Sightseeing in Le Puy-en-Velay

Last we left our heroine, she was about to spend her first night in her small cabin on the hill in Le Puy-en-Velay, France. She arrived to find the door more than a few feet in a jar. She walked in and saw that her roommate Isabelle had already gone to sleep, and left the door open because it was so stuffy inside the cabin. The cool air of the evening had yet to penetrate the very small space. She climbed into bed in her wrinkle proof dress and hoped for a good nights sleep. It was not to be. She tossed. She turned. In a couple hours the cabin cooled down. In a couple more hours it was downright cold. By the time she looked at her clock, it wasn’t worth trying to sleep any longer.  

Cabin home above Le Puy-en-Velay

And so at 5:30 AM on Saturday, June 17, she pulled out her journal and began catching up on her writing. Isabel awoke shortly thereafter, her goal being to attend the 7 AM pilgrim mass in the cathedral. our heroine stayed writing in bed because 1) she wanted to and 2) the cabin was really too small for two people to be moving in and out of it at the same time. 

After Isabel left, she went about her morning routine, and then walked into the town to meet David for a day of sightseeing. After devouring a pain au chocolat, they climbed up to the chapel of St. Michel, perched on a rock in the middle of the city And built in 962 by Bishop Godescalc who promised he would do so after returning from a pilgrimage to Santiago.  

St. Michel d’Aiguilhe
Inside St. Michel d’Aiguilhe

David–admiring the stonework? Contemplating life?

Not having had their fill of stairclimbing yet, they next ascended to the base of the Virgin Mary statue (Notre Dame de France). Made from the metal of Russian cannons captured during the Crimean war, it is perched on yet another rock in the middle of the same city. And as if arriving at the base wasn’t enough, they continued into the statue, David even managing to climb the ladder to peek out between her crown stars. Rebecca tried, but fear overcame her and she retreated. 

More stairs? Why not?
Inside the Notre Dame de France
The view of the Le Puy cathedral from inside the Notre Dame de France statue

“I think I’ve had enough stairclimbing for one day,” said David. She agreed and they searched out a lunch option for David’s vegetarian lifestyle. The region is known for its Le Puy lentils (“the caviar of the poor” she read the next day), which they both had as part of their lunch. 
They paid a visit to the museum of the pilgrim: thoughtful words about the journey were shared in nine rooms — one for each portion of the walk. She walked inside the cathedral for the first time and was surprised to see a black Madonna. She recalled that these were unusual and sought out by some people, but she couldn’t recall more than that and was curious as to how came to be one here.

 At 5:30 PM, they were welcomed into Le Camino–a space specifically for pilgrims who are leaving the next morning the way of St. James. Volunteers who had done the Camino welcomed them with a glass of verbeine — a local syrup made from verbana and, in this case, cut with water. It is popular here and also sold as a liquer.
After a late dinner, she and David parted ways. They would meet again the next morning at the Cathedral for the daily pilgrim mass at 7 AM, after which she would begin her journey on her fourth Camino, and David would continue his journey on his third. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. nina B says:

    My Grandson has now gotten the incentive to explore the trek after seeing your posts……………I think young people can safely experience this as a self discovery. I am keeping you in our prayers to have a wonderful 4th

    1. Oh how wonderful to hear! Yes, it’s definitely safe and well worth it at any age:)

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