The smaller basilica in the Sanctuary of Notre Dame de Lourdes is an artistic marvel, famed for its colorful mosaics and themed chapels.
Step into an explosion of color and artistry in the impressive Basilica of Notre Dame du Rosaire, which is also known as the Rosary Basilica. This Byzantine-styled cathedral is smaller than its two neighbors, but is perhaps more artistically striking. Visit this active place of worship and stay to marvel at the mosaics.
Work began on the basilica in 1883, but it was not consecrated as a place of worship until 1901. It is inspired by the rosary held in the Virgin Mary’s hand when she appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes.
Stand outside in the esplanade leading to the church. Two arched ramps frame the church, a design feature said to reflect a motherly embrace drawing people into the church. Look up to see mosaics of Pope Leo XIII and Bishop Schoepfer of Lourdes.
Head inside the church, where the atmosphere is often hushed and reverent. Admire the 19th-century Venetian-style mosaics that decorate the interior of the church. These were designed by celebrated artist Giandomenico Facchina over the course of many years. The altar is overlooked by an image of Mary surrounded by golden cherubs, while the images beneath it depict the stations of the cross.
Step into the 15 side chapels to see further artwork. Each chapel is designed to represent an element of theology that is reflected in the rosary prayers.
Descend into the crypt, which is older than the rest of the basilica and was once visited by St. Bernadette. Look for an elegant sculpture of Mary holding the infant Christ above the altar, created by Fabisch.
The Rosary Basilica is located in the religious heart of the town, the Sanctuary of Notre Dame de Lourdes. Find it in between the Basilica of St. Pius X and the Basilica of Notre Dame de l’Immaculée-Conception. Walk to the church from the town’s train station in about 20 minutes and enter the church on any day for free. Car parking is available to the south of the sanctuary.