Sanctuaires

Top choice historic site in Rocamadour

The Sanctuaires are seven beautiful 12th- to 14th-century chapels built into the rock-face and surrounding a central courtyard. You can see worn stones where pilgrims cycled between the churches. Chapelle Notre Dame is the highlight, containing the magical Vierge Noire (Black Madonna). Carved from walnut in the 12th century, she drew worshippers from across Europe in the Middle Ages. Overhead, the 9th-century iron bell is said to have rung on its own when somewhere in the world the Virgin performed a miracle.

Outside the chapel are the sites where it is said that the original hermit, St Amadour, was buried, and where Durandal, Roland’s famous sword, was embedded in the wall. Rocamadour is still an active site; dress appropriately.

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