SAINT-MICHEL D'AIGUILHE ROCK AND CHAPEL

 

Historical sites and monuments, City of historical and artistic interest, Town, Statue, Chapel, Preroman, Romanesque

Rue du Rocher
43000 Aiguilhe

This is one of the most important pre-Romanesque and Romanesque monuments in Auvergne. Prosper Mérimée included the building in the first list of Historic Monuments drawn up in 1840. More recently, it came fourth in the list of French people’s favourite monuments in 2014. Godescalc, the Bishop of Puy, and Truannus, the dean of the chapter of Puy Cathedral, commissioned work on a chapel devoted to St Michael in 961. Godescalc was also the first French pilgrim to follow the Way of St James in about 950, inaugurating the "Via Podiensis" trail to Santiago de Compostela. The original oratory in this imposing structure was limited to today’s choir area. It was enveloped in a larger monument in the 12th century, built to follow the outlines of the rock’s summit. The extended chapel was built without foundations, and contains a nave, an ambulatory and a tribune, along with a remarkable polychrome and trefoil-shaped facade. In the 19th century, Prosper Mérimée ordered the whitewash covering the murals in the Chapel to be cleaned. The task was given to the painter and restorer Anatole Dauvergne, who also made drawings of the wall paintings. More recently, these drawings were used to restore the murals that had become obscured by dirt and time. In 1955, a treasure was found beneath the altar, consisting of holy objects (a Romanesque Christ made of olive wood, a silver pectoral cross, an urn reliquary, fabrics and an ivory case). New in 2019: See the Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe rock in a new light – 3D Immersion and Experience 2.0 In the digital and interactive age, visitors want to enjoy a unique visiting experience! To welcome members of the public who are unable to come here personally and to attract “digital natives” a real (r)evolution was needed! This new, fun and interactive area will inspire people to visit the monument and look at the original work with fresh eyes. The new staging provides a virtual visit and a total immersion in the “#Saint-MichaelBox” This is not just a visit, it is a new experience! Ecotourism: The small chapel stands on an extinct volcano pipe. It is over a thousand years old and always has a striking effect on visitors. The emotion people feel, the magnificent panoramic view and the impressive 268 steps might lead you to overlook certain details. The beauty of the steps, with clear signs of how many people have climbed them, is maintained by weeding by hand. Every evening, particular care is taken to pick up cigarette butts, paper and other litter. The St Michael Space (at the site entrance) hosts a wide range of temporary exhibitions, always involving local projects or artists. The reception area at the foot of the rock is enhanced by fruit trees planted by local schoolchildren as part of an educational project. Today, just like yesterday, the St-Michael Rock is a mythical site right at the heart of local life. "Download the document " to see the programme for school groups.

Online booking

Opening times

From 01/02/2019 to the 15/11/2019

Prices

Group rate
3 €
Group rate
1,5 €
Adult
3,5 €
Child rate
2 €

Languages spoken

English

Payment methods

Credit card, Postal or bank cheques, Holiday discount vouchers

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