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languedoc2The Road of Toulouse or Via Tolosana was the most southerly French route, leading from Provence to the Pyrenean pass of the Somport.

It began at the Alyscans cemetery  and its myriad saintly tombs, just outside the city gates of Arles. Pilgrims proceeded to the cathedral of the city where relics of Saint Trophimus were held.

tolosana-sunset-7-copyArles had been the metropolitan see of Gaul in the fourth century and so had a long and rich history as an important religious centre.

Crossing the Rhone delta to the great abbey of Saint Gilles, pilgrims venerated the relics of this saint, one of the preeminent of the day, at his tomb in the cavernous crypt.

From the Rhone basin, the Guide mentions two alternative routes, one along the Mediterranean coastline to Montpellier and the relics of the martyrs of Agde, Tiberius, Modestus and Florence at the abbey of Saint Thibèry.

The other route led north from Saint Gilles towards the mountains of the pont-du-diable-1Languedoc and the remote abbey of Gellone which housed the relics of a very popular saint, the warrior monk Guilhem whose heroic feats during the time of the Carolingian emperors were retold in many epic songs.

The great destination further on was the ancient city of Toulouse and the shrine of Saint Saturninus at the vast pilgrimage church there.

From Toulouse pilgrims headed south towards the Pyrenees which they crossed via the Somport Pass into Aragonese territory and the town of Jaca.

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  1. […] generated)Arriving from the region of Jerusalem went by sea as far as the country of …Via Tolosana – One crosses Saint-Gilles, Montpellier, Toulouse, and the pas…The relics of many saints were revealed by various signs « This book was written in various […]

  2. […] Guilhem The abbey of Gellone was an important stop for pilgrims to Compostela traveling the Via Tolosana even though it required them abandoning the most direct way and instead heading up into the rugged […]

  3. […] considered that the passage over the Somport Pass was later restricted to those using the so-called Via Tolosana, from Arles. However its more central position along the Pyrennean chain suggests that the […]

  4. […] was a region exceptionally rich in sacred legends. Pilgrims to Compostela travelling along the Toulouse Road could venerate the relics of Saint Honoratus and Caesarius at the Alyscans and Trophimus at […]

  5. […] shrines are listed in their geographical order beginning with the Toulouse Road. This road joined together the shrines of Trophimus, Caesarius, Honoratus and Genesius at Arles and […]

  6. […] journeying to Compostela on the Toulouse Road were able to venerate the mortal remains of a major saint who had been, according to tradition, a […]

  7. […] to Compostela travelling along the Toulouse Road were admonished to venerate the relics of Saint Caesarius of […]

  8. […] The cycle of Chansons revolving around the person of Saint Guilhem of the abbey of Gellone in Provence was especially popular in the twelfth century. In particular the poems Charroi de Nîmes and Alyscans relate tales of battles against Saracens at the site of the legendary Roman necropolis at Arles which is mentioned at length in the Pilgrim’s Guide and recognised as the start of the Toulouse Road. […]

  9. […] Toulouse Road began at the ancient Roman necropolis of Arles with its numerous saints’ tombs. On the other […]

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