Rocamadour, France: Shrine of Our Lady of Rocamadour
The story of Rocamadour:
Here in Southwestern France is one of the country’s most ancient and popular shrines. The name comes from the French “roc” referring to the cliff on which the shrine is perched, and the name Amadour refers to the name of the hermit who built an oratory here shortly after Christ’s crucifixion.
Although there is little evidence, it is believed by many that the hermit was Zaccheus, whom Christ converted in Jericho and then went to Gaul. The body of this man, whomever he may be, was found lodged in an opening in the cliff in 1166. It was incorrupt and when it was presented for veneration reports of miracles soon followed.
The Shrine of Rocamadour:
Later a statue of the Madonna was brought to the shrine and pilgrims reported prayers being answered after venerating the statue. Although the body was destroyed sometime during the 16th Century, the statue of the Black Madonna was kept securely hidden and is now on display in the chapel, which is located about half-way up the cliff. There are 216 steps leading upwards toward the chapel. Kings, bishops and princes were known to climb these on their knees, including Saint Louis IX.
During the middle ages Rocamadour was the third most popular pilgrimage destination in the world, numbers one and two being The Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela. Still today, Rocamadour continues to draw an estimated one million pilgrims each year.
In 2013, from March 28 through December 8, the shrine celebrated it’s 1,000 year anniversary of pilgrimages to the site.
Traveling to Rocamadour:
You can reach Rocamadour by train from many cities in France, including Paris, although it is a six hour journey from there. From Paris from Austerlitz station, you will need to change trains once and then continue on to Rocamadour. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
The train station is actually called Rocamadour-Padirac, which is a short distance from the cliff.
Address: The Sanctuary of Rocamadour , 46500 Rocamadour
Tel: +33 (0) 5 65 14 10 59
GPS coordinates: 44° 47′ 57.7788” N, 1° 37′ 4.4436” E
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of the Shrine of Rocamadour
1. Daniel M. Madden, A Religious Guide to Europe, Collier Books, 1977.
2. Exterior photo: Wikimedia
3. Interior photo: Office de Tourisme, Vallee de la Dordogne.