The Huguenot and Waldensian trail
Certified "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" in 2013
In 1685 an era of persecution began after the King of France, Louis XIV, revoked the Edict of Nantes. Two hundred thousand Huguenots sought refuge in the Protestant lands of Europe and around the world. The Waldensians from the Piedmont valleys also went into exile and followed the same path. This approximately 2000 km-long international trail traces the historical path taken during this exile.
The exiled Huguenots and Waldesians travelled to Geneva and then Germany, where they were welcomed and could start a new life. Along the way, numerous Huguenot and Waldensian settlements were formed and constitute not only a rich cultural heritage but also an immaterial reminder of the themes of religious persecution, displacement, migration and integration.
Starting in Poet Laval, in the Drôme (France) and from Saluzzo (Italy), this trail passes via Geneva (Switzerland), Baden-Württemberg and Hesse, going all the way to Bad Karlshafen (Germany). The route also abounds in cultural and historical attractions, as well as its scenic richness and beauty. Participants in this hike can explore various European cultures, discover a shared history, enjoy convivial moments through the acceptance of others, and continue to develop a sense of self-awareness.
Council of Europe values
The hiking trail aims to highlight the historical exile of the Huguenots and Waldensians and their step-by-step integration in the host countries as a component of our common European history and cultural heritage. It also puts the spotlight on freedom, respect for human rights, tolerance and solidarity as European core values.