Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
June 20, 2002
The Basilique Ste-Madeleine was built initially in the 9th century and came under Cluny in the 11th century. By the end of that century it had acquired a reputation as the place to see relics of Mary Magdalen and the advent of pilgrims meant that there had to be considerable expansion. Then there was a disastrous fire in 1120 which claimed many lives as well as destroying most of the church. The present structure of the building emerged from the start of the rebuilding to 1215. The importance of the building as a magnet for pilgrims deteriorated considerably after this, mainly because of the claims of other places to have relics of Mary Magdalen nad over a long period of time - right up to the 19th century - the basilica's condition worsened until it appeared to be on the edge of becoming a ruin. However following an inspection of ancient monuments it was decided that there was plenty of potential there and a young Viollet-le-Duc was given a job to do. The work lasted nearly twenty years.
It is a wonderful building. The nave boasts wide romanesque arches and the aisles are partially romanesque and part early Gothic. The sculptures on the pillars are top order and the light is pretty stunning. The exterior is striking enough and a complete visit could take a long time if you really study the details of the interior and exterior sculpture, as it deserves.
The street from the outside is lined with houses of many periods which covered cellars which accommodated a considerable number of pilgrims. Apart from those coming to the basilica itself, it was a starting point for pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela a point of departure for several of the Crusades.
From journal Lucky dip in Burgundy
April 6, 2002
From journal Burgundy-Wine , Women and Mustard? Part II