Le Puy-en-Velay (±70 km)
The capital of the Verveine liqueur, the city with an enormous statue of Maria made out of bronze and the holy "Black Madonna".
Le Puy is a pleasant city with a lot of curiosities that will justifie visiting this town.
Together with Chartres, Le Puy is the oldest town in France of Marian Devotion, which dates from the Middle Ages. Traditionally a pilgrimage and a departurepoint for pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella.
The cathedral Notre Dame is an extraordinary building that has been added to the list of the world cultural heritages. Façades in coloured lava with mosaic decorations, an interior with Byzantine influences and the "Black Madonna".
Round the cathedral you can look every where for parts of the episcopal complex. High above the city stands the famous statue Notre-Dame de France (22,70m high) made of the bronze canons from the war at the Krim. The ascension of the statue is rewarded with a fabulous view on the town and surroundings of Le Puy.
It's quite easy to see the volcanic origine of the territory, such as the lava-cone on which the staute itself is placed. On the northside you get a view on the Rocher Corneille, on which the chapel St-Michel d'Aiguilhe is build. Everyone who has accomplished the climbing of the 82 metres high lava-cone by the 268 steps stairs, a visit to the beautiful Roman chapel from the 10th century is a nice reward.
If you're not up to the climbing of the Rocher Corneille after descending from the staute, you can just visit the narrow and pleasant streets of the old town. Visit the Place du Plot, with its full colored houses. Follow from there the rue Pannesac to admire the old renaissance buildings which will clearly reveal the richness of the old habitants (traders).
On the way back take the D590 to Espaly-Saint-Marcel and climb the Rocher Saint-Joseph. From the highest terras you get a great view on the city of Le Puy.
For more information about Le Puy-en-Velay you can visit http://www.lepuyenvelay.fr/.