The history-themed walk

Enjoy the countryside surrounding Vezelay and discover its' key figures

Come and walk in the footsteps of pligrims, and set foot on the very ground where the Cruisaders gathered around St.Bernard. Crest the summit of the very same hills climbed by thousands of pilgrims as they made their way to Compostella, and discover the breath-taking views over the surrounding countryside...this is a vivid and natural way of getting in touch with History. The guide describes famous characters from Vézelay's history as you walk along. For adult groups arriving from a long journey the walk is a very enjoyable way to arrive. For school groups this activity will contributes to constructive concentration when visiting Vezelay. 

Vezelay randonné


Following in the pilgrims' footsteps

Vezelay view from afar

The physical exercise that the walk provides, together with the opportunity of seeing the countryside from a historical perspective, forms an excellent introduction to discovery Vézelay's heritage. You will leave from the foot of the hill, before setting out on the paths through the vines or from the ramparts of the town, in order to start the steady climb up to the summit. 

En route, we will discuss :

  • The origins of the pilgrimage to St James of Compostella, the walking conditions in the middle ages, and the circumstances that spurred so many men, women and young people to take part in the risky journey....
  • The figure of Saint Mary Magdalen, her path and her teaching.
  • Her relics and the impact they had in historic terms, and on the influence of Vézelay
  • The crusades and the chivalric code
  • The spirit of St Francis of Assisi present in the encounter with different peoples and idea
  • Vézelay during the turmoil of the Wars of Religion, and Vézelay as a strong-hold of the faith.

Practical Advice

The walk does not present any particular difficulties. The itinerary and the nature of the route taken etc. are adapted according to the age of those wishing to take part. You can also make the walk alone, or indeed finish your day with a walk of your own devising.

At the summit of the hill, the final stage of the march, the panorama and its esplanade at the foot of the Basilica are very well suited to picnics, depending on the season and weather.

Vezelay evening light