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Over 1000 years old French church built on a volcano

Fri, 06 Mar 2020. Last updated Fri, 06 Mar 2020 15:41

The French church, Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe is a chapel in Aiguilhe, near Le Puy-en-Velay, France. The chapel is reached by 268 steps carved into the rock. It was built in 969 on a volcanic plug 85 metres high.

It is about 6 hours drive from Paris, Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe is located on top of an inactive volcano. Nowadays, the church is one of the most famous attractions in France.

 Chapel Saint Michel d Aiguilhe

Located on a volcano’s mouth at the height of 85 meters, Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe was built to memorize St. Michel. Tourists to France to admire the panoramic view of the beautiful Le Puy-en-Velay valley from above. To reach the church, you have to step on 268 stones as staircase.

Exterior and facade of Chapel Saint Michel d Aiguilhe

The church was built in 962 by Bishop Gothescalk Puy-en-Velay, after he came back from his pilgrimage to Saint Jacques de Compostela. Previously, the place was used for adoring Mercury, one of 12 Gods living in Olympus in Greece.

Inside Saint Michel d Aiguilhe

The whole architecture of the church is made of stone with solid foundations, sustains over thousands of years.

In the 12th century, the church was expanded with a chapel, a bell tower,  and a showroom,... at that time, frescoes of the 10th century were restored and repainted. 

Panoramic view of Saint Michel d Aiguilhe

After the collapse in 1275, the bell tower was rebuilt in the 19th century. Archaeologists discovered many collections of sacred artifacts. They found a 11th century wooden cross and a Byzantine-era metal cross. Nowadays, tourists have a chance to admire objects displayed after an iron curtain on the wall.

Currently, the church attracts a lot of pilgrims, and becomes a starting point on one of the main routes to Santiago de Compostela. 

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