Toulouse Road

The Toulouse Road

The history, legends, development and infrastructure of the stations along the French Toulouse Road or Via Tolosana through Arles, Saint Gilles-du-Gard,Toulouse and Oloron-Sainte-Marie to the shrine of Saint James at Compostela

The Alyscans Necropolis of Arles

The Alyscans Necropolis of Arles

The Alyscans is the Provencal name for the Elysean Fields. This was the name given to the ancient burial ground on the edge of the city of Arles, which became the starting point of the Toulouse Road to Santiago de Compostela.

The Saintly Relics of Arles

The Saintly Relics of Arles

The saintly relics of Arles were numerous and celebrated. The Provençal city is generally considered the first substantial station on the Toulouse Road and tradition has it that pilgrims congregated beyond its city walls at the ancient necropolis of the Alyscans.

The River Rhône

The River Rhône

The River Rhône was an artery of the ancient world connecting the Mediterranean with the North. Where trade went, myths and religious traditions followed.

Saint Gabriel

Saint Gabriel

From the summit of the Alpilles hills of Provence, one can survey the broad delta of the Rhone river extending below. Just as one reaches level ground, one finds the chapel of Saint Gabriel de Tarascon,

Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

Les Saintes Maries de la Mer is situated amid the sandy plain of the Camargue region of the Rhône delta. It was here that Mary Magdalene came ashore

Saint Pons de Thomières

Saint Pons de Thomières

The abbey of Saint-Pons was a hugely influential and powerful monastic centre heading its own federation of  dependent monasteries, many of them beyond the Pyrenees in Spain.

Saint-Pierre de Maguelone

Saint-Pierre de Maguelone

Emerging from the lagoons of the Camargue and facing the broad expanse of the open sea stands the tall imposing edifice of the fortified cathedral of Saint-Pierre de Maguelone.

Béziers

Béziers

After Saint Thibéry, pilgrims to Compostela travelling along the old Domitian highway reached the Roman bridge across the Orb river where the city of Béziers on the Toulouse Road was perched on the heights above.

Saint Gilles-du-Gard

Saint Gilles-du-Gard

The great abbey of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard was located at the frontier between Provence and Languedoc, close by the old Roman road known as the Via Domitia. It was a major station on the road to Compostela and also, itself a pilgrimage destination of the highest order

Saint Guilhem le Désert

Saint Guilhem le Désert

Saint Guilhem le Désert, orginally known as 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 hill region of the Languedoc.

Oloron-Sainte-Marie: At the foot of the mountain on the Gascon side

Oloron-Sainte-Marie: At the foot of the mountain on the Gascon side

Situated on the French side of the Pyrenees, Oloron-Sainte-Marie, a cathedral town since the sixth century was a major pilgrimage station on the way to Compostela because of its strategic position at the bottom of the Aspe river valley which led up to to the 1,600 metre high Somport Pass.