In the Auvergne, I was on familiar ground, having done some terrific hikes in this region of France. I helped the team to find a suitable “base camp”: a beautiful spot with a range of settings – nature, snow, and urban. We picked the county of Cantal and, as our hub, the handsome La Boudio guesthouse near Murat, at the foot of the Puy Mary mountain.
On Monday morning, photographer Stef Candé and I headed out to scout the locations: Murat serves up some great urban moods in its small medieval streets. My recollections of the Via Arverna, the most Auvergnat of the trails leading to Santiago da Compostela, take us to the village of Chalinargues. On its outskirts, the Via Arverna – even in winter – provides some original forest settings: a small lake, grassland, horses… we could actually be in Scotland!
Murat serves up some great urban moods in its small medieval streets”
After a good dinner rich in local flavors, with potatoes and cheeses center-stage, a peaceful night’s sleep in the Auvergne countryside recharges our batteries. The next morning we get to work, out on location. First shots near Chalinargue, and it’s bitingly cold… Stef and I then join the rest of the team in Murat: Adeline, Aurore and Virginie, the “Lafuma girls”, as well as Séverine and Nicolas, the other two models on the shoot.
We all return to Murat and its tight-set streets of intact medieval architecture, then switch settings and head for the Via Arverna and its great wooded outdoors, which are all a-quiver as spring begins to burst. These first ripples in the landscape herald the Cantal Massif, which offers us scenery that’s a cross between Canada and Northern Europe – and the sharp, damp chill are also reminiscent of the north! Modelling is no easy job when you have to stay still and keep smiling in such harsh conditions! Fortunately, a convivial dinner at our cosy guesthouse warms our cockles – just the trick to ensure high morale the next morning. After a few shots around the guesthouse, we hit the road for Clermont-Ferrand.
us scenery that’s a cross between Canada and Northern Europe”
Virginie’s “adventurous” satnav stretches out the journey along winding roads – but despite these unexpected twists and turns, we reach the capital of the region (well, of the old region, before the Auvergne’s merger with Rhône-Alpes!). The Place de Jaude and the streets around the cathedral (which I know well, as they too are on the Via Arverna route) are the perfect backdrop to showcase the new winter collection, designed for urban hiking.
I leave our great team and set off for other adventures, where I’ll be able to test all these products in real conditions, with no flash or photographer…
Clermond-ferrant, La place de Jaude et les rues autour de la cathedrale”
where I’ll be able to test all these products in real conditions, with no flash or photographer…
the new winter collection, designed for urban hiking”