Vézelay – Small yet Fascinating
Because it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big city for it to be a truly impressive destination, Vézelay is a place that we wholeheartedly recommend to any tourist looking for new wonderful places to discover. This is but a small town in Burgundy, France, a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site set on a high hill. The main reason for which it attracts numerous visitors every year is the imposing Vézelay Abbey (also known as Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene), a Christian pilgrimage site since the 11th century.
According to tradition, a monk brought the remains of Mary Magdalene to this town from Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in France, and their genuineness was confirmed in 1058 by Pope Stephen IX. From then on believers kept coming to see the relics in the basilica. Pilgrims often choose to start their religious journey to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (the famous Way of St. James) from here.
The impressive cathedral in Vézelay is one of the greatest early Gothic cathedrals in Burgundy and a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and art. Unfortunately,its marvelous exterior was extensively damaged during the French Revolution, and it required approximately two decades of restorations to bring it back to its original glory. The abbey has been a World Heritage Site since 1979.
Another attraction that we find very interesting in Vézelay is the Musée Zervos, also known as Maison Romain-Rolland. Not as famous as the historic cathedral, this museum is a refreshing surprise: it is a remarkable hub of modern art right in the middle of a medieval town. Visitors are always impressed at the quality of its exhibits. Located on the city’s main street, this is like an oasis of modernity hidden in a historic town with a vintage flair. Art enthusiasts will be pleased to see beautiful works by famous artists like Le Corbusier, Giacometti, Picasso, Laurens, Kandinsky, Calder, Léger, Miro and others.
- You can find accommodation in the city, but if you want a plush experience then we definitely recommend you get a room in a 13th century chateau, some 7 miles away from Vézelay. It is a charming 5-star hotel called Chateau De Vault De Lugny. You can find it in a nice hamlet near Avallon.