Today was a rest day and at first we were tired and thinking we needed another day but once we got out and about seeing the sights we were invigorated. Our first stop was the Cathedral which has a rich history and dates back to the 10 th Century(of course!). It is unusual in that two colours of stone have been used in its construction and it has a central stairway of 110 steps from the street into the nave of the church. It also has a black Madonna at the main Altar and is reputed to be built on the place where some miracles occurred.
There is also a big statue of Saint James(Jacques).
Le Puy is a major commencement route for the Camino in France. We saw lots of pilgrims around town and we purchased our own ‘ Pilgrim’s Passport ‘ from here. They allow us to use the special Gîtes for pilgrims. They are cheaper than other accommodation.
Next stop was the Notre Dame of France a forerunner for the Statue of Liberty. It was constructed out of iron from cannons taken from the enemy (Russia) during the Crimean War by Napoleon III. The statue stands on a volcanic pinnacle, the Corneille Rock which was the highest point in town. Peter, Karen and I climbed all the way to the head. Peter took the ladder to climb the last bit and stick his head through to see through the crown of stars. I thought I had gone far enough and would look out the little view ports. Trouble was I was too short and couldn’t reach any of the holes! All that effort, 252 steps and didn’t see a thing! The views from the base were great though. Our Lady of France symbolises the victory of good over evil. It is unusual for a statue, the Virgin holds the Child in her right arm so he can bless the town without hiding the face of the mother.
Next stop the chapel of St Michael perched on another volcanic pinnacle. It’s a little like a cave inside, very simple. Another 250 odd steps up!
We continued to wander around the medieval part of town seeing markets and lace makers, little statues in the walls which were unusual.
We came across an interesting vegetarian restaurant, a rarity, which we booked for dinner. I went off to visit the Camino exhibit while Andy and Karen went looking for gloves and Peter took a nap.
The weather bureau has forecast snow tomorrow and we are not really set up for that. We have two sets of gloves between four and mine are too small and not waterproof. In the meantime there is a light show on some of the buildings tonight which we are looking forward to seeing.
The vegetarian restaurant was excellent. We had the most delicious amuse bouche of extremely light asparagus cream on strawberries in a little cone. I had a burger with haricot beans, courgettes, and onion cream surrounded by purple potatoes on rocket. The others had lentil lasagne and salad. We were all so hungry that we forgot to take a photo! What was particularly interesting was the family of four who arrived with their border collie dog. The waitress brought the dog a bowl of water before even taking any orders. This was inside the restaurant! How different from Australia. The only places banned to dogs have been the Church and the Supermarket. The other thing I find outstanding are the good manners exhibited by almost everyone. A person comes into a bar and shakes hands and says bonjour to everyone, even us. Walking up the street people say bonjour. It is so civilised and friendly.
After dinner when we set out to watch the light show we saw one and then it started to rain, heavier and heavier. Our enthusiasm waned and we scuttled home. It was late for us at 11.45 pm.
We packed up ready for an early departure.