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Vía Lemovicensis (Vézelay)

General Description: The Vía Lemovicensis (Vézelay) is one of the four medieval pilgrim routes described in the Codex Calixtinus in the 12th century. ~900 km starting in Vézelay (Burgundy) to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port the small town where three of the French routes converge. The route divides leaving Vézelay, one branch going through Nevers and the other through Bourges. After reuniting at the village of Gargilesse the route passes through Limoges and Mont de Marsan to Ostabat, the small town where three of the French routes converge a short distance north of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Waymarking: The route is waymarked in some sections but not so well in others. Generally the marking is with the European contemporary "scallop shell" symbol. These markings are not in place in all of or parts of the départements of Gironde, Cher and Indre. And be aware that GR 654, confusingly known as the Sentier de Saint-Jacques - Voie de Vézelay, traverses a path that is similar to but not the same as the Vía Lemovicensis (Vézelay). The former is marked with the red and white blaze of the long-distance Grande Randonnée routes. Since 2004, there has been an effort by Les Amis et Pèlerins de Saint Jacques sur la Voie de Vezelay to mark the "true way" with the "Vézelay scallop shell."

Terrain: Covering a distance of some 900 km from Vézelay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port the route traverses a wide variety of terrain. Much of the land is agricultural or forested.

When to go: The recommended times are the spring and the fall. Summers are hot. In spite of the great beauty of the area traversed, there is not a great deal of pressure from tourism or vacationers. Climate table for Vézelay.

Accommodation: There are reported to be more and more pilgrim-specific and pilgrim-sympathetic accommodations along this route. There is a scattering of albergues and everywhere there will be the usual hotels, chambres d'hôtes and gîtes d'étape.

Guidebooks: Les Amis et Pèlerins de Saint Jacques sur la Voie de Vezelay has guides for for the sections from Vézelay to Gargilesse. (French) The Association des Amis des Pèlerins de Saint-Jacques et d'Etudes Compostellanes du Limousin Périgord provides information that covers the combined route from Gargilesse to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. (French) And the Confraternity of Saint James has a booklet in English that will complement the two previous sources.

Internet links: The Confraternity of Saint James has an overview page for the Vézelay Route. Les Amis et Pèlerins de Saint Jacques sur la Voie de Vezelay (French) maintains a comprehensive web site which has information on accommodations, packing lists, credentials, guidebooks, maps and much more. Also see Guidebooks above. The Société Landaise des Amis de Saint Jacques et d'Etudes Compostellanes has a section on the Vézelay with a list of stages, albergues and general information. (French, English and German) The four original routes to Santiago de Compostela through France have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. For further information, visit UNESCO's site.

Other remarks: This is a demanding route through a sparsely settled, rural environment. Getting to Vézelay is a multi-stage journey. Click HERE for the train and bus connections (Valid 5 July through 12 December 2015).

Rev 08/04/15

American Pilgrims on the Camino
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