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''The Basilique Notre-Dame de l'Épine (Basilica of Our Lady of the Thorn) is a Basilica in the small village of L'Épine, Marne, near Châlons-en-Champagne and Verdun. It is a major masterpiece in the Flamboyant Gothic style
Started around 1405-1406, construction lasted until 1527. Elevated to a basilica from 1914, Notre-Dame-de-l'Épine takes its name from the devotion given to a statue of the Virgin holding the Child Jesus. According to a legend from the 17th century that has since evolved, the statue was found by shepherds in the Middle Ages in a burning thorn bush. The basilica has the dimensions of a cathedral and is in the Gothic style. The façade has three portals and is crowned with two spires. The right spire is 55 metres (180 ft) high. The left spire was leveled in 1798 to allow the installation of a Claude Chappe telegraph. It was rebuilt in 1868.

The basilica was classified a historic monument in 1840.In 1998 it was registered on the World Heritage List by UNESCO under the title of "roads to St Jacques de Compostela in France". Notre-Dame de l'Épine has always struck travelers and inspired writers, especially Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Paul Claudel and Paul Fort.''

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Additional Photos by ALESSANDRO MACCHI (SWEETFREEDOM) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1587 W: 0 N: 3172] (24623)
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