A must-see town on the Way of St. James

Take a break in this town just 1 hour and 45 mins from Lyon that is steeped in history and intensity. Here are our hints and tips for a weekend in Puy-en-Velay.All set to explore!

Last updated date : 19/01/2023

Notre Dame Cathedral

Cathédrale du Puy - Crédit Luc Olivier

Notre Dame du Puy cathedral is one of the town's most iconic monuments that acts as a magnet to pilgrims and tourists alike, and was built between the 10th and 12th centuries on top of the hill where the town has since grown.

Boasting UNESCO status, it is home to the statue of the Black Virgin that is carried through the streets in a procession on 15th August each year.

The cathedral is built from alternate white and red volcanic stones which has a continually surprising effect. The poetic charm of the building lies in the tiniest details!

Don't miss the Roman cloister and its polychrome archways.

Notre Dame de France statue

ND de France

The Notre Dame de France statue overlooks the town and was completed in 1860. It is made from red cast iron and was made in the Prénat foundry in Givors. From the foot of the statue, visitors can enjoy a unique panoramic view of the town, cathedral and Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe church.

The town's narrow streets

Place du Plot au Pup en Velay © Luc Olivier

Take time out to wander through the pedestrianised streets with shops in the town centre, where medieval houses give way to Renaissance buildings.

A lively town centre where the history of Le Puy comes to life through walking tours recommended by the Tourist Office!

Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe church

Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe © Office du Tourisme du Puy-en-Velay

This little gem of religious architecture is my absolute favourite!Perched atop a rocky outcrop, Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe is a magical and surprising place. This Romanesque church built in the 10th century and hugging the shape of the rock is reached via 268 steps. Its interior frescoes and polychrome decor make it worth it! Once you get to the top, the view across Puy-en-Velay and the cathedral are the reward for the climb.

The capital of lace

Dentelle au fuseau

If, like me, you love old hand-made lace, this place will prove irresistible! Around the Rue des Tables, rummage through a wealth of doilies and other souvenirs –somewhat kitsch at times – to find that elusive piece of ribbon or lace trim you were looking for!

For those of you who are brave enough to have a go yourself, the Centre d’Enseignement de la Dentelle au Fuseau (Bobbin Lace Teaching Centre) provides a great introduction to this extremely meticulous art!


Puy de Lumières - Rocher St Michel au Puy en Velay - © photo Luc Olivier

Summer period: Puy de Lumières

In May, the town's most iconic monuments are bathed in colour. Welcome to Puy de Lumières! Every evening, light projections enhance the architecture or tell a story. Light up your evenings on a special journey!

September: Fête Renaissance du Roi de l’Oiseau

Are you passionate about history and fascinated by the Renaissance period? Every year in September, the town comes to life to celebrate the Fête Renaissance du Roi de l’Oiseau (Renaissance Bird King Festival). The town steps back in time with parades, shows and dances as well as a large Renaissance market.

Visit the Le Puy Tourist Office for more information about the town!


Eléonore is the romantic member of the team! Rumour has it that she knows her classics better than anyone else, and if you want to strike up a conversation with her, just mention Jane Austen, and you'll be away!

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