Since its foundation, the Abbey-church kept on welcoming pilgrims from whole Christian Europe, coming to worship the relics of Saint Foy. The Book of Miracles is a witness account of this popular devotion. To these first pilgrims, many others were added during the 11th century. They were the ones going towards Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. They used to travel along the former Roman road from Le-Puy-en-Velay (the via podiensis), one of the four major axis for travellers in these times. 

Nowadays, this thousand years old devotion is still alive. Many pilgrims increasing in numbers every day add up to the traditional pilgrims of the past, like the modern hiker who, for multiple reasons, takes on this cultural route. It is a privileged occasion for humane connections and for the discovery of an exceptional heritage (architecture and arts).


The convention concerning the protection of the world natural and cultural heritage was adopted in 1972 between the states and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Its duty is to ensure the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the natural and cultural heritage. The heritage registered in the list represents an invaluable and irreplaceable treasure for the Humanity. The main objective of the heritage conservation is to highlight and to preserve the human cultural diversity and its environment. The purpose of the action in favor of heritage preservation is to promote peace through the conservation of cultural diversities and dialogue between cultures beyond differences. In 2015, France counted 41 "cultural or natural sites" among the registered sites in the World Heritage List. 

The "Routes to Santiago de Compostela in France"…

Throughout the Middle Ages, Santiago de Compostela was the supreme goal for countless thousands of pious pilgrims who converged there from all over Europe. To reach Spain pilgrims had to pass through France. Four symbolic roads starting from Paris, Vezelay, Le Puy and Arles, all reaching the crossing of the Pyrenees, synthetize the uncountable trails used by travellers of old times. Pilgrim churches or simple sanctuaries, hospitals, bridges, road crosses mark out the pilgrimage roads and are the witnesses of their spiritual and material aspects. The pilgrimage, first a spiritual exercise and faith demonstration, touched also the profane world as it played a key role in the birth and flow of new ideas and the arts.

… registered on the list of the World Heritage

In 1998 the cultural entity "Routes to Santiago de Compostela in France" was registered in the World Heritage List by the UNESCO for its outstanding universal value. By this mean, UNESCO recognized the great historical and spiritual value of these pilgrims' quest set on these roads.

This listing counts a collection of 71 buildings and 7 trails portions as an illustration of the routes the "jacquets" (Santiago's pilgrims) took towards the Pyrenees and, past the mountains, towards the tomb of Saint James in Spain (Finisterre area). In Conques, Saint-Foy Abbey-church and the bridge above the Dourdou River are listed in this collection.

In Conques, Saint-Foy Abbey-church and the pilgrims' bridge are part of this collection.

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The "Guide du Pèlerin", a Latin manuscript from the 12th century mentioned Conques as a crucial stop along this route in these words : "the most precious body of the blessed Foy, virgin and martyr, has been buried by the Christians in this deep valley commonly called Conques, with all the honours ; they built above her grave a beautiful basilica governed by the rules of Saint-Benedict seriously followed to this day to God's glory; many benefits are provided to all, either healthy or sick ; in front of the basilica runs an excellent spring, which virtues are more admired that can be said. Her feast (Saint-Foy) is celebrated on October, 6th".


Saint-Foy Abbey-church and the pilgrims’ bridge above the Dourdou River are registered on the list of the World Heritage for Humanity by the UNESCO in regards of the Routes to Compostela in France.


Since 1987, the former pilgrimage routes to Compostela have been recognized as a cultural route by the Council of Europe.