The Via Turonensis starts in Paris at the foot of the majestic Saint-Jacques Tower and brings you to Saint Jean Pied de Port in a little over 1000 kms. Its name comes from the sanctuary of Saint Martin de Tours, which was the great pilgrimage destination of the early Middle Ages. With little difference in altitude, this itinerary is the cyclists' favourite, but it can also be followed on foot or horseback.
Soon after Paris, the path divides into two branches going via Chartres or via Orléans before joining up again in Tours in one single itinerary which corresponds to a natural and historic corridor leading travellers from Northern Europe and the Kingdom of France to the Pyrenees.
Along it lie numerous Romanesque buildings, which, in Poitou and Saintonge are particularly richly sculpted : Notre Dame La Grande in Poitiers, the portal of Saint Pierre d'Aulnay, or the three Romanesque churches in Melle. The warm colours of the stone provide lovely lighting effects.
Along this route, you can also visit the abbeys of Ligugé, Saint Jean d'Angely or Sorde.
The itinerary is signposted as a Long-distance Footpath, the GR®655, down to Saint Jean Pied de Port. Lying close to big towns and major transport facilities means that it is easy of access for a short stay, or for following it in its entirety.