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Vézelay is a commune in the Yonnemarker département in the Bourgognemarker région of Francemarker.

It is principally noted for Vézelay Abbeymarker (Basilica of St. Magdalene), sited here since the 9th century.

History

Vézelay's hilltop location has made it an obvious site for a town since ancient times. According to legend, not long before the end of the first millennium a monk named Baudillon brought relics (bones) of Mary Magdalene to Vézelay from Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baumemarker. In 1058 the Pope confirmed the genuineness of the relics, leading to an influx of pilgrims that has continued to this day. Vézelay Abbey was also a major starting point for pilgrims on the Way of St. Jamesmarker to Santiago de Compostelamarker, one of the most important of all medieval pilgrimage centres. This was crucially important in attracting pilgrims and the wealth they brought to the town.

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.

Demographics

As of the census of 1999, the population was 492.
On 1 January 2006, the estimate was 473.


Wine

Bourgogne Vézelay is the local wine appellation. Vineyards descend to the edge of the town and produce a range of mostly white wines, based mainly on the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Melon de Bourgogne grape varieties. About half of the production is marketed through the Cave Henry co-operative.

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