In this section, as in the previous one, we could not follow the Allier because of lack of accommodation. This time we made a loop to the west, having crossed the river just past Puy-Guillaume. The weather was now burning hot, so early starts and short days were in order.
We had intended to camp every night, but when we decided to break a long day’s walk by stopping at Randan, we had to stay in a hotel, and two nights later the camping ground at Bellenaves was so dismal that we moved to the hotel there. The countryside in summer was a picture of plenty, with fields of ripe wheat, corn, sunflowers and vines, as well as pastures for cattle, and brimming rivers everywhere.
Our dinners were varied. One night we had Moroccan food (for lack of an alternative, although it was delicious), once we had pizzas (for the same reason), once we had a picnic in our hotel room, and only once did we have a traditional four-course French meal.
Day 12: Puy-Guillaume to Randan
Day 13: Randan to Gannat
Day 14: Gannat to Bellenaves