"Le Puy-en-Velay … or just Le Puy to most!" Top 5 Page for this destination Le Puy-en-Velay by tiabunna

Le Puy-en-Velay Travel Guide: 61 reviews and 265 photos

This page was upgraded with better quality photo scans 27 Feb 2007

During our drive around France we were very keen to visit a B&B whch featured working husky teams, high in the Massif Centrale. Fortuitously, that led us to Le Puy. It’s only a small town by European standards (about 20,000), but worth the visit. The town gains its name from the Puys, the name given in the local Occitan language to a series of ancient volcanic plugs. There are quite a few in the area, including that on which the town is centred. Quite apart from any geological interest, most are surmounted by religious buildings – not least an enormous Pink Madonna. Look carefully in the heading photo and you should see her centred in the distance, above the town. Another place where I wish we’d had a digital camera!

The history of Le Puy dates back to Roman times. It’s more modern form is well over 1000 years, with strong religious connections throughout that period – back in those days it was one of the main starting points for a 1600km pilgrimage. It also was visited many times over the aeons by French royalty, as far back as Charlemagne. Their visits are hardly surprising as, quite apart from any religious connections, the area is quite spectacular in its own right. It also seems hardly to be visited by tourists – as shown by the paucity of Virtual Tourist pages!

Le Puy once had a flourishing lace-making industry. Little lacemaking is left, though we did purchase a sample for Pauline. Agriculture now is the main industry in the area, with Le Puy being famous (in France, anyway) for its lentils.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Spectacular and little-known
  • Cons:If you aren’t fit, it’s all hills: maybe the fitness benefits are a positive!
  • In a nutshell:A worthwhile detour 'from the beaten path'
  • Last visit to Le Puy-en-Velay: Dec 1996
  • Intro Updated Feb 27, 2007
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Reviews (9)

Comments (29)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Mmmm. What can I say, but a lovely page! Testing the liqueur, and puffing up the mountainside, all brought smiles !!!

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    Saw a doco last night about Le Puy-en-Velay and had to re-visit. Great tips as usual, George- interesting tips re Madonnas of different hues. I had a look on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black Madonna.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    You have presented a very nice description of this town and its sties. The pink Madonna was a site to behold, and all that Roman influence. Good comments.

  • Feb 8, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    I had no idea that huskies, my favorite specie of canine, had a presence anywhere in France. I had a Siberian Husky as a small child and always found him to be distant, all business, and exasperated with my constant youthful ways.

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    Oh that pink madonna with golden details . . . well I have no words . . . but the black one is nice! second French black madonna to my list :-) :-) Nice page about an area in France unknown for me, thanks for sharing!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2009 at 6:39 AM

    I would love to see the dogs train. They are such amazing creatures. Love the lace... and probably would have enjoyed tipping a few w/ you and your purchase. :-)

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Le Puy-en-velay looks nice -- great pics ! Hope I see it someday --- I also love the panormaic views...Norman :)

  • nora_south_africa's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2008 at 1:46 AM

    Thanx for visiting my page, finding your pages very interesting as I work through them, most of the places you have been to are places I have not yet been to.. so find it very interesting.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:01 PM

    Your B&B might be "La Paravent, 43700 CHASPINHAC 04 71 03 54 75" I have driven across le Puy but never visited that area. I should !

  • vinc_bilb's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2008 at 4:22 AM

    Hi George, excellent. Thks. All the French Massif Centrale had to face to a strong decline after industrial revolution, with some deserted villages, with only few peoples remaining. Snow in Australia ? A suprize for me

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