Vezelay - panoramic view
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This great Burgundian site, one of the high places of Medieval France, was founded by the legendary Girart de Rousillon, who selected it in the mid 9th century for a community of monastic women. The abbey was reconsecrated on its present site in 878, following the destruction of the original foundation by the Vikings. Long a theatre for major events in Christian history, Vezelay witnessed the preaching of the second crusade by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the meeting of Kings Philip Augustus of France and Richard Lionheart of England in 1190, prior to their departure on the third crusade, and the founding, by St. Francis of Assisi in 1217, of the first French community of Friars Minor. King Louis the 9th (St. Louis) made several pilgrimages to Vezelay after 1248, and Theodore de Bèze, one the great preachers of the Reformation, was born here in 1519.