The Basilica of St. Savior is the largest of the Rocamadour religious buildings. It was built over the 11-13 C and is a Gothic building with Romaneque elements persisting. The chancel was moved after a rock slide did damage and today it has a two naved , three bay pattern looking like a large hall. The windows are on the Place side. The altar is along one nave aisles and above it is a bloody 16C Christ on the cross. Along the rock wall is a 20C wooden gallery. There are strikingly colorful stained glass windows with popular figures. They are not old. There is a fine bronze altar frontal depicting an Ascension.
On the outside wall of the Chapel of the Virgin is a fragmentary fresco of the 15C depicting a scene from the custom of the time of displaying a folk commentary of the shortness of life. There are many more fragments and elaborate expressions of this in various places over Europe. (The best one we have seen is near Chartres at Meslay-le-Grenet and we have described this in our Tips under Off the Beaten Path in that Cathedral city). There are other famous fragments we have seen in the Camposanto at Pisa and in the Aitre de St.-Maclou in Rouen. Here all we have remaining are two skeletons greeting the traveller, a part of the Story of the "Three Dead Men and Three Living".
The inside the chapel is quite dark and difficult to photograph. One side of the chapel is cliff wall . At the back is a retable housing Our Lady of Rocamadour holding the Infant Jesus on her knee. It is a wooden statue of the 12C. It has discolored over time and is dubbed the "Black Virgin" (as have many similar effigies elsewhere). Hanging from the vaulting of the chapel is the 9C miraculous bell which rings spontaneously now and then indicating the saving of a life of a sailor, freeing of a prisoner, etc. (many votive offerings).
The Parvis of the Churches (Pl. St.-Amadour) is a small square which is the focal point of the journey for both tourists and pilgrims. It is situated on a platform above the main town, approached from there by the Grand Staircase and from above by the Calvary (the Stations of the Cross) leading down from near the parking lot at the Chateau atop the cliff, and a connecting path. The various religious structures (church, chapels, tomb of the saint) are on the square or on a balcony ending at the rock face, projecting from the square. approached by pleasant short flight of stairs at each end. Still higher from there are further chapels (such as St. Michael's).
You can drive up to the castle and park. If you pay the nominal fee to take the tram down, parking is free. If you choose to park below you can take the tram up or walk up 223 steps. During medieval times the pilgrims walked these steps on their knees. Once in the religious center don't miss the statue of the Black Virgin in the Chapelle Notre Dame. Above the doorway to the chapel, according to legend is Rowlands sword stuck in the doorway.
As Rocamadour was built on a limestone cliff, it offers great views in all directions
If you feel lazy , an elevator will bring up all the way up or down, but obviously you won't feel for a split second like the pelgrims in that case.
Thanks to the progress of the Marian cult and thanks to the discovery, in 1166, of the body named St Amadour, in the 10th century Rocamadour became as important pilgrimage place in the Christian West as Santiago de Compostella
Unfortunately, the many religious wars laid waste to the shrines and only in the 17th century was a new set of liturgical pieces amassed. A book on the history of Rocamadour revived the pilgrimage in the 19th century.
Today, Rocamadour remains a famous place which offers pilgrims historical works and spiritual experiences.
A chance to see the monkeys (actually Barbary Apes like you'll find doing the same in Gibralter) in the wild and marvel as they run off with your handbag or mug you for the bag of food that you get at the entrance.
Seriously, the monkey forest is a good walk around and a chance to sit and have a 30lb ape sit on you and try to steal anything not bolted down.
You can get up close and dirty with them and they respond as animals always do.. don't put your hands in their mouths.. they will bite you.
All that said it is excellent fun!
We can see this spectacular views from other side on the way to Grotte des Merveilles / Merveilles cave.
When going up the stairs to the top of chapels, my eyes can't stop to admiring of the architecture that built on the rocky plateau.
indeed all around the 'Basilique St Sauveur' lots of chapels and altars for your spiritual or religious moments