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Blesle
Haute-Loire, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

After the storm. Light reveals traces of the spiritual and temporal powers of Blesle’s illustrious past, with the church of Saint-Pierre, remnants of the 10th-century Benedictine abbey, and the castle keep built by the Barons of Mercœur, the town’s lords who were engaged in trading goods. Nestled in a narrow valley marked by babbling brooks, Blesle has retained its gentle way of life. ©Philippe Gilibert

Blesle Haute-Loire, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes 53
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An hour south of Clermont-Ferrand is the small Auvergne town of Blesle. This medieval village reveals the foundations of a merchant city with remarkable economic vitality. Its former manors used to be very prosperous. Their expansion was partly due to building the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Pierre, in the 9th century. Its painted ceilings, gilded liturgical vestments, and religious statuaries are an illustration of the village’s cultural influence. Today, Blesle is still steeped in this medieval atmosphere, thanks to its fortress and dungeon, its towers and enclosure wall built in the 13th by the barons of Mercoeur, as well as the timber-framed houses, quaint bridges, and sculpted doors which embellish the whole village. Nestled in a narrow valley marked by babbling brooks, Blesle has retained its gentle way of life and bucolic atmosphere. Listed as one of France’s Loveliest Villages, Blesle continues to offer a remarkable cultural, historic, and gastronomic heritage while living to the rhythm of “musical aperitifs” in August, which is now unmissable.