The 8 must-do things to do in Vézelay

The 8 must-do things to do in Vézelay

Would you like to visit Vézelay? Then discover the 8 must-do things to do in one of the most beautiful French villages!

Nestled in the heart of the Morvan, the medieval village of Vézelay overlooks the green plains of the Cure valley. Like some French villages, the beauty of the landscape enchants visitors who enter it. This charming perched village shelters steep alleys where beautiful medieval houses follow one another gracefully. Watching over them, the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, a masterpiece of Romanesque art classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, impresses by its extraordinary dimensions. High place of spirituality, Vézelay is the starting point of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Spiritual, literary, poetic or artistic, everyone will find his happiness there. To visit Vézelay is to discover the eclectic heritage of Burgundy which is sure to charm you!

Read also: Where to eat in Vézelay?

1. The medieval village

Authentic, inspiring, impressive, charming... There are many adjectives that characterize the medieval village of Vézelay. Dominating the Burgundian territory, the village spreads out over a whole hillside. Set for the cult film "La Grande Vadrouille" with de Funès and Bourvil, its old stones bear witness to a prestigious past.

Visiting Vézelay will not fail to charm you. Walking through the narrow, winding streets with old houses built over cellars, visitors will happily discover small shops, art galleries and typical restaurants. All in all, the medieval town of Vézelay is well worth a little detour!

2. The Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene

The Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, an undisputed masterpiece of Romanesque art, is a Mecca of medieval faith and Christian spirituality. Fallen into ruins, then restored by the architect Viollet-Le-Duc at the request of Prosper Mérimée, the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine now thrones as a mistress on the heights of the village.

Not to be missed to visit Vézelay at its best, the Sainte-Marie-Madeleine Basilica is also and above all the starting point of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Along the way, pilgrims will be able to stop in several towns and villages renowned for their sacred character, such as Lourdes, Mont Saint Michel or Rocamadour.

3. The visitor's house

The visitor's house is the place and a fascinating program. Indeed, you will discover Vézelay and the Basilica in the most beautiful way. Various activities are on the programme, such as the historical walk, which follows the route taken by the pilgrims on their way to the Basilica.

Finally, at the house itself, discover more about the Basilica, its art and its builders. Before watching a documentary film dedicated to the Great Tympanum, the most beautiful sculpture in the place of worship.

4. The Jules Roy House

Visiting Vézelay also means visiting the Maison Jules Roy. A child of the village, the novelist who never left Vézelay now rests there in peace. The Maison Jules Roy is a true witness to his history and pays homage to him, leading visitors to discover his life's work. Among other things, the House houses Jules's office, installed in front of a large bay window overlooking the Basilica of Saint Mary of Magdalene.

5. Museums

The Zervos Museum

The Zervos Museum, located in the house of the writer Romain Rolland, houses all the most beautiful collection pieces of Christian Zervos, founder of the magazine "Les Cahiers d'art". A visit to Vézelay will allow you to discover, among others, La belle Sauterelle by Max Ernst, Les Instruments de musique by Laurens and Le Peintre et l'Enfant by Picasso.

The Museum of the Viollet-le-Duc Work

Formerly called the lapidary museum, the museum of the Viollet-le-Duc work is a must to visit Vézelay at its best. It contains many original sculptures from the basilica, as well as many watercolours created by the architect.

A visit to the Musée de l'Œuvre Viollet-le-Duc is perfect for art and history enthusiasts who will let themselves be carried away by the rich medieval imagination.

6. The vineyards of Vézelay

How can you miss the Vézelay vineyards? Visiting Vézelay without walking through the vineyards or tasting a glass of wine is unthinkable! Atypical, the vineyards of Vézelay are dotted with stone walls and small winegrowers' huts. Surrounding the village, the different grape varieties are the pride of the region!

7. Hot-air balloon flight over the Vézelay region

Would you like to visit Vézelay in an original way? Take off in a hot-air balloon for a real journey through time and nature! In addition to observing the wildlife and marvelling at the landscapes at your feet, you will discover what a balloon experience is all about.

After inflating the balloon, then taking off gently, you will see the Salt Fountains of Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay, the Basilica of Sainte-Marie de Madeleine in Vézelay and the wine plains of Burgundy. This walk rich in emotions promises you a few hours of incredible and unforgettable adventure!

8. Surroundings of Vézelay

The Morvan Regional Nature Park

In the heart of Burgundy, the Morvan Regional Nature Park is one of the many natural treasures to be discovered near Vézelay. This preserved heritage is home to a diversity of landscapes: hills, lakes, green plains, forests... The Morvan is therefore a privileged area for sportsmen and nature lovers.

You can't visit Vézelay without going there! What's more, this great breath of fresh air will delight young and old alike!


Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay is closely linked to Vézelay by its history. Indeed, the abbot of Vézelay was notably lord of both communes, hence the common past.

If you make a stop in the village, don't miss the incredible archaeological site of Les Fontaines-salées and the old parish church of Saint-Pierre. These two monuments will appeal to history and architecture enthusiasts.

How to get to Vézelay?

To get to Vézelay, we recommend that you use a car as a means of locomotion. Indeed, the train does not serve the commune but the stations of Sermizelles-Givry (10 km) and Avallon (17 km). So you will have to find a way to reach the village, why not opt for a taxi? To discover the surroundings in complete autonomy, we recommend the car or the bicycle which can be another option for an alternative tourism.

From Paris, you will have to take the A6 motorway (exit Avallon), while from Lyon, we recommend the departmental road D606. From these two cities, the journey takes about 3 hours.

Where to stay in Vézelay?

If you are planning to visit Vézelay, you will inevitably wonder where to stay. Fortunately, you will not lack options in this unique village. The offer is quite eclectic in Vézelay: from small hotels to gites, from campsites to Airbnb, there is something for every taste and every holiday.

So what are you waiting for to visit Vézelay?

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