Nearly 6 hours from Paris, Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe church is located on the top of the extinct crater. Today, this is one of the most famous landmarks in France.
Located on an 84 m high crater node, the Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe church was built to commemorate St. Michel. Visitors can admire the whole scene of the beautiful and poetic Le Puy-en-Velay valley from above. To come here, you must climb 268 steps carved from stone.
The church was built in 962 by the bishop of Gothescalk Puy-en-Velay, shortly after he returned from the pilgrimage to Saint Jacques de Compostela. Earlier, this place was used by the Romans to worship Mercury, one of the 12 gods living on the top of Plympus in Greece.
The entire main structure of the church is built of stone with solid foundations, standing for thousands of years.
In the 12th century, the church expanded by building more chapels, bell towers, galleries … At that time, the 10th century frescoes were gradually restored and repainted.
After the collapse in 1275, the bell tower was rebuilt in the 19th century. Archaeologists have discovered a collection of sacred artifacts. They found an 11th-century wooden cross and a Byzantine metal cross. Today, visitors can see objects on display behind an iron curtain on the wall.
Currently, the church attracts many pilgrims, becoming the starting point of one of the main roads to Santiago de Compostela.