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Verdelais is a French commune in the Gironde département of South-West France. It has a population of just under 900. Its economy is heavily dependent on wine production and it sits just inside the Entre-Deux-Mers wine growing area.

It has been a centre of pilgrimage since the 12th century when, according to legend, a comtesse de Foix discovered a statue of the virgin buried in the ground.

The Basilica of Notre Dame de Verdelais was largely reconstructed in the 17th and 19th centuries, although the choir and transept existed at the time of the Celestin nuns, whose former convent adjoins the church. The vaults of the nave and the sides which are overlooked internally by galleries belong to the Marist period. The clock tower, rebuilt in 1875, is topped by a gilded copper statue of the Virgin, 3.75 metres tall.

The church was designed as a centre of pilgrimage to hold crowds coming to venerate the statue of the Virgin and beseech miracles. The façade, decorated with statues of St. Joseph, St. John, St. Dominic and St. Simon Stock is fronted by a large square divided into alleys to enable the organisation of ceremonies outdoors.

Another view of the interior of the church, the walls of which are covered with memorials and votive offerings from the visiting pilgrims.

The picture was taken hand-held with the ISO uprated to 800.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10646 W: 63 N: 29872] (130967)
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