La Chaise-Dieu - Encyclopedia

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LA CHAISE-DIEU, a town of central France, in the department of Haute Loire, 29 m. N.N.W. of Le Puy by rail. Pop. (1906) 1203. The town, which is situated among fir and pine woods, 3500 ft. above the sea, preserves remains of its ramparts and some houses of the 14th and 15th centuries, but owes its celebrity to a church, which, after the cathedral of ClermontFerrand, is the most remarkable Gothic building in Auvergne. The west facade, approached by a flight of steps, is flanked by two massive towers. The nave and aisles are of equal height and are separated from the choir by a stone rood screen. The choir, terminating in an apse with radiating chapel, contains the fine tomb and statue of Clement VI., carved stalls and some admirable Flemish tapestries of the early 16th century. There is a ruined cloister on the south side. The church, which dates from the 14th century, was built at the expense of Pope Clement VI., and belonged to a powerful Benedictine abbey founded in 1043. There are spacious monastic buildings of the 18th century. The abbey was formerly defended by fortifications, the chief survival of which is a lofty rectangular keep to the south of the choir. Trade in timber and the making of lace chiefly occupy the inhabitants of the town.

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