Explore and Wander | First Impressions Le Puy-en-Velay
Le Puy-en-Velay (French pronunciation: [lə pɥiɑ̃vəlɛ]; Occitan: Lo Puèi de Velai [lu ˈpœj ðə vəˈlaj]) is a commune in the Haute-Loire department in south-central France near the Loire river. Its inhabitants are called Ponots. The city is famous for its cathedral, for a kind of lentil, and for its lace-making. - wiki
The old city of Le Puy is a delightful maze of small streets, flanked by tall houses painted in pastel colours. There are lots of small shops, antique shops and cafés, and visitors can also see lacemakers at work, le Puy having been famed for centuries as a centre for lace making. The tradition still survives to this day.
Le Puy's Musée Crozatier museum has a substantial collection of 19th century French art and a large collection of artefacts and of geological interest. The museum is closed for renovation until 2015. - About France
Le Puy-en-Velay's most striking attraction is the Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy, dating chiefly from the first half of the 12th century. The façade, striped in courses of white sandstone and black volcanic breccia, is reached by a flight of sixty steps, and consists of three orders, the lowest composed of three high arcades opening into the porch, which extends beneath the first bays of the nave. Above it are three central windows that light the nave, and above them are three gables on the gable-end of the nave, flanked by two openwork screening gables. The south transept doorway is sheltered by a Romanesque porch. Behind the choir rises a separate Romanesque bell-tower in seven storeys.
The bays of the nave are roofed by octagonal cupolas, the cupola at the crossing forming a lantern; the choir and transepts are barrel vaulted. The striking parti-colored cloister is connected to remains of 13th-century fortifications that separated the cathedral precincts from the rest of the city. Near the cathedral, the 11th-century baptistery of St John is built on Roman foundations. - wiki
"Tourists" have been visiting Le Puy en Velay for over a thousand years.
The first European "tourists" were pilgrims; and it was in Le Puy en Velay that many of the early pilgrims gathered for the start of the arduous journey to the shrine of Santiago de Compostella, the great mediaeval pilgrimage destination in Spain.
The first pilgrimages set out from Le Puy in the late tenth century, and during the Middle Ages, the city became a major religious centre, the great starting point for one of the major Compostella pilgrimage routes, the Via Podiensis.
It was in the cathedral at Le Puy, in 1095, that Pope Urban II announced the preparation of the First Crusade.
While the idea of trekking to Santiago faded away for centuries after the Middle Ages, becoming a task only to be undertaken by the very devoted or (fool)hardy, it is now well back in fashion. Today, Le Puy has returned to its important position as the starting point for the greatest European pilgrimage route, a hiking trail of over 1000 km undertaken each year, in whole or in part, by many thousands of pilgrims or hikers.
But while le Puy attracts many hikers and pilgrims, preparing to set off for Compostella, or at least walk some of the trail, there is no need to be a hiker to visit this lovely small city. Le Puy boasts some remarkable historic monuments, and the cathedral area is classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. - Visit France
Le Puy en Velay appears to be the most ancient of the French lace centres dating back to the sixteenth century ; it was in connection with this factory that the Jesuit father, Samt Francois Regis, who is considered the patron saint of the lace-makers, earned his canonisation. Sumptuary edicts were published by the Seneschal of Le Puy which threatened to annihilate the lace trade, a heavy fine being imposed on any who wore lace upon their clothes. According to M. Lefebure “light and open guipure " was produced very early in the history of bobbin lace, but in the seventeenth century the staple manufacture seems to have been a rather coarse and inartistic thread lace, which was employed to trim household linen. - https://belovedlinens.net