A recent geocaching trip took us to Château Rocher in the Puy de Dôme department.

Château Rocher is a splendid old castle in a stunning setting. It’s perched 150 metres above the Sioule river valley on a rocky outcrop. Its role in the past was to keep a watchful eye over the valley, and in particular over the bridge at Menat, which was a busy crossing point and also marked the boundary between the old duchies of Auvergne and Bourbon.

This ‘chateau-fort’ style castle was started in the 11th century, and further work was done on it in the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. It replaced a 9th century motte and bailey castle which had stood on the same spot.

Like most castles, it’s had an eventful past and seen many and various owners, most of them members or offshoots of the influential Blot family. (The nearest town is called St-Rémy-de-Blot – this really was their neck of the woods.) The castle ended up in English hands for a while during the Hundred Years War. Since 1964 it has belonged to the Association Château Rocher which is slowly but surely returning a little bit of the building’s former glory.

We had a very enjoyable walk around the area in beautiful spring sunshine, every now and again getting a glimpse of the castle from a different angle.

Our end-of-walk hot drink and bun back at Precious (the camper van) afforded a lovely last view of it.

This beautiful area of the Auvergne is well worth a visit.