Since its foundation, the Abbey-church kept on welcoming pilgrims coming to worship the relics of Saint Foy from whole over Christian Europe.
Since its foundation, the abbey-church kept on welcoming pilgrims coming to worship the relics of Saint Foy, from whole Christian Europe. The Book of Miracles is a witness account of this popular devotion. To these first pilgrims, many others were added, during the 11th century. They were the ones going towards Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. They used to travel along the former Roman road from Le-Puy-en-Velay (the via podiensis), one of the four major axis for travellers in these times. Nowadays, this thousand years old devotion is still alive. Many pilgrims increasing in numbers every day add up to the traditional pilgrims of the past, like the modern hiker, who for multiple reasons takes on this cultural route. It is a privileged occasion for humane connections and for the discovery of an exceptional heritage (architecture and arts).
The Guide du Pèlerin, a Latin manuscript from the 12th century mentioned Conques, a crucial stop along this route, in these words : "the most precious body of the blessed Foy, virgin and martyr, had been buried by the Christians in this deep valley commonly called Conques, with all the honours ; they built above her grave a beautiful basilica governed by the rules of Saint-Benedict seriously followed to this day, to God's glory; many benefits are provided to all, either healthy or sick ; in front of the basilica runs an excellent spring, which virtues are more admired that can be said. Her feast (Saint-Foy) is celebrated on October, 6th".
The convention concerning the protection of the world natural and cultural heritage was adopted in 1972 between the states and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Its duty is to ensure the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the natural and cultural heritage. The heritage registered in the list represents an invaluable and irreplaceable treasure for the Humanity. The main objective of the heritage conservation is to highlight and to preserve the human cultural diversity and its environment. The purpose of the action in favor of heritage preservation is to promote peace through the conservation of cultural diversities and dialogue between cultures beyond differences. In 2015, France counted 41 "cultural or natural sites" among the registered sites in the World Heritage List.
Since 1987, the former pilgrimage routes to Compostela have been recognized as a cultural route by the Council of Europe.