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Black Madonna sites on the French Camino


New Member
I plan to walk the French route from Le Puy to the border of Spain this summer. I want to know about Black Madonna sites along this route - any comments, book recommendations etc. are most welcome!!
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Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Perhaps this is something you already know about, but there is some information in English about the importance of the Black Madonna in Le Puy itself for the Marist order. This comes from the 'history' section on the Irish Marists website:
http://www.maristfathers.org/Le Puy.html


Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
Central France seems to hold most of the Black Madonnas, so there are probably quite a few in the vicinity of the Camino from Le Puy.

Directly on the Camino the following towns have Black Madonnas:

Le Puy en Velay - 2 statues apparently

Espalion - in the Chapel of l'Hopital d'Espalion


Rocamadour - probably the most famous, just north-west of Figeac.

Hope this helps.
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Not on the French, but on the Portuguese Camino, we came across this Black Madonna. It was on the Porto to Guardieras stretch in a roadside altar:

I don't know if this is a "Black Madonna" or simply a black "Madonna" but she was beautiful!


Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:

The Black Virgins: the Veneration, the Iconography and the Sanctuaries in Europe
In Italy - Oropa and Crea

This convention deals with the veneration of the black Virgins in Europe and it is organised by the Centro di Documentazione dei Sacri Monti, Calvari e Complessi devozionali europei (Centre for Documentation of European Sacred Mountains, Calvaries and devotional complexes) and by the Riserva Naturale Speciale del Sacro Monte di Oropa in cooperation with the Università Cattolica
del Sacro Cuore of Milan, the Sanctuary of Oropa and the Sanctuary of Crea.

In Piedmont there are two black Madonnas, one in Oropa and the other in Crea; other examples in Italy can be found in Loreto and Varese, but there is plenty of this kind of holy images all over Europe. Black Madonnas have been at the centre of studies for years: their colour is in fact an enigma, an exception in medieval iconography, where the colour black was traditionally connected to evil. Scholars advance different hypotheses: some of them maintain that these statues have blackened with smoke of candles that have been burning in front of them for centuries or because they have miraculously survived fire; some others maintain that they could be dealing with the ancient veneration of the Mother Goddess, which could have exactly converged in the veneration of the Black Virgins of Christian faith.
Apart from their origin, the Black Madonnas are a unique example of cultural, historical and religious heritage which can contribute to unite European peoples in diversity, a quotation from the slogan of the European Union and a concept ecumenism.
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