Vézelay: village, basilica and the eternal hill
When you arrive in Vézelay, known as the "eternal hill", it will become obvious that you will need to climb to the top! Along your way, you will be amazed by your surroundings, where pilgrims from all over Europe have been coming for the past 1,000 years.
The destination owes its reputation and wealth to this spiritual history: for centuries, thousands of pilgrims came here to worship the relics of Saint Madeleine before carrying on along the Way of St. James.
As you wander around the village, you might recognise scenes from French film La Grande Vadrouille. Winegrowers and Renaissance houses and cobbled streets have all been perfectly preserved. You'll arrive at the foot of the basilica without even realising you've reached the top.
When faced with the view, you'll realise that it was well worth the effort! It comes as no surprise that this monument of Christianity, a masterpiece of Romanesque art, magnificently restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century, is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. And we haven't even mentioned the unforgettable view of the Morvan!
In the autumn
Autumn is the perfect season to come and explore Vézelay. When the morning mist subsides, leaving behind it a peaceful landscape.
The sun was coming up. There was still a thick mist hanging over the valley, and I could see the treetops piercing through it here and there. Up above, the village stood, like a pyramid reflecting the light. […] It was a magnificent sight, and it was full of admiration that I made for the church of St. Madeleine.
Extract from "Notes from a trip in the south of France" where he speaks of when he arrived in Vézelay, a place which was then in ruins, and he decided to bring it back from the ashes.
Places to visit nearby: Avallon and the Morvan
A mere stone's throw from Vézelay, you'll find yourself in the pretty fortified town of Avallon. You'll enjoy wandering past the half-timbered houses, clock tower and terraced gardens.
Then head to the Morvan for the natural part of your trip in this lush-green environment. Go hiking in the forest, swimming in a lake or journey back to the time of the Gauls in Bibracte.