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  7. Seventh week: from Barbastro to La Grande-Motte

Seventh week: from Barbastro to La Grande-Motte





























  La Grande-Motte

Getting back on road past Barbastro, we wilfully climb across the chain of the Pyrenees for two days, touching the highest point so far in our journey.

On the first day, we travel up the Ésera and Isábena Rivers towards the city of Vielha, a place dominated by the Posets-Maledeta Natural Park. As we enter Vielha on the second day, the octagonal tower and the Romanesque portal of its parish church welcome us. Leaving the city behind, we cross the border on foot at the end of the second day.

Passing through a series of small villages and castles, we reach the city of Saverdun, the birthplace of Jacques Fournier, who would become Pope Benedict XII in 1334.  Four years later, the philosophical theories of William of Ockham and Marsilius of Padua argued for independence and autonomy between the political imperial and papal powers. The following year Pope Benedict XII confirmed Verona as Studium Generale but the university followed the fate of the Della Scala Family and was short-lived.

We arrive in the fortified city of Carcassonne (UNESCO) on the fifth day. The historic citadel, surrounded by a double row of fortified walls and 14 towers, defines it as Europe’s largest fortified medieval city. The towers guard the castle of the Counts and the Basilica of Saint Nazarius. The oldest part of the basilica, the Romanesque tripartite nave coexists with Gothic stained glass windows. The original Visigothic church was renovated by architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, who received criticism for his construction of pointed tower caps ready for battlement.

The next day we arrive in Béziers, a city where the in utroque jure graduate of Padua, Giovanni Bonsi became its bishop in 1596. Thanks to the numerous diplomatic missions, Catherine de’ Medici married Henry IV, and Bishop Bonsi grew in favour of the entry of the Jesuits and their teaching into the city.

From here, we cross the Canal du Midi (UNESCO) until we reach the city of Agde formed by the cooled lava of Mount St. Loop that holds a fortified church dedicated to St-Étienne.  The same city and birthplace of Bernardo Platon, who became the bishop of Padua in the Middle Ages and who requested to be buried in the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua surrounded by the admiration of the Order of Friars Minor.  Reportedly, local citizens enraged by famine and heavy taxes killed Bishop Bernardo, but this rumour was never confirmed.

We come to the end of the seventh stage of our journey as we skirt around the Réserve Naturelle du Bagnas, touching the Mediterranean Sea and crossing beaches and lagoons until we reach La Grande-Motte.


I decided to participate in the relay because I think it is an excellent opportunity to share my passion for cycling and sport with others. Furthermore, I love a challenge and see this as a test for myself beyond anything academic.
Marco Tancon

Marco Tancon

I chose to participate in the cycling relay because I feel deeply for my University, especially now, as we celebrate the long history of an institution that has stood witness to culture and ideals. The scholares vagantes initiative contributes to that which defines Europe as a place to share knowledge and values in a time when equality, solidarity, and peace are needed more than ever
Carlo Manfredi vagantes

Carlo Manfredi

I have spent the last two years learning just how radical cycling can be. This form of travel changes the way one interacts with the world, it allows one to discover new places with an open sense of freedom as they continuously repeat the alternating action of thrusting upon the pedal.  I have found that this rhythm is the ideal form of travelling for me to connect with my personal sense of belonging.  For these reasons, as soon as I read that the University was proposing this initiative, I offered my willingness to participate and share in this wonderful experience.
Amedeo Girardi vagantes

Amedeo Girardi

I chose to participate in this initiative because it combines values that I recognize within myself. I get to fill my sense of belonging to an institution that generates knowledge, training, and sustainable mobility driven by a metaphoric and concrete mode of cultural exchange and travel. I don’t cycle that often but I do enjoy using cycle tourism as a way to discover more areas of Italy and Europe. I think that cycling is the ideal means of transportation; you can go on long trips and feel a closeness to nature and the environment that you can’t achieve with other forms of travel. Even if my role is only a supportive one for the athletes, rather than cycling, I feel so lucky that I get to contribute to this initiative. I am proud to carry the University of Padua’s image across the academic landscape of our continent.
paolo mongillo vagantes

Paolo Mongillo

Main sponsor


Technical Sponsor

De Marchi Rudy project Elastic interface