The Tour mainly passes through the area south of Vézelay: the valleys of the Yonne and the Cure, the hills in between, and the wooded northwest corner of the Morvan regional park.
Vézelay is a spiritual place for many, the surroundings are beautiful and varied, and there is a thousand-year-old tradition of pilgrimages.
The Tour can be a great opportunity to go on a pilgrimage on your own, a wonderful chance to share your pilgrimage experience with family or friends, or a special way to organize an (international) pilgrims’ reunion.
You can walk the Tour in about a week. But of course, you determine your own pace and there are opportunities to shorten the route.
If you have less time, you can choose one of the four shorter circular walks.
The symbol of the Tour de Vézelay is based on the spiral, with its circular shape. This form is common in nature. Think galaxies, whirlwinds, eddies, horns, pinecones, snail shells.
The spiral has become a symbol of natural, balanced growth: of the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
The spiral is also a symbol of inner growth. When you are consciously on the move in your life, you remain open to new experiences, encounters and insights. If you can give them a place in your daily life, you will close the circle, on another level.
We hope that the Tour de Vézelay is a source of inspiration for you.
On the way, sometimes it feels like you are walking through a large, winding labyrinth, formed by river valleys, forests, farmlands and vineyards. Sometimes you get absorbed in the landscape and then, suddenly and in the distance, you see ‘the eternal hill’ of Vézelay again.
The basilica is located in the middle of nature. One moment you are walking between the trees of a sloping forest, half an hour later between the columns of the basilica. A winegrower is at work on the great tympanum, while grapes may be harvested outside. In summer, after the harvest, you walk between large rolls of straw to Vézelay and discover the beautiful capital of the mystical grain-mill.
So, you are invited to step over thresholds again and again, from inside to outside and vice versa, and from the hectic pace of modern life to the mystique of old times. This way you can feed yourself with what this region offers you and recharge your batteries, physically and mentally.
The pilgrims’ hostel L'Esprit du Chemin has written a short story about pilgrimage as Meaningful Journey. It is inspired by the stories of thousands of pilgrims as well as the great travel stories and wisdom traditions from all over the world.
The hostel has also created Inspiration cards. These cards are like a travelling companion. Someone who sets you questions, offers you insight and sometimes challenges you to take a different path. In short: a companion for your soul. On your pilgrimage and on your life path.
Read more: Meaningful Journey
You can walk this Tour all year round, but the best period is from the end of March to the beginning of October. Outside that season it is more difficult to find accommodation.
The Tour de Vézelay is not really a tough journey, unless you want to camp and bring a large backpack. Still, there are definitely tough parts, especially when you have to climb and descend regularly. However, a ‘climb’ (or descent) in one go of more than 80 meters is rare. More information: elevation profile of the Tour de Vézelay (PDF).
The itinerary alternates between unpaved paths and quiet, asphalted roads.
The itinerary is almost completely marked.
Tip: for your planning, also check the agenda of festivities, concerts, etc. in and around Vézelay.
The Tour de Vézelay is an initiative of the volunteer pilgrims of the hostel L'Esprit du Chemin (Le Chemin, Anthien). The initiative is inspired by our connection with pilgrimage, with the spirituality of Vézelay and with these beautiful surroundings. We are happy to share this with you.
On November 2, 2021, we have incorporated the activities around the Tour into the Association Tour de Vézelay (association loi 1901). Here are the statutes (French).