Stage 9: Saint-Étienne – Brioude

This hilly stage took us from Saint-Étienne, near the Loire, to one of that river’s main tributaries, the Allier, home to “l’ombre de la rivière,” the “shadow of the river” — the grayling.

A grayling (source)

The grayling is related to salmon and is found across northern Europe, where it is a popular target for fly fishers. The Allier hosts one of the southwesternmost populations of grayling on the continent. This population is disconnected and genetically distinct from those in the rest of the continent, including that in the Rhône.

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