Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vézelay, Burgundy France - June 8 2011

Yonne is a department of the Burgundy region of central France (somewhat akin to a County within a State in the USA) and Vézelay is a community of less than 500 people in the Yonne department. It is a highly defensible hilltop town and for this reason has been populated since ancient times.
In the 9th century the Benedictines were given land to build a monastery and in the 11th century the current Basilica of St Magdelene was built. Both the town and the Basilica are UNESCO World Heritage sites and are a significant pilgrim destination as well as a major starting point for pilgrims on the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Bernard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade at Vézelay in 1146 and in 1189, the Frankish and English factions of the Third Crusade met at Vézelay before officially departing for the Holy Land. Vézelay is surrounded by vineyards and produce a range of mostly white wines, predominantly based on the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Melon de Bourgogne grape varieties. More pictures here.

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