The birth of a pilgrimage town... At the heart of a country bristling with mountains, nestled in the center of a hollow volcanic Le Puy -Sainte-Marie was a strange city as geology and history have shaped it. The legend told that the fall of the Roman Empire, the Visigoth and Frankish invasions devastated the country and destroyed the small Gallo-Roman village Ruessium who had implanted in the open plains along the path laid by Bolène Latin to connect Lugdunum in Tolosa. Its inhabitants have fled, or at least looked for a less exposed to the passage of troops there. They would then be moved a few miles away, on the heights of Mount Anicium which rises to one hundred and thirty meters. A myth carefully nurtured by the canons of the collegiate church of Ruessium reluctant to give in to old village episcopal they had prior to St. George. A rumor that Peter ended 4th ensuring the translation of the relics of the saint and those of St. Hilary in Puy in 1162. Yet Anicium had always existed, a Gallo-Roman town which drew its foundation centuries ago, erected thereafter capital city of Vellaves, the name of this Gallic people who lived in Velay on the eastern tip of Aquitaine. However that might be, the village of Anicium, Christianized in the 4th century, grew in importance with its church dedicated to Mary, the latter enjoying all the rights and concessions of the domain by the grace of the Earl of Auvergne and Velay. Which quickly made the wealth of the cathedral church, being an important pilgrimage at the end of the first millennium. If the original village built around the church building was protected by walls, becoming therefore the episcopal residence called " high city " or " cloister ", this did not prevent the lower town, the suburbium Aniciensi, to grow on the side of Mount Anicium with traders, artisans and innkeepers who were able to take advantage of the pilgrims by providing housing, food, and, on occasion, devotional objects. Strong economic activity that led to the construction of a popular housing also located outside the walls of the upper town, usually around monasteries. Honored by the visit of kings and popes, known far beyond the borders of Velay his pilgrimage to the Church of Our Lady, the town, built in tiers on the volcanic slopes of Mount dominated by Corneille rock, gradually lost its original name, Anicium the benefit of Puy- Sainte-Marie. (From : The Children of Durandus - Pierre Grammat ).
St. Michael's Chapel : Perched on an old volcano chimney was called the Aiguilhe -high two hundred and fifty feet wide and one hundred and seventy to eight feet at its base, the St. Michael's Chapel was a humble chapel consists of three apses, dedicated to the Archangel, built in the 10th century by Truannus chapter of the Dean, who had donated to the bishopric. An architectural feat completed by a staircase of some two hundred and sixty to eight steps carved spiral around the peak, which was elevated to church in the 12th century when the modest monument was extended to the limits of the needle. This expansion, made some decades earlier had helped build a tower and a new facade and marble inlays of red brick and blue stones over which watched five reliefs depicting John, Holy Virgin, God, the archangel Michael and St. Peter. A volcanic remnant that commands respect, full of legends and myths. In the village, as it was said of old, a young virgin had been suspected of turpitude and that it, calling the judgment of God, had projected the top of the needle. And had demonstrated its purity réchappant to the steep fall. But the girl, pushed by a crowd urging him to repeat this miracle, swollen with pride and pretension, jumped for a second time. Alas, this time the hand of God does not rescued the girl and crashed to the bottom of the peak, a place that is now called " the leap from virgin ". (From : The Children of Durandus - Pierre Grammat ).