Notre Dame de la Daurade Basilica
Visitor's Rating: (0 out of 4/Number of Votes:0)
Notre-Dame La Daurade Basilica is probably the oldest church dedicated to Saint Mary in France.
Its nowadays structure - in neoclassic style and without a bell tower - was built on the site of the old abbey between the second part of the 18th century and the second part of the 19th century.
The origin of the initial church of La Daurade is wrapped in legend. What is known is that around the end of the 4th century AD a roman pagan temple situated on this location is transformed in a Christian Church. This is the time when Toulouse is the capital of the Visigoths Empire that extends from the Loire and Rhone valleys to the south of Iberian Peninsula.
The legend says that the Visigoth King Teodoric II was an extremely pious man and under his rule the church - that was close to his palace - was decorated with a wonderful mosaic made of pairs of little pieces of glass that were holding between themselves gold foils or colors. This golden decoration ("daurada" means gold in Occitan language) was representing scenes from the Old and New Testament. The existence of the exceptional mosaic is attested by a document in the 17th century.
Unfortunately this inestimable treasure was destroyed at the beginning of the reconstruction of the new church in 1761.
In the 11th century the church became a Benedictine priory and an important stopping place on the route to Santiago de Compostelle. Many pilgrims were coming to the church to venerate the Black Virgin. At the beginning of the 17th century the monastery is given to the Benedictine monks of the Saint Maur congregation. The Black Virgin, the patron of the monastery, is considered as the protector of Toulouse and when the city is under a threat - fire, floods or epidemic - the Capitouls can decide to take the statue of the Saint in a procession along the streets. The last triumphal procession took place on June 23 1790.