|The hilltop Abby and community of Vézelay.|
Vézelay Abbey was also a major starting point for pilgrims on the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela, one of the most important of all medieval pilgrimage centers.
In the 9th century the Benedictines were given land to build a monastery. The current Basilica was built in the 11th century. The town and the Basilica of St Magdelene are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Bernard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade at Vézelay in 1146. In 1189, the Frankish and English factions of the Third Crusade met at Vézelay before officially departing for the Holy Land.
Today, Vézelay is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy. Bourgogne Vézelay is the local wine appellation. Vineyards descend to the edge of the town and produce a range of mostly white wines, mainly on the Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne and, of course, Pinot Noir.