In 1685 an era of persecution began after the King of France, Louis XIV, revoked the Edict of Nantes. Two hundred thousand Huguenots sought refuge in the Protestant lands of Europe and around the world. Many left the Dauphiné in France, where the revocation was well enforced, and headed towards Geneva and then Germany, where they were welcomed and could start new colonies. The Waldensians from the Piedmont valleys (where the revocation was respected) exiled themselves as well and followed the same path.
This 1,600 km international trail ( "Sur les Pas des Huguenots" ) follows the historical path taken during this exile. Starting in Poet Laval, in the Drôme, this trail crosses Geneva, Switzerland, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse, going all the way to Bad Karlshafen. The German section of the trail leads us near numerous Huguenot and Waldensian settlements. The trail "Via Valdesi", which comes out of the Piedmont valleys, joins the path taken by the Huguenots near the Swiss border.
In addition to being an interesting and educational trail that offers a glimpse of the Protestants' cultural heritage (through short thematic holidays, daily visits, and free or guided tours), this trail also tries to support the local economies.
"Sur les Pas des Huguenots ...et des Vaudois" (following the Huguenot and Waldensian trail) is an international project that includes the cooperation of German, French, Swiss and Italian partners. In each country, various partners (regional districts and their organizations, wildlife parks, parishes, museums, associations, tour operators, and various involved individuals) have been integrated into the project. This trail has been made possible by the various contributions of all its members.