A few minutes' walk from the city center, the monumental statue of Notre-Dame de France is a technical feat that astonishes visitors. It has dominated the town of Puy-en-Velay since 1860 and remains the most visited monument in the Haute-Loire department with nearly 100.000 visitors each year. Created with the metal of 213 cannons taken from the Russians during the Crimean War and offered by Napoleon III to the town of Puy en Velay, it fascinates with its stature at the top of the Corneille rock: it measures 22,70 m high and weighs 835 tonnes!

The imposing Notre-Dame de France statue dominates the town of Puy-en-Velay

What does the Notre-Dame de France statue represent?

The Notre-Dame de France statue represents the Virgin Mary with a crown of stars. She stands facing the town of Puy-en-Velay and crushes a snake with her foot, holding on her right arm the Child Jesus who blesses the town. Its Blavozy arkose pedestal measures 6,70 meters high. A stone staircase composed of 33 steps is arranged in the pedestal and provides access to the interior of the statue which is hollow and includes a rotating cast iron staircase of 58 steps and which provides access to the crown of the Virgin.

She's one of the essential monuments in the history of the City of Puy-en-Velay. At the start of the pilgrimage to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, Le Puy-en-Velay is a Marian city, a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Open. Closes at 19:30 p.m.
10 Cloister Street
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Calculate my route

A natural and volcanic pedestal

The Corneille Rock is a basalt neck 132 meters high culminating at an altitude of 741 meters in Puy-en-Velay, on which the statue of Notre-Dame de France is erected. It comes from the lower part of the chimney of an ancient volcano. The rock represents the vestige of an atypical volcanic chimney, made up of a filling of panels collapsed during successive eruptions. The historic center of Puy-en-Velay is located at its base, as is the Grand Séminaire woods.

The History of the Notre-Dame de France statue

In 1850, the bishop of Puy Joseph de Morlhon wanted to erect a monumental statue dedicated to the Virgin Mary on Corneille Rock. In 1853, a major competition was organized and among the many sculpting artists, the work of Jean-Marie Bonnassieux, originally from the Loire but based in Paris, was selected. Although a national subscription was launched, it was thanks to the donation from Emperor Napoleon III and the casting of 213 cannons from the Battle of Sevastopol won by the French over the Russians in 1855 during the Crimean War , that the statue can be built.

The tallest in the world…in 1886

Made by a foundry in Givors, the Notre-Dame de France statue is a true technical feat of the 19th century. It was inaugurated on September 12, 1860. It was then the tallest in the world – but was dethroned in 1886 by the Statue of Liberty in New York.

View of the Notre-Dame de France statue in Puy-en-Velay

VISIT WITH PASS' CARD IN VELAY

Pass' Card in Velay is a single, pre-paid ticket that gives access to 3 or 5 visits during your stay.

For a single shared ticket, you visit at a preferential rate:

  • The Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe rock and its chapel
  • The Notre-Dame de France statue
  • The Fortress of Polignac
  • The Crozatier museum
  • The cloister of Puy-en-Velay Cathedral

PRACTICAL TIPS

How do you get to the Notre-Dame de France statue?

The Notre-Dame de France statue is located rue du Cloître, in the old town of Puy-en-Velay. The equipped climb, punctuated by interpretation panels, is easily accessible on foot. From the esplanade, you overlook the town of Puy-en-Velay and its surroundings.

When was the statue built?  

The Notre-Dame de France statue was erected in 1856 and then inaugurated in 1860.

How long does the visit last?

It takes around 10 minutes to access the large platform which dominates the town of Puy-en-Velay. Access to the interior of the statue is possible, right up to the crown!

OPENINGS

Opening hours from July 01 to August 31, 2024
Monday Open from 09 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Tuesday Open from 09 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Wednesday Open from 09 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Thursday Open from 09 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Friday Open from 09 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Saturday Open from 09 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Sunday Open from 09 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Opening hours from September 01 to September 30, 2024
Monday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Tuesday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Wednesday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Thursday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Friday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Saturday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Sunday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Closure from 01/10 for work until spring 2026
Opening hours from January 02 to January 07, 2025
Monday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Tuesday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Thursday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Friday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Saturday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Sunday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
except bad weather
Opening hours from January 08 to January 31, 2025
Sunday Open from 14 a.m. to 17 p.m.
except bad weather
Opening hours from February 01 to March 15, 2025
Monday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Tuesday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Wednesday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Thursday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Friday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Saturday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Sunday Open from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Opening hours from March 16 to April 30, 2025
Monday Open from 09 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Tuesday Open from 09 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Wednesday Open from 09 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Thursday Open from 09 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Friday Open from 09 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Saturday Open from 09 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Sunday Open from 09 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Opening hours from May 01 to June 30, 2025
Monday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Tuesday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Wednesday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Thursday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Friday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Saturday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Sunday Open from 09 a.m. to 19 p.m.

PRICES

Prices Min. Max.
Adult
4 € -
Kids

2 € -
Student fee
2 € -
Jobseeker
2 € -
Adult group

2.5 € -
Children group

1.5 € -

Was this content useful to you?