immense forests, rivers, lakes – it is the source of one of the best drinking water in France.
This is not my first time in La Salvetat. But like every other time when I visited this village, Flipo is the first place to stop. The one and only patisserie in the area, they do the most creamy and divine cakes and pastries mainly because of the ingredients they use. The sweet palmier biscuits, the oversized macarons – oh especially the one with a thick layer of morello cherry compote sandwiched between the pistachio flavoured meringue, dotted with roasted hazelnuts. Good heavens, there is no one French dessert as satisfying as this.
If we are friends on Snapchat ( again, some shamless self-pomotion: FIND ME ON michellephkai ), you must have seen my entire time there ooh-ing and aah-ing and bagging enough sweets and pastries to last me for days.
The shop opens early at 7.30am everyday and doesn’t wait for the late risers. The racks and shelves are usually cleaned by 11am.
Next thing on the list was baguette. Freshly baked baguette.
Where else to buy these but the local boulangerie?
Then, it’s the ham and the cheese.
All of these with a bottle of cherry beer made a good simple lunch. We put the food into a basket and drove up to an old cottage.
Who wouldn’t dream of a meal like this? Far away on top of a French mountain, enveloped by crisp air and clear tones of birdsong.
It was unbelievably simple and refreshing.
After the lunch, we were ready for a long walk to explore the forest and the green.
As the day got later, the dark cloud dispersed and the sun slowly awakened from its sleep.
There was a river just underneath but it was too dangerous to get closer. But what seems frightening to me is usually something too exciting to miss for him.
Set to have a touch of the icy cold river, he decided to go ahead while I took my time admiring little wild flowers.
The prickly leaves of holly! Does the name of this plant ring a bell? It’s the popular decoration in Christmas.
It was at its flowering stage and so there were no red berries.
The water from La Salvetat was exceptionally clear. But when I was asked to take a sip I was extremely sceptical.
Drinking the water that has passed through rocks and gathered mud and germs along the way? No one in the right mind would do that!
But what can I lose? An upset-stomach was the worst that could happen. So I took the plunge.
And it was the most untouched, clean and natural water I have ever tasted. There was no musty smell and no residue, or maybe there was but I am still fit as a fiddle, my stomach hasn’t suffered.
Now I see why this place is one of the best sources of drinking water in France.
Later, we packed our stuff and drove to another village in the area. With windows rolled down, naturally.
How else do you enjoy the dulcet sound of trickling water and fresh air?
I can’t help but wonder how it’s like to live here?
Apart from farming and running their own little business, what do people do here? How do they spend their evenings? Have they ever thought about moving to a busier place, a bigger town, a city?
It was a peaceful village, a rare and beautiful experience. It was like a place that has come alive from the storybooks I read when I was a child.
Now are you glad you came along?
With love x