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[DE] The path to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle

On the way to Compostella via Tours

Four main routes start from France to Santiago de Compostella:

  • the Podiensis from Le Puy en Velay,
  • the Lemovicensis from Vézelay,
  • the Tolosana from Arles
  • and the Turonensis from Paris.

The latter is the oldest and separates into two parts before joining Tours : one goes through Orléans, Blois and Amboise; the other one coming from Chartres runs through the Vendôme area.

Between Chartres and Tours, high-places for pilgrims on the roads to Compostella, the Loir Valley was a variant widely used in the Middle Ages: well populated, dotted with towns and villages in which the inhabitants were happy to offer protection to pilgrims, it was preferred to the straight lines of ancient routes, veritable “motorways” through deserts.


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Statues, paintings and church consecrations bear witness to this religious trail, the importance of which was also economic.


To explore its traces, start from Vendôme: the chapel of Saint-Jacques here is known to have been an important shopping place. A few kilometres away, in the Romanesque church of Saint-Hilaire in Villiers-sur-Loir, a chapel is dedicated to Saint Jacques.


Further on, near the little village of Villavard, there is still a Templar’s farmhouse where travellers could find accommodation before paying their respects to a very fine “Saint Jacques in majesty” with four pilgrims, a muralpainting in the troglodyte chapel of Saint-Gervais in Les Roches-L’Evêque (no visit to the inside).



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Past Montoire, Saint-Jacques-Des-Guérets with its statue, and the collegiate church of Trôo opposite it, were, of course, obligatory stopping places.

Lastly, you must go as far as the beautiful 11th century church in the old town of Artins, on the very edge of the old path to Saint Jacques de Compostelle and on the Loir: the original sanctuary that preceded it was built in the 4th century, date of its foundation by bishop Saint Julien of Le Mans.


This “Tours way” (mentioned by Ronsard in “Le voyage de Tours”, rather flat, is more and more often chosen by trekkers and cyclists. The beauty of the landscapes and the richness of the monuments make it even more attractive.

Vendôme, a town where a lot of visitors and pilgrims stop, offers a huge patrimony related to Saint James : St James Street and chapel, paintings, stained-glass windows and statues.

Bed and Breakfast, guest houses and free lodging in private houses may be found there.

From Vendôme two sign-posted routes are possible: one follows the GR655 along the Loir Valley, plains of la Beauce. Both of them meet in Prunay-Cassereau.




To enable the traveller a pleasant walk in this area the Tourist Information Centre can give useful information such as maps, addresses and so far.


Another pilgrimage route in the Vendôme area: Saint Martin’s Way

The way going to Trier starts from Tours and crosses and the Vendôme area (Villechauve, Longpré, Prunay-Cassereau, Lavardin, Houssay, Thoré-la-Rochette) up to Vendôme (138 km) : St Martin’s old church might have been built on the place where the Bishop of Tours preached to convert the people of Vendôme; on St Martin’s house you can see one of the sculptured corbels representing Saint Martin.