Have you heard about Le Puy en Velay at all?
I heard many times in relation to the green lentils as in Lyon this is pretty well known because the Lyonnais will use it in their speciality: Lyonnais Lentilles Salad like here. So when I was doing shopping I have always been recommend to buy the best green lentils which come from Le Puy en Velay. But that was it! Healthy lentils and the name – Le Puy en Velay which I could not pronounce! And then one day I found out that this village is not that far away from Lyon and apparently very pretty. So I had already few arguments to go and visit! On top of that I heard that Le Puy en Velay has lace (which I love) and it’s religious town (and that is important for me personally as well). So when the sun arrived to France, I started to organize trips around Lyon as you have already seen on my List of 20 Places to Visit Near Lyon here. Yet, I found more places to visit and not on the list..oh la la France has really a lot to offer! But anyway I have been & seen and I will tell you why you should visit Le Puy en Velay! Let me present you the Top Things, Symbols & Local Specialities Le Puy en Velay is famous for!
- Le Puy lentils. In 1935, the Green Lentil from Le Puy en Velay has been given the Designation of Origin status. In 1996, those lentils become the first vegetable to be recognized as an AOC (registered designation of origin) and not so long time ago because, in 2009, they obtain the European PDO (Protected Designation of origin). Good quality & taste indeed.
- Verveine du Velay. It’s an iconic specialty of the Le Puy en Velay. A liquor made with lemon verbena grown in the surrounding area of Le Puy en Velay and distilled in the city for more than 150 years. You can visit the distillery or the exhibition space to learn more and taste the finished product with the guided tour here.
- Rocher Saint- Michel d’Aiguilhe. It is the 4th monument preferred by the French or in France? I am still terrible with my French 😉 Anyway, you can check here if you don’t believe me! This 82-metre rock is the chimney of a former volcano. Its chapel was built in the 10th century to celebrate the return the first French pilgrim – St James from his pilgrimage. Have a look at their Virtual Tour if you like.
- La Cathedrale Notre-Dame. It is a Roman Catholic church, a national monument, a center of pilgrimage. Since 1998, the cathedral is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is famous for it’s architecture, the statue of the Black Virgin and a 12th-century cloister which you can visit.
- The handmade lace. According to the legend, the bobbin lace has been born in 1407 in le Puy-en-Velay. It has become popular thanks to the Béates – women who spread the religion and the practice of the lace techniques in the countryside.
Nowadays, you can admire the beautiful lace of Le Puy en Velay thanks to many shops who sell it and their sellers who still practice the production of lace. The whole town is like a living museum of artists creating handmade lace. You can have a chance to see how they make the lace when you visit the shops and they are kind enough to present it to you (they usually are!). I have visited Lacebook.net which is run by a passionate gentleman. We had a good chat and I got myself a small souvenir! You can also go to the Bobbin Lace Learning Center which offers expositions and a boutique to learn more about this age-old activities.
Lumières Spectacles. It is recently very popular event similar to the Fete des Lumieres in Lyon. This projection of lights takes place on main monuments of Le Puy en Valey: The cathedral Notre-Dame; Roche Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe; Theater; City Hall; Chapel Saint-Alexis. It last about 1h30, it is spread between the lower town and the upper town and it retraces the history of the city through various themes: volcanism, its history, its culture, its architectural heritage, in a dazzling light scenography. Check here for details and plan your visit well as it is happening in the evening/night time!
So do you know Le Puy en Velay a little bit better? I hope so. Now you can decide to visit it or share with me your experience if you have already been to this lovely town. Either way I am sure you like Le Puy en Velay!
A bientot…as I love summer time in Lyon and exploring France. How about you?