According to the Codex Calixtinus, pilgrims should at least visit these three saints on their journey to Santiago: Mary Magdalene (Vézelay), Leonardus (of Noblat) and Frontus (Périgueux).
The Codex also refers to Leonard as: ‘Sanctum Leonardum Lemovicensem’ (Saint Leonard of Limousin). Hence the Latin name of this pilgrim route: Via Lemovicensis.
The route covers a wide variety of landscape and passes many historical sites and monuments..
In December 1998, the Vézelay Route was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the pilgrim routes through France to Santiago de Compostela.
The Vézelay Route is a relatively quiet route, with simple but sufficient facilities, small-scale accommodation (hostels managed by Confraternities of Saint James, municipalities, religious institutions and private persons), and home hospitality ('by pilgrims for pilgrims').
The Vézelay Route (in French: "Voie de Vézelay") is approximately 900 km long.
From Vézelay there are two main variants: via Nevers and via Bourges. These come together after almost 300 km in the village of Gargilesse.
If you like culture, the variant via Bourges might be more interesting (in particular: Charité-sur-Loire and Bourges).
If you like nature, you might prefer the Nevers variant, which is more undulating and varied.
- from Nevers there is an abbreviation via Augy-sur-Aubois to Ainay-le-Château (see map: 1),
- from Périgueux there is a variant via Bergerac to Sainte-Foy-la-Grande (see map: 3).
Since 2011, there are new agreements about the marking of pilgrim routes through France, by a yellow shell on a blue background and by a double marking in the same colors. (The shell does not indicate any direction; the 'point' must always be on the left). All 'old' markings have been or will gradually be replaced.
Please note: the Gironde department (part 4 on the map) uses its own system. There the yellow shell on blue background is used in combination with other markings.
In larger cities along the way you will find an additional marking, in the form of bronze shells, on the sidewalk or road surface.
- On our Tracks & guides page you will find: a digital map, including the facilities, for the entire Vézelay Route. You can download the corresponding files. There you will also find guides to this route.
- On our Confraternities page you will find: additional regional information (including historical information) as well as information about the preparation of your journey, the pilgrim passport, etc.
- the website of the Confraternity of Saint James UK. In March 2019 an article (PDF) about the Vézelay Route was published in the eBulletin 145 of the Confraternity,
- the website of the American Pilgrims on the Camino.