One of the oldest shrines in the world dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary is found here in Le Puy in central France. The exact dates are unknown, but somewhere between the 3rd and 4th centuries a local woman with an incurable disease had an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was told to climb Mt. Corneille, which formerly been a place of pagan worship, where she would be cured by the simple act of sitting on the great stone. Following this advice, the woman was miraculously cured of her ailment.


Appearing to the woman a second time, Mary gave instructions that the local bishop should be contacted and told to build a church on the hill. According to tradition, when the bishop climbed the hill, he found the ground covered in deep snow even though it was the middle of July. A lone deer walked through the snow, tracing the ground plan of the cathedral that was to be built. When the Bishop visited the spot again in the summer he was amazed to see flowers had replaced the thorn bushes that outlined the chapel. Convinced by these miracles of the authenticity of Mary’s wishes, the bishop decided to have a chapel built here.

The town was famous for being one of the main starting points on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.