Architecture

Le Puy-en-Velay is a medieval town lying in the heart of the Auvergne region in southern France. It has many attractive features including an enormous red statue of the Madonna and a little chapel perched on a volcanic plug.

Many old buildings have sculptured faces of the Michel brothers and religious statues adorn many house fronts. In the centre of Le Puy is the cloister which was built concurrently with the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The architecture of the cloister is Moorish and symbolic capitals are set in the stone. The Pannessac Tower (built in the 13th century) which was partly demolished in 1850 to widen the street, although the ruins still remain and are a feature attractive to tourists.

Notre Dame is an unusual cathedral that sits at the top of the steep cobbled Rue des Tables. Originally it was the site of a Roman temple. It has been refurbished over the years since it was built in the 11th century.

Today this picturesque cathedral is a mixture of a Romanesque-style structure adorned with Byzantine features and a beautiful patterned porch. The venerated Black Madonna has pride of place on the Baroque style alter Although primarily an example of Romanesque architecture, the massive cathedral of Notre Dame shows strong Byzantine and Arabic influences in both its construction and decoration. Another monument to be seen are the broken pieces of pagan stone which lie on the floor of the "Chambre Angelique" or the "Angels Chamber". This stone dates from pagan times.

A famous statue, Notre-Dame de France Statue towers 22,70 meters high. It was cast in the metal of cannons captured in the battle of Sebastopol and was erected in 1860. The church Saint-Laurant is worth seeing. It is the biggest gothic church in the Auvergne region. There are also many other famous pieces of architecture connected with Le-Puy such as the chapel of the Penitures and the St Claire Convent.

Return to Contents