The routes in France
The French part of the "Sur les Pas des Huguenots" trail, which is presented on this website, consists of approximately 1200 km of paths and about 75 stages in the South-East region.
"The history of men is that of movement. To follow on a map the movements, journeys or exiles, is like reading the genesis and death of civilizations, currents of thought, inventions, but it also means retracing the paths of bodies, which through time, have inhabited these spaces". Historian Pierre Bolle talking about the exile paths of the Huguenots, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in the seventeenth century.
The Cultural Route of the Council of Europe «The Huguenot and Waldensian Trail» includes several itineraries (hiking, cycling, equestrian) that retrace the paths of exile towards Switzerland, Italy and Germany. They invite tourists to discover several Regional and National Natural Parks as well as outstanding natural sites throughout the proposed itineraries.
The historical and cultural aspects of these paths resonate either with the contemporary history of our countries and regions, or with a reality that is still relevant: migration, exile, intolerance and integration remain major societal and political issues.
The French routes are dominant historical itineraries of clandestine exiles. The National Association neither claims to define these routes as the only and unique paths of the Huguenot refugees, nor ambitions to integrate all the heritage and/or tourist sites in these paths. The local variants and discovery loops should meet this need.
The concept of cultural hiking is based on the presence of heritage sites but the purpose is not to create «a touristical patrimonial zigzag» across eastern France. The density of heritage and historical events differs significantly, depending on the location of the routes.
The French itinerary is continuously working towards consistent markings and an up to date trail guide. In addition to the main routes, there are several variants and discovery loops.
Every year, several national or local events are organized by the National Association or by the local project's partners along the itinerary.