Explore France > Vézelay

The alluring Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene sits high on a hill that can be seen from miles away - which is exactly how my friend Christine and I came to discover the remarkable little town of Vézelay.

After spending a few days in Paris we decided to rent a car; a spontaneous road trip into the countryside!

As we ventured south on our way to no where, we both noticed a great foggy image in the distance... perhaps a church or an abbey. Within two seconds we were looking for the first exit. We had to find it; it was drawing us in!

After multiple wrong turns and several confusing turnabouts we found our way. As we slowly drove in to this precious little town we immediately fell in love.

Following our check in to La Palombière, a sweet little inn with a sweet little hostess, we headed straight for the church.

There is definitely something magical about this place. You can almost hear the church breathe. It really is alive and walking under its arcades is like being there hundreds of years ago. From a church window I watched a nun walking through the beautiful gardens while holding her prayer book. It felt incredibly peaceful. The very old graveyard behind the church and the ancient grounds are also fascinating. We spent hours exploring every detail.

The town consists of a handful of inns and bed and breakfasts, several charming little restaurants, such as the tasty Le Saint Etienne, and a small number of boutiques. Every winding path and building is picturesque. Three days later we tore ourselves away.