mise à jour le 16 janvier, 2009 Connaître saint Jacques. Comprendre Compostelle. survol du site Page précédente Accueil

Fondation David Parou Saint-Jacques


The creation of the Fondation David Parou Saint-Jacques, in June 2002, arose from the experience acquired by a collective research effort begun in January 2000 in the framework of French pilgrim associations. In the spirit of tolerance and openness of the Council of Europe, it assembles elements of the common European cultural heritage linked with Saint James and Compostela. Thus, it contributes to a revision and renewal of knowledge and to building a bridge between all Europeans. It fulfils the wish of its precursor, René de La Coste-Messelière, who wanted in the 1980s to enlarge the field of research and review first assumptions by combining academic research with that of the associations. He was aware of the necessity of deepening knowledge and better exploiting the archives available.
The foundation is first and foremost devoted to research on Saint James, his cults and pilgrimages, but is also open to other saints and shrines (it is also named : Fondation Européenne pour la Recherche sur les PELerinages - FERPEL [European Foundation for Pilgrimage Research]). It collaborates with the European Institute of Cultural Routes. It offers its services to all those who need up-to-date and reliable information.


All subjects related to Saint James and Compostela - rambling, culture, religion, regional, national or European heritage - concern history in varying degrees. In the 1980s, the first journalists to write about Compostela naturally used the most recent research results available.
For 20 years, the passion for Compostela has led to a constant increase in the volume of publications on the subject (articles, special issues, radio and television programs). However, the historical basis used by pilgrims and amateur researchers in any number of books, conferences and Internet sites is still that of 20 years ago, as authors have uncritically reproduced the same information without reexamining it.

During that period of time, according to the wish of René de La Coste, much professional research has been invested in an effort to find the original texts, which are difficult to access (in addition to dispersion, they are in Latin, ancient French, manuscripts and ancient writings), and to reinterpret them in the light of modern multidisciplinary knowledge. The results called into question the previous certainties. The Foundation has inherited the results of this research and brings it to the public.


On the basis of this research, the Fondation provides answers for all those who wish to get a better understanding of the contemporary revival of pilgrimage to Compostela, to decipher its origins, to place the pilgrimage in the history of Europe, to seek out famous or less known pilgrims, to encourage the preservation of heritage.

It puts the results of this multi-disciplinary research at the disposal of visitors to its internet site. It opens new fields of reflection and exchange. It carries out research on historical pilgrims, for example the Czech lord of the XVth century Léon de Rosmital.

Its work (multidisciplinary studies and research, meetings and conferences, documentation and teaching packs, publications and editions, lectures and consultancy) is on a website on which more than fifty people collaborate : http://www.saint-jacques.info


The initiative of creating a new network of researchers at the beginning of the year 2000 was due to Denise Péricard-Méa. She put her experience at the disposal of the Foundation, which she created in June 2002 with a group of French researchers and the support of some academics and scientists. She benefits from the support of the Laboratoire de Médiévistique Occidentale de Paris (LAMOP), Paris I-CNRS, of which she is an associate member. The European Institute of Cultural Routes and the Tallandier publishing house were founding members.
The Foundation brings together: individuals : academics, teachers, professional and independent researchers as well as those who are simply curious. Professional bodies such as the CNRJMMA, Centre National de Recherche sur les Jetons et Méreaux au Moyen Age, may also become members as may associations, research institutes, cultural and tourist bodies, and companies.

Denise Péricard-Mea, in charge of Research :

- 1982 Pilgrimage on horseback from Bourges to Compostela ;
- In 1983, at the request of René de La Coste, registers at Sorbonne university ;
- 1987-1999 part-time lecturer of medieval history at Paris I-Sorbonne ;
- 1996 Doctorate in history from the University of Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne : Pilgrims of Compostela and pilgrimages in France at the end of the Middle Ages (3 volumes, 901 pages). Direction : Claude Gauvard. Jury : B. Guenée, C. Beaune, D. Le Blévec ;
- Associate member of the Society of Medieval Historians in Public Higher Education ;
- Member of the « Conseil de Laboratoire du LAMOP », (Laboratoire de Médiévistique Occidentale de Paris, UMR 8589 Paris I-Sorbonne- CRNS, dir. Jean-Philippe Genet, lecturer at Paris I). Manager for the theme « Pilgrim culture » within the research axis « Behavior and social relations » dir. C. Gauvard ;
- 2001 pilgrimage on foot from Lectoure to Compostela.

President, Louis Mollaret :
Polytechnic 1954, marine engineer, technical adviser with the Ministries of Defense, Industry and Research, took part in major national and international scientific or industrial projects (ARIANE program, Cairo metro...), consultant in valorization, director of companies in Germany. Pilgrim on foot on sections of the path 1997-2000 then, in 2001, from Lectoure to Compostela via the Saint-Adrien tunnel and the “Piémont de la Cordillière Cantabrique”. As webmaster, he presents and distributes results of the research on the Internet site.


Pilgrim of St James, sensitive and curious about everything, David was conscious of the importance of quality research serving cultural and tourist development. In June 2000, he was one of the organisers of the first national meeting of compostelan research, bringing together professional and associate researchers.
An agricultural engineer, impassioned by the vine, he chose his trade of wine-grower after returning from Compostela. Open to new practices and keen to increase his knowledge, he travelled widely to meet other wine-growers.
A devout Christian, involved in the Church and in many associations, he was actively interested in the work of voluntary associations, and became president of the association of the “Amis de saint Jacques en région Centre”.

David called his field "Field of the Pilgrims"; he died before the grapes could be harvested.

The Foundation bears his name through the ambition to continue his work.

La propriété intellectuelle du contenu de ce site est protégée par un dépôt à la Société des Gens de Lettres

Page précédente haut de page Accueil

nous écrire