The Saint Martin of Tours Route

Saint Martin of Tours has been part of Europe's collective memory since the fourth century. A tireless traveller around Europe for his entire life, this European ahead of his time, who symbolises the universal value of sharing, was born in 316 in Pannonia, now Hungary, to pagan parents. Having been raised in Pavia, Italy, where his father served in the Roman army, he himself was enrolled in the army at the age of about fifteen. In 337, while stationed in Amiens, France, he cut his cloak in two to give half to a poor man who was dying of cold. His faith was then revealed to him and he became a Christian. Living as a hermit near Poitiers, he established a monastery in Ligugé, the first in the Western world. He became a bishop in 371; he founded the abbey of Marmoutier and the first rural churches in Gaul, while travelling extensively throughout part of Europe. Saint Martin died on 8 November 397 in Candes and was buried on 11 November in Tours.


The Saint Martin of Tours European Cultural Route links many European towns which were part of the life of Saint Martin, as well as those with a significant architectural heritage linked to his veneration (thousands of monuments are dedicated to him, including fourteen European cathedrals).

These sites also have an intangible heritage (legends, traditions, folklore) that is still very much alive. The towns and the regions participating in this cultural route make it possible to rediscover a key, long-forgotten cultural heritage. Vectors of cultural, social, sustainable and committed tourism, the saint Martin Route relates episodes from his life: Via sancti Martini (2 500 km), Szombathely his childhood town in Hungary to Tours, Via caesaraugustana (1 100 km, where he attended a council, Via treverorum (1 100 km), where he went several times to meet the emperors and Via trajectensis (1 100 km). The Saint Martin Route symbolises the value of sharing.