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Pilgrimages and legends

By bike

24.00 km

3 h

Pilgrimages and legends

This tour takes you in the footsteps of two pilgrimages that were very important at the time: one goes back to the Middle Ages and the other to the 17th century. What do they have in common? The coming of the great ones of this world to pray and meditate.

To these, it was a Frankish king, Pépin de Herstal, who had a villa built near the Lesse river to stay as close as possible to Saint Hadelin and his monastery. This villa is the origin of the Château de Vêves, also called Château de Celles. But the story does not stop there... In the 17th century, on the land of the castellan of Vêves, on the other side of the hill, an image of the Virgin is discovered in the hollow of a tree... then miracles follow. This was the beginning of the pilgrimage to Foy Notre-Dame for which the Archdukes of Austria, who were fond of the Marian cult, came.

To reach the village of Foy Notre-Dame from Dinant, it is possible to take a pilgrimage path through the countryside from the old casino (see map). However, it is extremely steep at first and much of it can only be walked.

This route is more fully described in a discovery brochure Detours and other pilgrimages in Namur (FR).

  1. Sanctuary Notre-Dame de Foy – Foy-Notre-Dame

    This pilgrimage church dates back to the early 17th century, a time troubled by religious wars, when the Catholic Church encouraged Marian pilgrimages. Among them, Foy Notre-Dame (...)

  2. Collegiate church Saint-Hadelin - Celles

    The Romanesque collegiate church borders the village square, at the very bottom of the valley. It is a typical church of 11th century Mosan art, with its wooden ceiling and defensive tower, protecting the villagers from the vagaries of time and history. Before that, it was surrounded by a monastery and later by a chapter (...)

  3. Celles Village – Houyet

    Now you have to go even further to discover one of the most beautiful villages in Wallonia. Its origin dates back to the 7th century, when a certain Hadelin, determined to evangelize the peoples of the North, built an oratory along the Lesse (...)

  4. Former hermitage of Celles

    As you leave the church, there is a small hill on the left. Saint Hadelin, all dressed in white, watches over the village. A hermitage has existed there for centuries. Today, it is the most beautiful viewpoint over the valley. To get there, you must take the Way of the Cross just behind the church (...)

  5. Vêves Castle

    Reaching the heights of the valley, the road runs for a few hundred metres along the estate of the fairytale château de Vêves. It is necessary to go back to the 7th century and to Pépin de Herstal to know its origin (...)

  6. Furfooz Park

    Before returning to Foy Notre-Dame, why not take a short detour to the heights of the valley (Parc de Furfooz) or to the waterfront, in a bathing suit, the lapping of the waves as the only rumour (...)

  7. Les Aiguilles de Chaleux

    Viewpoint on the Lesse valley

Church buildings on the route

Sanctuary Notre-Dame de Foy

Sanctuary Notre-Dame de Foy

5504 Foy-Notre-Dame



5561 Celles