Vézelay Things to Do

  • The basilica at Vezelay
    The basilica at Vezelay
    by Beausoleil
  • Carvings over the door
    Carvings over the door
    by Beausoleil
  • Basilique at Vezelay
    Basilique at Vezelay
    by Beausoleil

Best Rated Things to Do in Vézelay

  • piccolina's Profile Photo

    The Benedictine abbey of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

    by piccolina Written Apr 7, 2005

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    Is one of the most important monuments of architecture and sculpture of the Romanesque period. It was a pilgrimage church in its own right, allegedly holding the relics of St. Mary Magdalen to whom it is dedicated, and it also stood at the beginning of one of the four major routes through France for pilgrims going to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia

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    The view from the park

    by ATLC Written Dec 16, 2003

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    VIEW FROM VEZELAY

    It's a bit of a climb along the main street of Vezelay but after reaching St. Madeleine's church it is a nice rest in the park behind it, at the highest part of the hill.
    The view is spectacular! You just can't stop making photo's even though it is near impossible to catch the image with an ordinary camera. We were lucky that the rain had stopped.

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    The park

    by ATLC Written Dec 16, 2003

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    VEZELAY PARK

    Luscious green and I was lucky enough to catch it almost empty of people. You can walk all the way along the rim of the hill and enjoy spectacular views all round from the chalky hills to the north, and the vally Cure, to the great forests of the Morvan to the south.

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  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo

    Picnics, Enjoy the Spacious Grounds

    by ViajesdelMundo Written Jun 12, 2009

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    There are spacious grounds around the BASILICA; which give fabulous views over the countryside, as well as go around the building to see its nooks.
    If you had the day, you could plan a picnic after seeing the cathedral, and then walk down the hill browsing the various shops, etc.

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Watch the people parade.

    by Beausoleil Updated Aug 7, 2013

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    In front of Basilique Ste. Marie-Madeleine
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    Vezelay has been a pilgrimage town for centuries. It still is, including religious pilgrims, history pilgrims and scenery pilgrims. They all receive satisfaction here.

    As you walk up the hill, you join a crowd of people heading up with you. There are tourist shops, restaurants, religious item stores . . . and yes, real monks and nuns padding about in sandals much as they did centuries ago.

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Visit the church

    by Beausoleil Written Aug 22, 2009

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    The basilica at Vezelay
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    The wonderful church at Vezelay is not a cathedral which must have a bishop's chair. It is a basilica . . . a fine point for such a magnificent church. After Chartres, this is my favorite church in the entire world. It is not as ornate as, for instance, most Bavarian churches, but the very austerity is what I love about it. When you step inside, you feel you are stepping back in history; the ages are palpable inside the church.

    This is one place where no one has to tell you to look up. Your eyes are drawn upward as you enter. If you have the opportunity to take a guided tour, do so you will understand all before your eyes. If not, purchase one of the many booklets available in the bookstore.

    . . . and do look up!

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    The reluctant tourist

    by Beausoleil Written Jul 9, 2006

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    A reluctant tourist

    This young lady looked none to happy to be touring Vezelay that day. I'm sure she was rescued shortly. Lots of walking and not too many child-friendly things to do. Be sure you plan something for small children as a little reward when you make your trip.

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  • Lalique's Profile Photo

    St. Madeline Church

    by Lalique Updated Dec 5, 2002

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    One can see a lot of pilgrims still coming to this place, we witnessed two mini buses of nuns paying a visit while we were there.....
    Don't foget to go to the terrace behind the Church, a view from there over the valley is just breathtaking! They even have a metal plate there with engraved scenery and all the descriptions what is where.....

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    The way....

    by Lalique Written Dec 5, 2002

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    The 1st and foremost thing to see in Vezelay is of course Church of St. Madeline.
    You'll get to it from the very bottom of a hill it stands on (and where is the entance to the town), along a steep and curvey main road which takes you right to the top....... and here is the beauty.....

