On the edge of the Avallonais, Vézelay is a major site for Christianity and a charming hilltop village. The climb to the basilica is almost a rite of passage. Over the centuries many artists and writers have found inspiration here. Spiritual, literary or poetic – the essence of Romanesque art prevails...
In the 12th century Bernard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade in Vézelay. The village harboured the relics of Mary-Magdalene and became a major spiritual centre on the Santiago de Compostella pilgrim way.
At its height Vézelay had a population of nearly 10,000 people, including pilgrims from all over Europe. Its cellars with their tall pillars provided shelter for more people than the houses could hold!
But these numbers rapidly declined. Ruined by the Hundred Years war,
the town was further weakened by the Wars of Religion. Used as a quarry after the French Revolution, the basilica was saved in extremis by Prosper Mérimée.
Whether you come to the foot of Vézelay by car, on horseback or on foot along the famous GR 654 footpath, one of the great Santiago de Compostella routes, be sure to savour every moment of your ascent to the basilica:
From June to September, the basilica resounds to sacred music concerts, the most prestigious being held in August during the “Rencontres de Vézelay" festival.
Totally enraptured? Don't forget to feed the body as well as the soul. At the foot of the hill, Marc Meneau's Michelin starred restaurant, L'Espérance, is one of the finest places to eat in Burgundy.
Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay, Vézelay, Montréal or Pierre-Perthuis, these gateways to the Avallonais are sure to enchant you.
Vézelay Tourist Information office is on the main street, halfway up to the basilica.
Vézelay Tourist Information office is open from 1st June to 30th September:
- 10am-1pm & 2-6pm
Closed: Thursdays, 1st October to 31st May, and Sundays, All Saints Day to Easter.
|From 27/04/2014 to 05/10/2014|
|Festival des Giboulées|
|From 01/05/2014 to 03/05/2014|
|Foire aux plantes rares|
|From 10/05/2014 to 11/05/2014|
|Fêtes médiévales du Roi chaussé et fêtes de la Bague à Semur en Auxois|
|From 24/05/2014 to 31/05/2014|
|Coupes Moto Légende|
|From 31/05/2014 to 01/06/2014|