Puy-en-Velay, Le

Puy-en-Velay, Le

(lə püē`-äN-vəlā`), city (1990 pop. 23,434), capital of Haute-Loire dept., S central France. Le Puy-en-Velay is the center of an old lace industry, as well as traditional brewing and leather industries. It was an old capital of VelayVelay
, region, E central France, in the Massif Central and partly in Haute-Loire dept. Partly volcanic in origin, the region has many high arid plateaus, some of startling beauty.
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 and an episcopal see from the 6th cent. The city grew after its shrine to the Virgin became (10th cent.) a major place of pilgrimage. The modern section of the city lies below a bare rock, which, towering almost 500 ft (152 m) above the city, is capped by a bronze statue of the Virgin. Immediately at the foot of the rock lies the old city, with a cathedral (12th cent.) of extraordinarily daring construction, an 11th-century baptistery, and numerous Gothic buildings. Atop a lesser, needle-shaped rock is the Romanesque Church of St. Michel d'Aiguilhe, and at its foot is an 11th-century chapel.
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