"A bit of Orient. . . ." Top 5 Page for this destination Le Puy-en-Velay by kokoryko
Le Puy-en-Velay Travel Guide: 58 reviews and 247 photos
Le Puy is a major destination, resting place or departure location for pilgrims on their way to Santiago da Compostella. Some 400.000 tourists visit this city of southern Auvergne each year, of which 30.000-40.000 come on their feet or leave the city on their feet; they are pilgrims, (and may be few “normal” hikers or trekkers) walking on the “Via Podiensis”, the route to Santiago da Compostella beginning from Le Puy.
Not only is it the departure of a pilgrimage, it is also a pilgrim’s destination: thousands of pilgrims visit Le Puy for the “Vierge Noire” (The Black Virgin”), who is adored here since the High Middle Age; other local saints take advantage of this celebrity to also have lots of visitors. . . .
Not a surprise you find the atmosphere here a little bit (little bit is an euphemism. . . . ) catholic: there are cloisters, lots of churches, the streets are full of religious signs, and even most of the schools here are “écoles libres”, “free schools”, meaning in fact they are not bound to the laic French school system, since separation of State and church in France, and even integrist militants. . . . . If you want to meet deep Catholic France, it is here, in the Haute Loire Département (and in the Vendée Départment, Western France), the place to go! Lots of religious signs and activity, but not real pressure, be reassured. . . . Religion wars are over since 3 centuries, but it was an area where religion wars were terrible! There are a few protestants (Calvinist) communities in few villages, mainly in the North of Haute Loire (Chambon- sur-Lignon. . . ).
Walking in this city nowadays is very pleasant, on the sloping (and slippery!) small cobblestone paved streets, looking at the churches, mansions, houses, people going to their business. . . . In summer are a few festivals which draw thousands if people from the area and from abroad: the best known is “la fête du Roi de l’Oiseau”, a street festival, with music, animations, fireworks, and opportunities to discover local food, some local folklore, local people dancing and singing. . . . A nice week indeed! In winter, it is very quiet, but cross country ski opportunities are not far, and plenty of wonderful hikes can be undertaken from here; many castles, museums in the city or not far (see my Auvergne pages) are worth visits.
I do not tell here about all religious celebrations. . … . .
And Notre Dame de France is always watching you. . . .
Here is the Fontaine des tables, one of the famous fountains in Le Puy, but there are lots of little things to discover in this city. Le Puy is a city where you do not get lost, it is quite small, but I like myself to feel like lost in the little streets, discovering a new building, a fountain a chapel, a perspective. . . . If you happen to travel in Auvergne, this place is not to miss, and even you may want to stay there for a few days. . .
- Pros:Beautiful capital of South Auvergne
- Cons:A bit too. . . . Catholic ?
The Vibert Fountain Leave a little bit the catholic atmosphere and walk around the old city; on Boulevard Carnot, on... more travel advice
There is too much to see in Le Puy. . . well, beauty is never too much, but there are lots of other churches to visit,... more travel advice
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Latest: May 16, 2013