As promised in my last Instagram post, I am going to tell you everything I know about Puy-en-Velay and Espaly-Saint-Marcel in Auvergne. I hope that at the end of this article you will want to go there.
For the story, Ugo (and no it’s not a mistake there isn’t a “H” 😉 ), my little brother, is soccer player, so he often has to move depending on the contracts he gets with the clubs. Last year, he benefited of a transfer to FC Espaly. I had the opportunity to visit him few times. I still haven’t seen everything the region has to offer but I am sure I will be able to do it. 😉
First at all, you should know that the Puy-en-Velay is at the UNESCO World Heritage but also one of the main starting point of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle’s pilgrimage. Inevitably, the most famous monument of the city is: the Cathedral ! You will have to exert yourself to get to the entrance (134 steps to be exact). But, honnestly, it’s really worthing it.! The view on the city is amazing. And, small bonus, no entrance fees! 🙂
Most of the monuments or things to do have a link with the Catholic religion such as:
- The Notre-Dame De France Statue in Puy-en-Velay : builded in 1860, you can visit the statue walking up on the top of the Corneille Rock. For less than 5€, you can have a panoramic view of the city and its Cathedral, but also go inside the statue. Allow yourself an hour and a half for the whole visit. 😉
- The Saint-Michel Rock in Aiguilhe : for 5€, you can climb the 268 stairs that bring you on the top of the rock and to the Saint Michel chapel builded in the Xth century. One more time, you will get an breathtaking view on the city. You can allow one hour and a half for the visit. 🙂
There are also other historical monuments such as the Polignac’s fortress : entrance fees are really cheap, a lot of wooden games to do en famille. But, there isn’t much more to see than ruins. The view from the donjon is really nice. The visit can be done in an hour (depending on the time you spend playing the games 😉 ).
You can also take a walk in the Henri-Vinay Garden where you can see some animals in cage as sheeps and ducks (I don’t really like the principle).
If you are there during a week-end, I recommand you to have a look at the weekly market of the city (every Saturday morning). It could be the opportunity for you to discover the different specialties of the region:
- the green lentils,
- the vervain,
- the “artisous” cheese,
- the hypocras,
- the Vellavia beer.
As everytime I spend few days there, I spend a lot of my time at the soccer to see my brother. So, I still have a lot things to see like:
- The Crozatier Museum (located in Henri-Vinay Garden),
- The Hôtel Dieu Museum,
- Beaume’s Waterfall,
- The Castle Lavoute Polignac,
- The Bellonte Farm (factory of the famous cheese of St Nectaire),
- Try one the via ferratas of the region,
- The Roi de l’oiseau celebration (annual medieval celebration happening in september).
If you have any tips on the things to do there, please let me know in a comment. 🙂