Camino Challenge

Camino Challenge

Week 2
 
Right before entering the village of Montbonnet is the ancient chapel of Saint-Roch.
This tiny church has welcomed pilgrims since the tenth century, although it has been restored several times since then. Inside the chapel is a statue of Saint-Roch (on the right, carrying a pilgrim staff), a doctor from Montpelier who fell ill with the plague while on a pilgrimage to Rome. Legend tells us that after retreating to the forest to die, he was befriended by a dog who fed him from his owner’s table. Roch recovered and returned to Montpelier. There, he was arrested as a spy and died in prison five years later. Roch became the patron saint of pilgrims—and dogs—and this is the first of many chapels along the route that will bear his name.
 
Week 1
 
Before we leave Le Puy en Velay, we’ll visit another high point within the city.
On the smaller peak, ‘l’Aiguilhe’ (the needle), a small hermitage was built in the year 969 AD. Today the chapel of Saint Michel de l’Aiguilhe is perched on that basalt peak and is accessed by a flight of 268 steps. It replaced an earlier Roman dolmen dedicated to Mercury, although three of the dolmen stones are thought to have been used in the constriction of the beautiful Romanesque church. Its façade consisted of an intricate pattern of polychrome stones. There are many legends associated with the commune, including that it was visited by one of the most famous Christian saints, St George.