Why in a remote French village in Burgundy did so many major medieval events take place and draw the attention of kings, queens, pilgrims and even Picasso? What is it about Vézelay that inspired the start of both the 2nd and 3rd crusades? And how in the 12th century did they manage to build here one of France's largest Romanesque abbeys so precisely that it captures both the winter and summer solstice sun, its rays shining in a central path of light down the nave, a spectacle still marvelled at today.
A visit to the illuminating Maison du Visiteur will reveal the answers to these questions, and more. This is far more than an information centre; this is an interactive, highly enlightening, pre-abbey experience, a bedtime story of medieval imagination and way of life.
Your guide will lead you down into the atmospheric, medieval stone cavern where, in its darkness, you’ll experience a light show reproducing the path of the sun over the Basilica. You will learn and marvel at the ingenuity of medieval master builders, their architectural dreams, and the symbolism in each of their capitals, helping you appreciate Vézelay's Abbey, as well as many other medieval sites in Europe. A short film overviewing the abbey, Vézelay and surrounding area leaves you refreshingly inspired to explore every cobblestone of this charming, UNESCO World Heritage site.
It’s no surprise that National Geographic Travel ranks Vézelay no.2 on its most beautiful World Heritage list. After your visit, you may well end up rating it no. 1.