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 European Conference : The paths of Santiago de Compostela REGISTRATION AND PROGRAMME
In the frame of the 20th anniversary of the Cultural Routes Programme of the Council of Europe, this conference will take place in Le-Puy-en-Velay, from 27 to 29 September 2007, with the collaboration of the EICR
european institute of cultural routes
Fanny Egretaud
12 September 2007

On 23rd October 1987, the Council of Europe brought together many European Ministers of Culture and representatives of its Parliamentary Assembly in Santiago de Compostela. The General Secretary, Marcelino Oreja presented a Declaration that founded the Programme of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.

In its conclusion we can read: “May the faith which has inspired pilgrims throughout history, uniting them in a common aspiration and transcending national differences and interests, inspire us today, and young people in particular, to travel along these routes in order to build a society founded on tolerance, respect for others, freedom and solidarity �

The Paths of Santiago de Compostela were thus named as the ‘First European Cultural Route.’

After the registration of the camino francés (‘French path’) on the List of World Heritage in 1993, at Spain’s request, UNESCO registered the ‘Paths of Compostela’ in France in 1998, including the ‘Hotel Dieu’ and the Cathedral of Le Puy-en-Velay.

This year, 20 years after the birth of one of the most important programmes for cultural cooperation which now involves 49 countries, Le Puy-en-Velay has been chosen to hold a large European anniversary conference on the subject of European paths and cultural routes (27th-29th September), carried out under the guidance of the Council of Europe and with the help of the scientific advice of the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

The conciliation of tourism, culture and the discovery of heritage is shown year after year in Europe to be one of the strongest tendencies of tourist practices. A new approach, based on local cultural values related to a dimension of a diverse European identity, serves as a basis for a tourist product whose success is growing day by day.

This synthesis is registered in the restoration plan for the ‘Hotel Dieu’ of Puy-en-Velay whose building works will begin on the occasion of these ‘European Days’. These days, through their magnitude, will also provide a premise for the annual meetings expected in this building which symbolises spirituality and the sharing of values.

Meetings of the ‘Hotel Dieu’

In order to celebrate this 20th anniversary of the creation of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, Le Puy-en-Velay also proposes a series of events (shows, exhibitions, urban scenography, literary space, walk along the route of Santiago [Via Podiensis], etc.) encourage development and a return to its roots in a welcoming and spiritual land that is Le Puy-en-Velay and its surroundings.

Under the guidance of the Council of Europe and the Scientific Committee of the European Institute of Cultural Routes, this conference, open to all of Europe, will address three axes:

The European ethics and values of the path

The European signposting, interpretation and mediation of the path

Governance and maintenance: rural and urban pilgrimage landscapes

It also wishes to emphasise the importance of the history of the European Path for the construction of Greater Europe, and to create strong links between the conference participants and the general public, those who use the path and young people.

And above all to demonstrate the importance of the link between following the path and the spiritual, imaginary and literary dimensions that enrich it.

As for speeches, the conference will be open to all of the pilgrimage routes recognised by the Council of Europe (Via Francigena, St. Martin, St. Michel…) as well as to routes based on a historical relationship to the path, to the organisation or reception of pilgrimages (Via Regia, Transromanica [route of Roman art], Cluniac Sites…).

More generally, the 24 routes that have been certificated will be represented as well as all of the people who are working towards the development and evaluation of the Programme of Cultural Routes.


Thursday 27th September

Reception of international delegations by the elected officials of Le Puy-en-Velay.

Welcoming address

History of the European path
Mr. José Maria Ballester

The intercultural dimension of the journey
Mrs. Julia Kristeva

The imaginary and European dimensions of the paths
Writers’ roundtable

Friday 28th September

9 :00 - 10:30 : European opening session attended by the elected officials of Le Puy-en-Velay, the members of the Steering Committee, representatives of the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the European Parliament, and representatives of the Ministries of Culture of the countries involved.

10:45-12h30: First session

The Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, 20 years of development. The issues of European citizenship.

This session will be introduced and led by Mr. Michel Thomas-Penette, director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

Speakers: a historian, a geographer, an editor, a journalist, a specialist in new technologies, a representative of the World Tourism Organisation and a representative of the world of religious tourism will address the issues, looking at the following themes:

Research, a fundamental issue in the elaboration of the message of the paths

The issue of information: tools of the contemporary walker

The issue of dialogue: paths, tourism spaces, citizenship spaces

14:00–15:30: Second session

Continuing to put these issues into perspective, this second session will be dedicated to the issue of pilgrimage in towns and territories. The question of new forms of tourism and diversification of the tourism offer will be the central theme.

