One of the highlights of a walk along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy is a visit to the church of Saint-Pierre, located in the hamlet of Bessuéjouls, three kilometres past Espalion .
The bell tower of this ancient church dates from the twelfth century and was left intact when the rest of the church was renovated, some 400 years later.
(Published February 2016, updated March 2020)
Inside the church, simple white-washed walls offset colourful carvings and paintings of Christ and the apostles.
Mass is held once each month as the local priest rotates through the villages in the area but attending a service here would be a treat indeed—even if, like me, you understand nothing!
Stairs at the rear of the church will take you up to the chapel dedicated to the archangel Saint-Michel.
It’s hard to imagine who used this tiny space.
Perhaps it was reserved for priests, or perhaps it was visited only when needed, to ring church bells which are no longer there. Perhaps it only became a chapel centuries later.
No matter what the original purpose, there is an overwhelming sense of tranquility oozing from the red sandstone columns.
(Take a closer look inside the chapel here.)
Which long-distance walk in France visits Bessuéjouls?
Where is Bessuéjouls, France? Find it on Google maps
Bessuéjouls is located 157.5 kilometres (98.6 miles) along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques. If you’ve been following my suggested itinerary since leaving Le-Puy-en-Velay (and stopped to visit Château Fort de Calmont d’Olt on your way out of Espalion), you’ll arrive late in the morning on the ninth day of walking.
Click through to find my suggested itinerary for all five stages of the walk
If you prefer to set your own agenda, I share the steps I take to calculate distances on any long-distance walk (using the Chemin de Stevenson as a case study)
The Compostel’Bus service runs every morning, connecting villages along the path between Le-Puy-en-Velay and Conques and making the return journey each afternoon. The nearest stop to Bessuéjouls is three kilometres east in Espalion or eight kilometres further along in Estaing.
Accommodation in Bussuéjouls
Domaine d’Armagnac has been offering accommodation to passing walkers for many years but has recently changed ownership. Before booking, confirm with the host whether an evening meal will be provided.
Where to eat in Bessuéjouls
The grassy lawn in front of the church is a popular spot for long-distance walkers ready to take a break, enjoy a picnic lunch and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient and historic site.
And if you’ve forgotten your picnic lunch—there’s a small café just over the bridge beyond the church.