Very sinuous, this first part of the path of the exile of Saint Colomban crosses at the beginning the more central regions of France (Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Centre-Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire) before returning to the North by other paths in the regions visited by the path of Saint Colomban in 590.

Around 610, expelled from Luxeuil, Saint Colomban and the Irish monks were taken to Nantes under the guard of armed soldiers who were in charge of taking them on a ship to Ireland. But, barely on board, they managed to escape and, fearing that they would be caught, began an incredible journey through many countries. Most of the journey into exile takes place in France from East to West and then back again after Nantes. The itinerary mainly follows the great rivers and the vineyards often planted on their banks while crossing the historic cities that mark them out.

These two successive crossings of France (2700km in total) are not the most direct way to reach the Swiss border east of Luxeuil, 110km away. However, they are in the strong image of a volunteer Columbine who had left Ireland for good without any spirit of return.

Here is one itinerary :


At the start of your stopover you will follow the Arcier springs which supplied water to the town of Besançon as early as the Gallo-Roman period. You will go up to Montfaucon, a panoramic view of the Comtoise city awaits you there but also the history of the medieval fort and the 19th century fort. The Chapelle des Buis, a place of pilgrimage for the bisontins, welcomes you with a Franciscan community. You will go down to the old town and its rich heritage. The history of Saint Colomban passes through the prisons of King Thierry II in this capital of Sequoia.

Start: Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul Church, 20 rue de l'Église, 25 220 Vaire-le-Grand

Arrival: Saint-Jean Cathedral, 10 rue de la Convention, 25 000 Besançon

From the church go towards the Doubs, take the Tervelles path which runs along the Doubs on the left bank. Turn right on the D323, entrance of Arcier at the car park, left on chemin des Sources.

  1. Turn right at the junction with a dirt road, first road on the left and then immediately right, cross the dirt road.
  2. Left at the crossroads with a dirt road, at the crossroads after the quarry on the right, direction Fort de Montfaucon, not to be visited, left chemin de la Redoute du fort de Montfaucon.
  3. Right for 150 metres for the view of Besançon and back on chemin de la Redoute, rue de la Vue des Alpes, right in the bend, rue d’Aigremont, right, rue du Belvédère.
  4. Fourth right in front of the church, rue des Fontaines, left, rue de la Fruitière, left, rue des Fontaines at the roundabout right strategic path, straight ahead, chemin de Chevriot Dessus, left chemin La Charade towards the housing estate, rue de Saint Fort, pass under the railway on the left, rue du Commerce, take the bridge to cross the road to Lausanne.
  5. Turn left on the exit ramp at route de Lausanne, go up towards the Chapelle des Buis, at La Bro on the left, Notre-Dame de la Libération, on the right towards the Chapelle des Buis, go down chemin de la Chapelle des Buis
  6. Crossroads Chemin de Malpas, first road on the left, first path with stairs on the right, Chemin de la Petite Creuse, crossroads at the edge of the Doubs on the right towards the town centre, Faubourg de Tarragnoz, after the roundabout take the stairs in front of the gendarmerie on the left Rue du Chapitre you will arrive at the Cathedral of Saint-Jean which you will go round with the stairs on the left to enter the building.