20 years of Outstanding
«Sur les Pas de Saint‐Jacques» («In the Footsteps of St. James»), is an association that was created in 1987 aimed at highlighting and developing the Routes of Santiago de Compostela between Le Puy‐en‐Velay and Livinhac‐le‐Haut.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the inscription of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France on the UNESCO World Heritage list, this association plans to celebrate the cultural heritage of hospitality and openness to the world created by the passing of pilgrims along the Route: a multisecular tradition of welcome, hospitality and cross‐cultural exchanges, that is still alive today.
We have therefore invited Balint Pörneczi, an artist photographer, to come and visit the villages of Nasbinals, Saint‐Chély‐dʼAubrac, Saint‐Côme‐dʼOlt, Espalion, Estaing and Conques‐en‐Rouergue to photograph the heritage and to take portraits of:
‐Welcomers: volunteers, shopkeepers, artisans…
‐Walkers: pilgrims, hikers, visitors of every nationality travelling on the Route.
These portraits, revealing the humanity of the exchanges experienced by thousands of
women and men along the Route, have been brought together both in this book and on a dedicated web server which can be accessed worldwide. Some of them are on display, on specially designed panels, and exhibited in the 6 partner villages.
The artistʼs photographs will also enable you to discover or rediscover the 9 components of the Property in series n°868, listed between Puy-en‐Velay and Livinhac‐le‐Haut. These represent direct testimony of the pilgrimage experience
in the Middle Ages, a testimony that has been preserved and handed down to us, and which constitutes the Outstanding Universal Value of the Property:
‐LʼHôtel Dieu Saint‐Jacques and Notre‐Dame Cathedral in Le Puy‐en‐Velay,
‐Two sections of the Route: Nasbinals‐Saint‐Chély d’Aubrac (17kms), and Saint‐Côme
d’Olt ‐ Estaing (17kms),
‐Sainte‐Foy abbatial church in Conques,
‐Four bridges: the bridge across the river Boralde, in Saint‐Chély d’Aubrac – the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) over the river Lot, in Espalion – the bridge across the river Lot, in Estaing – the bridge over the river Dourdou, in Conques‐en‐Rouergue.
Bridges are an illustration of the need to overcome obstacles, something that is useful
for all travellers. They bear physical witness to the necessity of getting over hurdles in order to keep on going. The notion of a bridge also serves as a reminder to the «Welcomer» or the «Walker» of the requirement to cross cultural borders, to build cross‐cultural bridges so as to facilitate encounters.
With a view to furthering this progression, the idea was to rally the «Welcomers» ‐ the
inhabitants of this territory – so as to strengthen the feeling of «community» around
The Route of Santiago de Compostela. The idea was to create awareness among them of the nature of the inscribed Property, in order to ensure that it is preserved for future
This project has brought together all those involved in the Route and has been made
possible thanks to the financial support of the DRAC (Regional Management of Cultural Affairs), Région Occitanie Pyrénées‐Méditerranée, GAL AOC, GAL Gévaudan, Conseil départemental (County Council), Aveyron Culture, la Communauté de Communes des Hautes Terres de l’Aubrac (District Council), the villages of Nasbinals, Saint‐Chély‐dʼAubrac, Saint‐Côme‐dʼOlt, Espalion, Estaing, Conques-en‐Rouergue and the Crédit Agricole (bank).
I would like to sincerely thank everyone who accepted to take part and to be part of this project.
Chairperson of the “Sur les Pas de Saint‐Jacques” Association
Le Puy‐en‐Velay ‐ Aumont‐Aubrac ‐ Conques‐en‐Rouergue ‐ Livinhac‐le‐Haut