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Every evening at dusk until midnight, a walk of about 1 hour and a half in the lower and upper town will bring the history of the town to life in different themed projections: volcanism, history, culture and architectural heritage presented in dazzling light shows.
The Cathedral Notre-Dame du Puy
From its origins (5th century) until our own day, pilgrimage to Notre-Dame du Puy has contributed to the development and prosperity ot the town. The Cathedral is Romanesque in style, but shows various influences especially Bysantine ones.The choir area of the cathedral is built directly on the rock, but when the cathedral had to be enlarged in the 11th and 12th centuries in order to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims, four additional bays were audaciously built over the void in order to compensate for the difference in level of 17 metres. Several impressive pillars hold up the high arches. The cathedral is also well known for its Black Virgin and the fever stone. Since 1998, the Cathedral has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The rock, familiarly called « the dyke », is actually the vent of a volcano, laid bare by erosion. The chapel on the top dates back to the 10th century. In 950-951 Gothescalk, Bishop of Le Puy, led the first French pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. On his return, a chapel dedicated to St Michael was built on the volcanic rock of Aiguilhe.The chapel was finished in 962 and inaugurated in July.
Located between the two main squares of the city, the theatre was designed by the architect Antoine Martin and inaugurated on July 8th 1893 by Raymond Poincaré, French Minister. The building and its large hall are representative of the Italian theatres. There are famous paintings from Assezat de Bouteyre, Bernard and Charles Maurin. It was renovated in 2006 and now welcomes numerous shows with various artists from October to June.
The town hall was completed in 1766, designed by the architect Portal in Louis XV style, with a classical façade. It was built on the site of the former « consulate » (the « consuls » were the former town-councillors), and was destroyed on several occasions by violent fires (1653, 1817, 1964).« Place du Martouret » is the square where the original miraculous statue of the Black Virgin was set on fire and destroyed on 8th June 1794.
Located in the courtyard of the Hôtel du département, Saint-Alexis chapel was built in 1752 and was the chapel of the former General Hospital. Light shows will be projected on the chapel showing the main tourist attractions of the Haute-Loire region.