Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Touring the Massif Central

Since the canals follow rivers over relatively flat lands, we haven’t seen much of the interior of France, the huge Massif Central, a volcanic, thickly forested and sparsely populated area. Since Roanne is just north of it, we decided to rent a car for a couple of days and see what we could see.
Our “Rough Guide to France” describes Le Puy en Velay (puy is French for extinct volcano) as “one of the most remarkable towns in the whole of France, with a landscape and architecture that are totally theatrical… the countryside erupts in a chaos of volcanic acne: everywhere is a confusion of abrupt conical hills…” This we had to see!
Notre Dame de France in the center, the cathedral slightly to the right and the Chappelle St Michel d’Alguile to the left.

Archeological studies suggest the area has been occupied since around 3000 BC with evidence of some temple construction. Around the 5th century AD the area became christian and in the 10th century the cathedral became the starting point for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The Bishop Godesalk was supposedly the first to make the 1600 km walk.

Cathedrale Notre Dame du Puy was begun in the 11th century.

The Pilgrimage starts near here.

 Notre Dame de France was cast in 1860 from over 200 guns captured in battle and painted red to match the tiled roofs of the town.

Joseph gets his statue, too.

You may also recognize the name Le Puy en Velay from your local grocery store. The tasty green lentils come from here.

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