Vezelay

Situated on the 'never-ending hill' (la colline éternelle), one of France's most beautiful villages, Vezelay. In the Yonne department of Burgundy, 190km away from Paris is found The Sainte Marie-Madeleine Basilica, a masterpiece of Roman art, has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Surrounded by fields and vineyards, the medieval houses of Vézelay dominate the Cure valley, which faces the Morvan mountains. A Benedictine monastery of the 9th Century, the Vézelay Abbey has acquired and exposes relics of the middle ages that supposedly belonged to Mary Magdalene. The Abbey, in the same way as St. Mary Magdalene's basilica, has become an important site of Christianity for all European pilgrims who take on the Spanish pilgrimage: the Way of St. James. In the 12th Century, Bernard de Clairvaux (Saint Bernard) sent a call to Vézelay for the second crusade. In 1190, Richard the Lionheart and King Philip Augustin met there to mark the departure of the third crusade. The Abbey was partly destroyed during the Hundred Year War, and was later transformed into a stone quarry during the revolution. In 1940, the Basilica was rescued from the ruins and restored by the architect Viollet-le-Duc. Nowadays, it is also possible to walk along the 2km length of its wall. The village has attracted numerous artists and writers, such as Romain Rolland and Georges Bataille. The Zervos museum recently acquired works from Calder, American sculptor and painter, as well as paintings by Miro and even Max Ernst. The PARISCityVISION guides will acquaint you with Vézelay during the excursion to Bourgogne.