A New Podcast – the Auvergne – Part 1

Words can’t do justice to the beauty of the spring countryside in the Auvergne with its fields of yellow dandelions, meadows, volcanic peaks and herds of cattle blending peacefully under a deep blue sky. In the fall, the autumn colors fill the valleys and mountains.

This central highlands of France is also home to many of the greatest Romanesque churches – the Cathédrale Notre Dame of Le Puy, the Basilique Saint Julien in Brioude, Saint Austremoine in Issoire, Orcival, Saint Nectaire, and so many more. The richness of the Romanesque bounty is something that we can explore every year when we travel to France.

Auvergne landscape, photo by Dennis Aubrey

Here are some links to articles we have written about the Auvergne:

In the Shadow of Le Puy
Notre Dame du Port
Église Saint Laurent d’Auzon
The Abbey Church of Saint Austremoine, Issoire
Lux Aeterna

This podcast can also be found at the following hosting sites along with all of our other previous episodes.


Please listen and if you are so inclined, follow and comment. We are anxious for feedback on this newest Via Lucis venture.

5 thoughts on “A New Podcast – the Auvergne – Part 1

  1. I have only visited the Auvergne once when staying with friends in Saint-Etienne in 1964. I remember it vividly however especially the climb up to the Cathedral of Le Puy. At that time there were still ladies sitting in the street making lace. I had been looking forward to seeing the statue of Notre-Dame-du-Puy in the Cathedral but ended up disappointed as it was Holy Week and all the statues were of course shrouded in purple!

    Your podcasts are making me want to return to this magnificent area of France but not during Holy Week!

    1. Elizabeth, I always recalled the lacemakers as well … the last year we were there we saw two women making the lace on chairs out on the streets. They were wearing their traditional costumes as well so it made me think that this was the touristic remnant of that vibrant tradition. Glad we remind you of good times in the Auvergne, we had a great time reminiscing.

  2. I have been googling the Vierge Noire of Le Puy as I was curious to know whether she is still black or whether she has suffered the fate of the Vierge du Pilier in Chartres. I cannot find any mention of a restoration but have found that the statue is actually a copy as the original was burnt in 1792. In the back of the original statue was found a document covered in Egyptian hieroglyphics – most intriguing. Interestingly the seemingly logical theory of the blackened Madonnas being due to candle smoke seems to be no longer accepted as this has not happened to all statues over the years before which candles have been lit. I used to think they were black due to having been carved out of ebony being a very hard durable wood.

    1. Elizabeth, there are two black madonnas in Le Puy. In the north chapel there is a copy made from the 1777 drawings of Faujas de Saint-Fons. If you are interested, here is a link to an article where our photograph of this madonna got the cover of a French science magazine. There is a second black madonna over the altar, another supposed copy of the original but nothing like the Saint Fons version. There is a third version in the gift shop at the Cathedral.

      As for the blackness, there are many reasons for this to occur. Some were intentionally black, others darkened wood like pear, others smoke and grime. Our podcast and articles on the black madonnas go into this in more detai.

      1. Thanks for the link to the magazine cover – magnificent! No I did not know there were two Black Madonnas in Le Puy – the only one pointed out to me was the one over the altar hidden under her Holy Week purple veiling.

        I will now have to search for more of your posts on the Black Madonnas. I wonder if we have any in Britain – I have never seen any. If we did have they were probably destroyed during the Reformation.

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