The road to Santiago de Compostela

The westernmost of the four main routes

One of the routes to Santiago de Compostela leads through Blois, with lots of clues on the buildings and in the streets showing where pilgrims pass

The via Turonensis, the "Tours Road," is described in narratives from the earliest days of the pilgrimage. It was marked by numerous chaplaincies and brotherhoods dedicated to the apostle James which marked-out the route to Galicia. It was then known as "Via Magnus" or "The Paved Way" by French pilgrims " and the "Low Road" by the Germans (to distinguish it from the alpine route).

From Northern Europe and Paris, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and to Saint Martin in Tours became confused in the 14th century, and other roads became more popular. The route saw a revival in the 20th century.

When you cross the bridge in Blois, you'll be guided towards the pinnacles of the former abbey church of Saint-Lomer (today St Nicholas), an early and creative Gothic work built by Thibault de Champagne. The lantern, which lights the crossing of the transept, is the mark of a pilgrimage church. It is then easy to follow the directions towards the southwest along the Loire, which you leave at Amboise on your journey towards Spain.