It was a public holiday yesterday (Bastille Day said the depths of Mick's memory) and many places were closed including the large supermarket in St Etienne. Rather than hanging around until it opened at 9 this morning, to then have to walk in the heat of the day, we put our hopes on the bakery keeping bakery-esque hours and being open as we passed by this morning. If it wasn't then our food for today would have been an odd selection of left-overs.
It was open. The croissant didn't make it more than 3 feet from the door. The chocolatine made it as far as second breakfast. They were all delicious.
Looking like a D of E-er with many things strapped to the outside of my pack (drying laundry, drying j-cloth, baguette, that sort of thing) off we set expecting about 7 miles of gentle ascent up to the high point of our day.
That expectation was based on having looked at the elevation profile shown in the Cicerone guide book. As it turns out it wasn't so much an elevation profile as a plotting of the high point of the day with a straight line between our starting height and it. The reality was a much steeper start than expected.
At least it was the cool of the morning, before the morning cloud burnt off (cloud that developed after 5am and was largely gone by 9.30). My thermometer said it was only 20 degrees out (compared with 32 this afternoon). Yet, by 10 minutes into the day we both looked (and felt) as if we were exercising in a sauna. I suppose 95% humidity does that!
Once we had levelled off a bit (and put ourselves right after a bit of a detour where we accidentally followed, for about 250m, the way markers of an alternative route heading back to St Etienne) the cloud was gone and the views back to yesterday's ridge were superb.
Our day topped out at 1020m where we sat and enjoyed the breeze for a while before making tracks to St Jean, which we could clearly see below us.
The breeze mysteriously disappeared the very moment we stepped off the summit, so by the time we made it along the road to Lasse a beeline was made for refreshments at the auberge (not at the aubergine as my autocorrect thinks it should be!).
St Jean was closer than we thought: just half an hour along the road from Lasse, so by 1.30pm we were looking for a room, having decided a room would be preferable to an afternoon roasting on a campsite.
The first place we tried didn't just have a vacancy, but they showed us straight up in spite of the early hour. Our room may be small, but it's big enough for our needs and has impressive amenities for its €57 price tag - including the blessing of air con.