This session will be presided over by a representative of the Congress of Local and Regional Powers of the Council of Europe and led by Mr. Michel Thomas-Penette, director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

The speakers will be the elected officials of the regions and towns of Europe that are particularly concerned with pilgrimage routes and cultural routes in general.

16:00–19:00: Round tables

Each round table will be introduced by formal speeches which will position the discussion and will look to reach conclusions that will form part of the final Declaration.

Workshop 1 : Inventory of research– speech – historiography

This round table concerns the scientific dimension, in terms of history, art history, archaeology, ethnology, literary studies…on different cultural routes touching on pilgrimages and the communication of a scientific discourse to the general public. The medieval era, in the general sense, is common to the majority of the routes and it is consequently seen as important to include a historiographical reflection. How can the medieval cultural and intellectual foundations of the nationalism of 19th century become a cultural and intellectual foundation for a political Europe?

Workshop 2 : Ethics and values, the different practices of the path

The aim of this round table is to emphasis the complementarities between the religious practices of pilgrimages of different faiths and the spiritual practices, in the larger sense, which can be found on the pilgrimage routes. It looks to highlight good practices concerning possible collaboration between the various players involved.

Workshop 3 : Signpost, make the path easier, welcome – a code of ethics

This round table has several dimensions: it looks to highlight the methodologies that allow us to signpost a path, with the support of historical, geographical and landscape data, the setting up and maintenance of the paths and welcoming people in a spirit of European citizenship and dialogue. It will aim to introduce a permanent training plan on all of these aspects and envisage an ethical European code of welcoming.

Workshop 4 : Governance of the paths / rural and urban dimensions

This round table looks to highlight knowledge concerning the impact of cultural tourism and cultural routes on the economies and urban and territorial resources, and aims to emphasise examples of good governance that enables the creation of a permanent European network of public territorial groupings authorised by the Council of Europe in order to ensure the respect the of European ethics and values of the pilgrimage routes.

Saturday 29th September

9:00–11:00: Third Session :

European pathways and networks – Summary of the workshops

Adoption of the Declaration of Le Puy-en-Velay.

11:30–12:30: Fourth Session :

The continuity of the pathways

This session, which will take place in the presence of the general public, will be moderated by a journalist. It will aim to establish a dialogue between the elected officials, historical witnesses of the route of Santiago de Compostela and the Programme of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in general, and young Europeans who have participated in volunteer and exchange programmes in Europe.

The young people will be asked to draw up an additional paragraph for the Declaration of Le Puy-en-Velay which directly concerns them and to bring the Declaration to Santiago de Compostela on 23rd October 2007.


The Xunta de Galicia in cooperation with the municipality of Santiago de Compostela prepare a ceremony for the very day of the XXth anniversary.
What ?
Where ?
Le Puy-en-Velay
When ?
from 27/09/2007 to 30/09/0007
By whom ?
European Institute of Cultural RoutesTour Jacob - Plateau du Rham
00 352 241 250
00 352 241 176
Conditions of participation
Simultaneous Translation: French-English. Help can be provided for Spanish, German and Italian in order to help the discussions for the roundtables.

Registration fees : 90 €
Reduced rate (on presentation of a proof) :
30 € (students, unemployed people)
60 € (heritage mediators)

Special fare for the members of the networks of the cultural routes.

This price includes the participation to the conference, the proceedings of the conference, the lunch of Friday 28 September, breaks and cocktails
To reserve...
Send the registration form that can be downloaded online with payment until 3rd September 2007 to : Office de Tourisme de la Communauté d'Agglomération du Puy en Velay 2 place du Clauzel 43000 Le Puy-en-Velay For any question, information requirement, please send an e-mail to Mr. Thomas-Penette : ! If you want to receive more information and especially the detailed programme when ready mid-July, please send a mail in clicking on Reserve.

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 more infos ...
 editorial content
 The pilgrim pathways
  A founding theme
 To do, to Le Puy-en-Velay
  until 30 September
 Registration form
  to download
  Presentation of the conference
 Accommodation and catering
  at Le-Puy-en-Velay
 Programme of the Conference
 Programme du Colloque
 Programma dell'incontro
 Programa del Coloquio


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