A trip to Le-Puy-en-Velay, France (image heavy!)

Joined
Dec 14, 2006
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126
Location
Belgium
One of the good things of living in Belgium, is the fact that it is easy to travel to France: in 60-120 min You can reach France from nearly every starting point in Belgium!
For over 20 years, I have spent my holidays in different parts, first on the Cote d' Azur, but we now have a holiday home in the centre of France, in the province called "Lot" (draw a vertical line through Paris and a horizontal one throughBordeaux; the intersection is roughly the Lot. If You want to see pictures of that region do a Google search for "Rocamadour", "St Cirq Lapopie", "Cahors" , or You could visit my Zenfolio page (http://hdemey.zenfolio.com)

As we have visited all the best places in the Lot and its surroundings, we now cast our net wider. Each year we make a car trip to another part of france with the Lot as home base. This year we drove south east, to the Auvergne, more specifically to a town called Le-Puy-en-Velay.
On the road, we visited the Chateau de Pesteils, a privately owned, fully decorated castle (even a medieval stronghold). As always, picture taking was forbidden inside (in order to protect the furniture and decorations from becoming known to possible thieves). Only the outside and the kitchen could be photographed.

The castle:

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The kitchen:

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The next stop was the small town of Lavaudieu and its abbey.

The church:

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The abbey cloister and church tower:

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The eating room/kitchen:

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After a 3 hour car ride, we arrived at our destination: a B&B in the small town of Polignac, 5 minutes from Le-Puy-en-Velay. Polignac is in fact a steep hill with a completely flat top; on this top there are the ruins of yet another medieval stronghold. The town itself is built in a circle around this hill.

Polignac town with its castle:

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From the castle tower we had our first look of Le-Puy-en-Velay and its monuments:

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Le-Puy-en-Velay (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Puy-en-Velay) lies in a valley; only its towers and monuments can be seen from the top of Polignac castle. These monuments are built on top of the cones of old volcanos, making for some spectacular sights.
First, there is the immense statue called "Notre Dame de France", made from the bronze from Russian cannons, stolen during the Crimean war (October 1853–February 1856; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_War). It sits on top of the Corneille rock, and is the highest point of Le-Puy, overlooking its wide surroundings. It is easy to visit this statue; You can even climb into it and look out over the town through several (small) portholes. Inside it is completely covered in graffiti, though.

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From the platform You can look to Polignac castle:

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Another remarkable site is the chapel "Saint Michel d'Aiguille", sitting on top of the "needle".

This is Saint Michel as seen from the bronze statue, in the diastance is Polignac:

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This needle-like rock formation is the cone from yet another disappeared volcano. The small chapel can be reached after an arduous climb up some steep stairs.

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The third remarkable sight in Le-Puy is the "floating cathedral", "Notre Dame du Puy". As the third rock in the city center was not large enough, the cathedral was built like a modern bridge resting on girders. About half of it "floats" above the hill top. You climb up to the cathedral from one of the main streets in the old part of Le-Puy using an imposing stair which lead You directly to the altar, and not as is usual to the end of the nave.

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Adjoining the cathedral is the 12th century cloister (a paying visit), richly decorated and remarkably well preserved. From the cloister center, You look up to the bronze statue.

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The old part of Le-Puy consists of narrow cobbled streets, surrounded by old houses, most of them in good condition. Wandering through them leads to some remarkable sights.

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This concludes our short virtual visit to Le-Puy. Perhaps, when I find the time, I will take You on another trip to Cahors and other places in the Lot.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Dec 14, 2006
Messages
126
Location
Belgium
@ AlexF:

The images could be a little bigger (800px on the long side is good).
Because there were such a lot of photos to post, I chose a smaller format. If You would like to see them larger, please visit my zenfolio account, where they can be seen 800 pixels on the long side, just as You prefer.

http://hdemey.zenfolio.com/p409594133
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
21,805
Location
SW Virginia
Excellent Wanderlust thread. Thanks for posting it.

Rik, there is no problem with larger images as long as they are no bigger than 800 pixels on the longest side. You can simply post a warning in the title that there are lots of images.

But nevertheless, a job well done. Really appreciated the narrative.
 

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