Figeac, a halt on the way of Saint James

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Way of Saint James

Figeac, a major halt on the Way of Saint James.

Figeac is a welcome halt on the GR 65 which goes from le Puy en Velay to Santiago de Compostela, a way also known as the “via podensis”, one of the 4 major routes described from the 12th century onwards to reach the Spanish destination of Santiago de Compostela.

Founded in 830 around a Benedictine abbey, the medieval town of Figeac became a prosperous centre in the 13th century thanks to its strategic central position which encouraged agriculture and trade. The town expanded and the architecture reflected the town’s growing prosperity. The four major mendicant orders (Franciscans, White Friars, Dominicans and Augustinians) established monasteries in Figeac, creating hospices, one of which became the pilgrims’ hospice. To this day it houses the town’s hospital (Hôpital Saint Jacques)
Pilgrims today can be received by the Carmelite nuns in Figeac.

 

An unusual feature.

The mystery remains about the two enigmatic monuments in Figeac : les aiguilles de Lissac et du Cingle.
Tall octagonal columns of stone - “ une aiguille” or needle - each construction is placed on a pedestal comprising four steps. They are made of cemented, dressed stone. The needle situated to the south, le Cingle, measures 14.5m, the Lissac needle, situated to the west of Figeac measures 11.5m.

No other constructions of this kind have been identified in France. Some, in Italy, have been dated to around 1300. They are said to have served several functions, beacons guiding travellers on the Way of St James, the boundaries of the territory under the abbot’s protection.... the reality of their purpose remains an enigma.

 

 

 

Practical details :

  • Credentials : (the pilgrim’s book, proving they are genuine pilgrims, is stamped in each village they stop in) Credentials can be bought at Figeac Tourist Office for 8€.
  • Accommodation
  • Shops and services
  • Arriving in Figeac
  • Advice for car parking : situated behind the Cité Administrative, avenue des Carmes, the car park is free of charge. There is no guardian but the Police Station is nearby.
  • Public transport
  • Fichier pdf Way of Saint James – guide book of practical information (in French)