Visiting Le Puy-en-Velay
Le Puy-en-Velay is a jewel of cultural heritage at the heart of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region. It is the starting point for the Via Podiensis, Europe’s main route along the Way of Saint James, and an exceptional site that has been preserved from the ravages of time. The town has plenty of surprises in store for visitors: the 35-hectare protected sector, including the Cathedral and the Hôtel-Dieu (listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites as part of the Way of Saint James), bears witness to the richness of the town’s architecture and history. Le Puy-en-Velay is a town of art, a cultural and artistic centre and a place for encounters and exchanges, with a wide range of events on offer all the year round (festivals, traditional and historic festivities). The town is also an ideal holiday destination with a chance to explore a beautiful region shaped by volcanic activity.
Rafting down the River Allier
The Velay region is where the River Loire and the Allier have their sources. Two untamed rivers that are perfect for white-water sports. Looking for a fun thing to do during your stay? Going down the turbulent waters in the Allier gorges combines fun and thrills! Take the plunge with your friends in an exceptional nature site featuring truly breathtaking landscapes!
Exploring the Chaise-Dieu
The Chaise-Dieu plateau boasts a unique cultural and natural heritage. You are sure to be charmed by a visit to the village of La Chaise-Dieu, well known for its sacred music festival and the famous Saint-Robert abbatial church, not to be missed. A walk in the Chaise-Dieu forests will bring home to you all the power of the locality. The abbatial church stands like a stone flower that is nourished by the site’s energies. Here art goes hand in hand with nature…
A meal at a top restaurant
Le Velay is a land of fine food. Thanks to the specialities that have made its reputation, such as Puy green lentils, verbena, acari cheese (fromage aux artisons), Fin Gras du Mézenc beef and herbal teas. But also with the help of the dedicated chefs who bring our gastronomic heritage to life. In the Le Puy-en-Velay region, the land of Régis and Jacques Marcon and Philippe Brun, you will always find a great restaurant.
A weekend at the festival
If there is one festival not to be missed in Velay, then it’s The Green Escape Festival in Craponne-sur-Arzon. Three days of rock, folk, blues and country music in a green setting. You’ll soon be feeling like you’ve arrived in America… just 30 minutes from Le Puy-en-Velay. A festive atmosphere for 3 nights of great concerts. No doubt about it: this is one of the top musical events of the Velay summer.
Hiking on the Way of St James
You will be able to say “I’ve done it! I’ve walked along the legendary Way of Saint James!”. That’s right, Le Puy-en-Velay is one of the main starting points for the famous GR65 trail, leading pilgrims along the route to Compostella, and not to be missed during your stay in Velay. Today, anyone can go part of the way from Le Puy-en-Velay, for one day or more and with a choice of stages. You can be a pilgrim for a day or for a longer stay and follow the thousand-year-old route. A truly wonderful experience…
A mountain-bike ride in Vorey-sur-Arzon
What with the River Loire, the Allier and the volcanoes, there is no lack of ascents and descents in Velay! To the delight of sports fans, the Le Puy-en-Velay area is an ideal playground for a whole host of activities. So, jump on your mountain bike and set off for Vorey-sur-Arzon to an area certified by the French Cycling Federation. Short trails and major circuits await you with a chance to give your legs a good workout. From Saint-Etienne Lardeyrol to Saint-Pierre Duchamp, via Saint-Vincent, Beaulieu and Vorey-sur-Arzon, have fun on the mountain-bike trails!
Visiting the Velay castles
Le Puy-en-Velay and the region is a land filled with history. When you visit the Velay castles, you travel back in time and through the centuries in search of the past and the history of France. The impressive Polignac fortress, the castles of Saint-Vidal, Bouzols, Lavoûte-sur-Loire, Rochelambert near Saint-Paulien and Chavaniac-Lafayette, the birthplace of the Marquis de Lafayette, the Hero of the Two Worlds, are outstanding examples of this heritage.
(c) Eric Sander
A maiden flight in a hot-air balloon
How would you like to fly above the landscapes of Velay? Going up in the world to admire the surroundings is surely the best way to enjoy the beauty all around us… In Velay, you can take off in a hot-air balloon for a maiden flight or just take a short trip above the region.
A stroll during the Puy de Lumières
Just walking through the little streets of Le Puy-en-Velay, with its Provencal atmosphere, is an adventure in itself. You can visit the town and all its riches during the day so you can appreciate them even better at night. “Puy de Lumières” is a magical stroll through the famous monuments of Le Puy-en-Velay and Brives-Charensac. Magical sound and light shows are projected onto the town facades at nightfall. The Crozatier Museum, the Theatre, the Town Hall, the Cathedral, Saint-Alexis Chapel, the Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe rock, the Media Library and the Old Bridge in Brives-Charensac come to life at night!