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    Inside

    by Lalique Written Dec 5, 2002

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    The interior of the Church is very ascetic but light and pure at the same time.
    In the cellar, which can be intered somewhere in the mid of the Church, St. Madeline relics (a hand) is kept.
    There is a Brit priest, who serves there and organises spontanious excursions around the place, we were lucky to join one :))))

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Enter the Church of Ste.-Magdalene

    by hquittner Updated Dec 5, 2008

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    Nave View Toward Apse
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    The nave is very long (200 feet compared to Notre Dame of Paris’ 198 ft; these are nave only figures; the total length is 394 ft., 30 ft less than N.D.) with an aisle at each side and only a two level elevation (no triforium). A portal precedes the nave and each aisle, requiring three tympani. The nave and aisle arches are of alternating colored stones. The way the light enters makes it a mystical experience. There is a tower at the crossing. The choir, ambulatory with radiating chapels and transepts, were recreated at the end of the 12C, when a Gothic style was used. This area has a triforium level and is taller than the nave. The transepts are short and the South one gives over to a Chapter house and part of a cloister beyond which, outside at the apse area, there is a beautiful view to the town below and far beyond. (Tips by others show this). The reason for entering is to see the 94 capitals. The total 118 (plus 4 tympani) are a fine show of 12C Romanesque sculpture. (Our General Tips illustrate some of them).

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  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    St. Madeleine's Basilique

    by ATLC Written Dec 16, 2003

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    VEZELAY

    The first Franciscan convent was founded in France in 1217. In the 13th century, relics of St. Marie-Madeleine were found in Provence and brought to Vezelay. The cloister went to ruins but were restaured in 1840.

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  • wandeljp's Profile Photo

    Vezelay: The Pelgrimage.

    by wandeljp Written Jan 23, 2007

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    Vezelay : Hostsign

    VEZELAY: On the way to Santiago de Compostella

    Vezelay has been a magic place in charge of history at all times, and this for more than thousand years, the pilgrims left the Basilica in direction Santiago de Compostella, Galicia, Spain.

    In 2004 we were somme of these.

    The sign of the photograph indicates to the pilgrims the places where they can sleep for a small price!

    Vezelay est un endroit magique chargé d'histoire de tous temps , et ce depuis plus de mille ans, les pelerins partirent de la Basilique en direction de Santiago de Compostella, Galice, Espagne.

    En 2004 nous etions de ceux-là.

    Le signe de la photo indique aux pélerins les endroits où ils peuvent dormir pour un petit prix !

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    BASILICA OF MARY MAGDALENE

    by Helga67 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Basilica of Mary Magdalene

    The 12th century church is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and part of UNESCO World Heritage with outstanding sculptures and pillars depicting Biblical and mythological scenes. The 'Mystical Mill', a summary of the entire Bible, commands the largest crowd of onlookers.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    The Great Tympanum Is Under the Narthex

    by hquittner Updated Dec 5, 2008

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    The Central Tympanum and Trumeau
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    Because the original church tympani are under the Narthex, the Revolutionaries did not destroy them very badly. They did vent their rage upon the outer (West) face and portal of the Narthex. The inside ones were finished probably between 1120-30, a handful of years after the first ones ever created in Moissac and Toulouse. (There are experts who believe that Gislebertus first worked here (as an assistant?) before going to Autun and that these may be his work. Be that as it may, the central doorway is a masterpiece! The subject is the Pentecost and rays are coming out of Christ's hand to the Apostles. He is seated at a slight angle. The Message being received is to carry the Word (the religion) to the entire world. Below on the lintel are peoples who have not been converted (such as the pygmies, one of whom is climbing a ladder to mount a horse). In the first recessed arch around the tympanum are scenes representing those groups who are already believers. The next outer arch are the scenes of the months alternating with zodiacal signs . The very outer arch has entwined foliage.

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Vézelay Things to Do

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