Rodez Cathedral : greater than the pyramids!
Engraved in Latin on the South Tower of Rodez Cathedral is the following exhortation: "Begone, pyramids of Egypt; vanish, marvels of the universe! Let us admire the beauty of this august, holy and hallowed place."
This inscription was meant to accompany the erection of the second bell tower, which in the end was never built. This statement of impassioned lyricism could just as easily refer to the existing bell tower: built in the Flamboyant Gothic style, the 87-metre-high tower has dominated the town since 1570.
La Vinzelle Church : a thunderbolt from the blue
Sightseeing in Rodez, a Great Tourist Site in Midi-Pyrénées : for more information, click here.
If you are visiting Conques, a Great Tourist Site in Midi-Pyrénées, continue for another 15 km to La Vinzelle.
This village, described as, "a bright pearl set in stone," has a Romanesque church with a freestanding bell tower
. The bell tower was built in the 15th century to house La Campana Bella, an enormous bell weighing 1,250 kg. It was originally erected near the church gate, but made such a deafening noise that it disturbed the church services, and so it was that a separate bell tower was built for it.
Not so long ago, La Campana Bella would be rung whenever a thunderstorm was brewing, since the sound waves it produced were able to chase away the clouds charged with electricity or hail stones, often to the detriment of the neighbouring villages, who complained. However, one day the bell tower was beaten at its own game when it was struck by lightning. The roof was replaced and La Campana Bella still rings to this day, but only on special occasions.