The town of Vézelay (less than 500 inhabitants) is associated with the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. For centuries, pilgrims departed from this town or passed through it during their pilgrimage. These days, Vézelay is visited by hundreds of pilgrims, and that number is increasing every year. Nevertheless, these pilgrims represent only a fraction of the total number of people visiting the city. Their visit is not without reason. The dominant Basilica Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vézelay, located on the highest point of the city, is a distinctive landmark and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
There is no train station in Vézelay. The closest SNCF station is in Sermizelles. From there SNCF buses drive to several destinations including Vézelay. Consult the SNCF (TER) web page for more detailed information. An alternative is traveling to Avallon. In Avallon you can continue your trip to Vézelay by taxi.
SNCF (TER) buses pass Vézelay departing from: Sermizelles, Clamecy and Corbigny.
From the north and the east, the fastest way to reach Vézelay is by the A6 Autoroute that runs from Paris to Beaune (access 21 and 22 for Avallon). You will find a free parking lot just outside the city walls. From the parking lot, a staircase leads to Place du Champ de Foire and Rue Saint Etienne which is the street up to the basilica.
You can easily go around on foot. Drive or take a taxi if you want to visit the beautiful Église Notre Dame in the nearby village of St. Père, which is just below the hill that Vézelay is on top of.
- The Basilica Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. This large cathedral, in mixed Romanesque/Gothic style, is a traditional place for pilgrims to start their pilgrimage to the great Romanesque cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The basilica is free to visit between 8AM and 8PM. If you like, you can participate in a tour to get more information about the structure and history of the building. There are a few tours a day and they last one and a half hours. Usually the guides speak French, sometimes English. More information about the exact times are available at the basilica or visit the website. You can walk all around the outside of the basilica. At the back is a park with a beautiful view, great for a picnic.
- Musée Zervos, 14, Rue Saint Etienne, ☎ +33 3 86 32 39 26, e-mail: email@example.com. 15 Mar-15 Nov. W-M 10AM-6PM. In July and August open on Tuesdays too. It has a collection of paintings and sculptures of famous artists like Picasso, Ernst, Calder, Miro, Giacometti, Laurens, Leger and Vieija da Silva. €3.
- Musée de l'Oeuvre Viollet-le-Duc (Just right of the basilica), ☎ +33 3 86 33 24 62. Sa-Su 2PM-6PM. In July and August all days. It is the former Lapidary Museum. It exhibits original sculptures from the basilica. €3.
- A guided tour. More information at the tourist office.
- Office du Tourisme (Tourist office), 12, rue Saint-Etienne, ☎ +33 3 86 33 23 69, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open: 2PM-6PM excepted on Thursdays from All Hallows until April 30, the Sundays from November 12 until Palm Sunday, 25 and 26 December. In July and August open every day from 10AM-7PM excepted on Sundays, open from 10AM-13PM and 2PM-6PM.
- Walk trail GR654-II from Vézelay to St. Père and visit the local church Église Notre Dame.
- Religious art
- Regional products (Vézelay wine, cheese, jams)
There are a lot of restaurants to serve the large numbers of tourists. This is a small random selection:
- La Poste et Lion d'Or, Place du Champ de Foire, ☎ +33 3 86 33 21 23, e-mail: email@example.com. Traditional French kitchen
- Auberge de la Coquille, 81, Rue Saint Pierre, ☎ +33 3 86 33 35 57. Traditional French kitchen
- Le Vézelien, Place du Grand Puits, ☎ +33 3 86 33 25 09.
- L’espérance, 22, Grande Rue, 89450 Saint-Père (Just a mile south of Vézelay), ☎ +33 3 86 33 39 10, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A two-star restaurant of famous chef cook Marc Meneau
- Le Cheval Blanc, Place du Champ de Foire, ☎ +33 3 86 33 22 12, e-mail: email@example.com. Hotel
- Cabulus, Rue Saint-Pierre, ☎ +33 3 86 33 20 66, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Chambres d'hôtes
- Gilbert Foret, ☎ +33 3 86 33 31 80. Gîte
- Camping de l'Hermitage, Route d’Avallon, ☎ +33 3 86 33 24 18. Apr-Oct. Camp site
- Gendarmerie Nationale (Police), ☎ +33 17.
- Foyer Hébergement Adultes Handicapés (Hospital), Route de l’ Etang, ☎ +33 3 86 33 39 39.
- Morvan Regional Natural Park – Vézelay is located in the far north of this 290,900 ha big park with only 50,000 inhabitants in 117 communities. It’s a relative quiet hilly area with forests and lakes. In summer some lakes like Le Lac des Settons are populair tourist destinations.
- The old fortress city Avallon is just 17 km east of Vézelay
- Château de Bazoches is located on a wooded hillside near the village Bazoches 10 km south of Vézelay. The castle was built in 1180 by Jean de Bazoches. Over the years it had several owners until in 1675 king Louis XIV bestowed the castle to Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban. Vauban was a military designer who used the castle for studies and drawings of 300 fortresses and fortified cities. The current owners, descendants of the eldest daughter of Vauban, Charlotte de Vauban, preserved many sumptuous furnishings of their famous ancestors. The Château has been designated as a historical monument and can be visited from March until November.