Saint-Jacques à vélo - Via Vézelay

Castles & Monuments
1 week or more
420 Km
I cycle often
Who said that the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage routes through France were reserved for hikers? Come and (re)discover the Via Lemovicensis à Vélo cycle route, covering over 430km from Vézelay to Limoges! This cycling adventure does take you on a journey back in time in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims, leading from the great St Mary Magdalene Basilica atop Vézelay’s ‘‘Eternal Hill’’ to the centuries-old St Stephen’s Bridge in Limoges. Further unique heritage vestiges are dotted along the stages. Guiding you through bucolic country settings, the Saint-Jacques à Vélo - Via Vézelay offers you an escape from everyday modern living as you cross the picturesque areas of the Nivernais, Berry, Creuse Valley and Limousin. Going by bike, you may take a secret pleasure in overtaking hikers on the route… but then enjoy exchanging tales with them over dinner on a cosy stopover! Despite some undulating parts, notably in Burgundy’s hills and in the foothills of the Massif Central, this véloroute is, in the main, accessible to all, a cycle route to relish with friends, as a family, or on your own.

Elevation of the route

3029 m 2970 m

Waytypes of the cycle route

Cycle path: 14,74 km By road: 337,94 km Inconnu: 66,49 km

Surface of the cycle route

Lisse: 65,64 km Rugueux: 80,05 km Inconnu: 273,48 km

420 km on Saint-Jacques à vélo from Vézelay to Limoges


info General information 

The Saint-Jacques à Vélo - Via Vézelay (Véloroute 56) route is signposted with signs suitable for cyclists. In addition, the signs carry the logo common to all the Santiago de Compostela routes, featuring a yellow scallop shell on a blue background.

Virtually all of this cycle route guides you along roads shared with motorized vehicles. However, its trail has been deliberately thought out to avoid major roads with lots of traffic.

Few specific matters when preparing your cycling journey along this route: 

  • After crossing the bridge at La Charité-sur-Loire, you will need to cycle along the Loire à Vélo cycle route for a few kilometres, as far as Marseilles-lès-Aubigny.
  • In the département (French county) of Cher, going from Marseilles-lès-Aubigny to Saint-Amand-Montrond, you’ll follow a stretch of the Cœur de France, Canal de Berry à Vélo cycle route, being set up at time of writing, completion expected some time in 2025. In between times, temporary signposting has been put in place, featuring yellow signs.
  • Once you reach the département of Creuse, the route is well signposted, although note that in this county, you won’t see the Santiago de Compostela logo bearing a scallop shell.
  • Further cycling sections before Vézelay and beyond Limoges are under consideration. For the time being, the cycle route doesn’t continue on southwestwards to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, where France’s Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trails converge on the Franco-Spanish border.

Get hold of a copy of the V56 roadbook published by L’Agence française des chemins de Compostelle to help you find your way along the route. On a scale of 1: 100 000, it covers the 430 kilometres of the cycle route set up so far.

hotel Services

Apart from in the odd major tourist spot, you’re unlikely to encounter too many people on this cycle route. Please be aware that choices of accommodation along certain stretches are limited, so do consider reserving in advance. Cycling tourists can make use of the shared gîtes known as jacquaires dotted along the Via Lemovicensis, a good way to share experiences with hikers along the route. 

On this cycle route, the Accueil Vélo accreditation scheme scarcely features for the time being, but you might look out for places listed on more general French tourist accreditation schemes, such as Qualité Tourisme, Tourisme & Handicap or Clef Verte…

train Trains and transportations on Saint-Jacques à vélo - via Vézelay :

Access to the start (Vézelay):

No train station in Vézelay, but 2 nearby stations accessible by bike.

Connections from Paris to Avallon are more frequent than those to Sermizelles.

Others main train stations and railway lines:

  • La Charité-sur-Loire: to Nevers, Paris, Moulins et Clermont-Ferrand
  • Saint-Amand-Montrond - Orval: to Bourges, Montluçon
  • La Souterraine: to Paris, Limoges, Orléans, Vierzon

Start from the finish (Limoges):

  • No return to the 2 departure stations from Limoges
  • Start from: Paris (3h20, Intercités) | Toulouse (3h22, Intercités) | Bordeaux (2h20, TER) | Poitiers (1h55 en TER)

Connections with other cycle routes

There are many possible routes, thanks to the crossings with other cycle routes:

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