Le Puy Cathedral: Overall view of facade seen through narrow street
It has been a center of pilgrimage in its own right since before the time of Charlemagne, who visited twice. Pilgrimages from Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela began as early as the 6th century. This city became the starting location for one of the four main pilgrimage routes, specifically for German and Teutonic pilgrims. The cathedral forms the highest point of the city, rising from the foot of the Rocher Corneille, and contains architecture of every period from the fifth century to the fifteenth, although the majority is from the first half of the 12th century. The façade, striped in courses of white sandstone and black volcanic breccia, is reached by a flight of sixty steps, and consists of three orders. The four galleries of the striking parti-colored (detached) cloister were constructed from the Carolingian period to the twelfth century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, as part of the "Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France".