You don’t need GPS to reach Pontmain! Raise your eyes to the sky to locate the arrow of the basilica.
Surprisingly, it seems to come out of nowhere in the middle of the countryside.
But what is the history of this sanctuary?
The little seers
Initially there were four children born in the second half of the 19th century. All under 13 years of age.
In Pontmain, one evening in January 1871, they say they saw in the starry sky a great lady with a smiling face. One year later, the church made the phenomenon official: the Virgin Mary appeared to the children. They were raised to the rank of “little seers” and the construction of a granite basilica was started.
The Marian city
This is what made the popularity of Pontmain, which became a Marian city. Every year it attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists. We visit the barn of the apparition (sound and light inside), the Chapel of the Lights as well as the parish church. The basilica, which was built in a few years, is luminous thanks to its large stained-glass windows. When the sun is shining, the nave and the heart take on a flamboyant face.
Take the time to stroll along the paths surrounding Pontmain. It is obvious but this walk, whether you are a believer or not, will bring you closer to nature and give you energy.
Did you know that? By asking yourself about the mystery, you will discover the context of this apparition.
That’s what’s fascinating. In 1870, the Prussian offensive threatened the territories west of Paris. At the beginning of January 1871, the French army withdrew west of Laval and the inhabitants were terrorised. However, at the end of the month, peace was signed between the two armies. It is almost a miracle. A few days before, the apparition of the Virgin Mary to the children is experienced as a sign announcing the end of the peril.