Friday, 7 February 2020

Notre Dame des Champs


Lisa walks up the Roman road and pilgrim route to the chapel.
Walking a pilgrim path.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Follow the Roman road from Boussay along the wooded ridge of the Bois aux Prêtres, as I often do, and you will come across the ruin of a medieval chapel. Nothing more than a sort of stone bower now, it is topped with a rather etiolated statue of the Virgin Mary.

The grotto of Notre Dame des Champs.
Grotto of Notre Dame des Champs, Boussay.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Every year in early August pilgrims come to honour her, and a mass is celebrated in the woods by the chapel. Benches and trestles are laid out and a meal served in the clearing in front of the chapel in the evening. Last summer we happened to walk up there just after the pilgrimage. The path was lined with home made bunting and the grotto filled with flowers. There was not a scrap of rubbish to be seen.

Statue of the Virgin Mary, perched above her grotto.
Notre Dame des Champs, Boussay.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The statue dates from the first decade of the twentieth century.

The back of the statue of the Virgin Mary.
Notre Dame des Champs, Boussay.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Note that the land is privately owned, so technically you need permission to visit the chapel. The site also happens to be one of the best wild orchid sites in the area. I have recorded 14 species for the site.


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