Rocamadour Shrine - History and Facts | History Hit

Rocamadour Shrine

Rocamadour, Occitania, France

The Rocamadour Shrine is a holy complex of 11th to 13th century churches and chapels in southern France.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Rocamadour Shrine

The Rocamadour Shrine in southern France is a place of holy pilgrimage of the Christian faith, made so by a series of reports of miraculous events taking place in this location.

Rocamadour Shrine history

The shrine of Rocamadour was one of the most celebrated Marian pilgrimage sites during the Middle Ages. The first reported Christian use of the site dates from early in the 11th century when pilgrims made their way to Rocamadour to see a Black Virgin statue in a small chapel built into the cliffs.

Historical records tell that in 1166 an incorrupt body was discovered buried in a cave next to the chapel and thus began the legend of St. Amadour.

Over the ensuing centuries the crypt of St. Amadour and the chapel of the Black Virgin underwent periods of prosperity and decline. In the mid 16th cnetury, the chapel was pillaged and burnt by Protestants and the body of St. Amadour was destroyed. The statue of the Black Virgin remained unharmed.

Reconstruction of the shrine began in the 1800’s. The chapel and its legendary statue continue to be the venerated and Rocamadour remains one of the most popular Marian holy places in all of France.

Rocamadour Shrine today

One of the main historic sites at the Rocamadour Shrine is the Chapel of Notre-Dame, in which one of these incidents took place. In 1166, it is said that the body of Saint Amadour – from which the town takes its name – was found here in an incredibly well-preserved state. Today, the chapel contains a statue of the Black Virgin.

Other sites include the thirteenth century Saint Anne’s Chapel and Chapel of Saint Blaise, the former tomb of St. Amadour, the twelfth century frescos in St. Michael’s Chapel and the Chateau.

Getting to Rocamadour Shrine

You can reach Rocamadour by car or by train from many cities in France, including Paris, although it is a six hour journey by train from here. From Austerlitz station in Paris, you will also need to change trains once and then continue on to Rocamadour. The train station is called Rocamadour-Padirac, a short distance from the cliff.

Featured In

France Historic Sites

From towering imposing castles to First World War trenches, ancient Roman ruins to historic Revolutionary sites, France is brimming with relics of its esteemed and turbulent history. Here's our pick of 10 of the very best attractions in the country.