Near Massiac, worship of the Virgin is widespread, but Laurie deserves to be given greater prominence. A pilgrimage is traditionally organised on Whit Monday: today, it takes place under the chestnut trees in the square in front of the church. The Virgin is then brought out and presented to the faithful gathered for the occasion.
Listed as a Historic Monument since 1908, the Virgin in Majesty of Laurie has always been of great interest to churchgoers and admirers of religious art.
This smiling Virgin bears witness to a Mother’s first tenderness towards her Son, embodied in a statue.
Legend has it that she protected the parishioners from the plague, leading the inhabitants of Blesle to place themselves under her protection in the 14th century. The people of Blesle still go to Laurie to venerate and pray to the Virgin.
Church of Laurie
The story begins in 1962: schoolchildren from the village of Auriac-l'Eglise were listening to their teacher, Alphonse Vinatié, as he gave a lesson on Tumulus. Two fifth-grade pupils decided to explore a large mound near their village and discovered a 3500-year-old protohistoric tomb. Following this episode, Alphonse Vinatié, an archaeology enthusiast, studied the site, which turned out to be a tumulus belonging to a long necropolis that began on the heights of Blesle and ended at the Brèches de Giniol (1,269 m), on a thousand-year-old transhumance route.
Village of Laurie
In the 19th century, Château de Laurie was destroyed by fire. Only a model made by a farmer has survived from this period. The Châtelaine married an English aristocrat and from this union was born George Onslow, a renowned musician whose works are regularly heard across the world. In the same family, there is the painter Edouard Onslow, Georges’ nephew, whose paintings of everyday life in the Auvergne are unanimously acclaimed. Some are on display at the museums, Musée de la Haute Auvergne in Saint-Flour and Musée Alfred Douët.
Take a look at the magnificent village of Lussaud a little higher up, which reflects the architecture of a mountain village with its lauze roofs and the determination of its inhabitants to preserve its distinctive architectural features and heritage. Two statues in the church have been restored thanks to donations from private individuals and with the help of the Fondation du Patrimoine (statues of Sainte Madeleine and the Immaculate Conception). For lovers of the heritage of the Sianne Valley, the Cézallier Vallée de la Sianne Association showcases the area’s outstanding heritage through exhibitions and events.
Landscapes at Laurie
Today, the Auberge de Laurie is a place where locals and visitors alike can meet and enjoy a friendly meal. The campsite in the middle of the pines is a place to recharge your batteries, where the sunrise will delight early risers and offer a magnificent view of the Sianne valley. As for the stopover gîte, it is an ideal place for hikers on the Tour des Vaches Rouges to stop for one or more nights.
Tour des Vaches Rouges
Laurie video - ©Denis NOMARY