From the middle of the 9th century onwards, the area known today as Midi-Pyrénées saw the passage first of hundreds then of thousands of Christians walking to the tomb of the Apostle James the Greater in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain.
For pilgrims from all over Western Europe and the Mediterranean basin, Midi-Pyrénées was the natural and inevitable way through to Spain.
Wherever they came from, they had no choice but to walk across Midi-Pyrénées, either along the Le Puy route (the Via Podiensis), the Arles route (the Via Tolosana) or the Pyrenean Foothills route. On reaching the Pyrenees they crossed the Spanish border via the Col de Roncevaux or Col du Somport.
Today, thousands of people from all backgrounds still pass through Midi-Pyrénées following one of the St James's Way walking routes.
Some are keen walkers and others are on a spiritual quest, finding their faith or looking for a different kind of holiday, but whatever their reason, tourists and pilgrims alike walk through Midi-Pyrénées to face their own personal challenge, go the distance and surpass themselves along the route. It's a walk alive with the energy, triumphs and tribulations of the millions of men and women who have trod the Way over the course of the last 12 centuries.