16 March 2019

La chapelle perchée du Puy

I posted one close-up photo of the Chapelle Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe in Auvergne at Le Puy-en-Velay a few days ago, and you can also see it in several of the panoramic views of the town over the past week. We came back from Le Puy a week ago today. It was a place that I had wanted to see for years.

Here are three more views that I think might give a better impression of how highly "perched" this thousand-year-old chapel actually is. I took the photo above from street level right at the base of the old volcanic chimney, called une aiguille ("a needle"), on March 5.

The chapel took 12 years to build, starting in the year 969. That alone is pretty amazing. The rock "needle" is more than 80 meters (270 feet) tall. The towers of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris are 69 meters tall. The floor of the church on top of the Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy is 78 meters above sea level.

I'm sorry we weren't able to climb the 268 steps, carved into the stone of the needle, to go to the top. We walked around the base of it again on March 7, and that's when I took the two pictures directly above. We were coming down the hill that the cathedral stands on.


  1. Building that was quite an accomplishment! I can't imagine that being built today. There has to be a road on the other side.

  2. So glad you got to see this site! The pictures are really good ones and the weather looks fine.

  3. How ever did they build that more than a thousand years ago without all the modernday tools and equipment? Baffling, and it never ceases to amaze me. Beautiful pictures, Ken. Shame you couldn't go up and visit the chapel + enjoy the view.


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