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Notre Dame Basilica - La Chapelle des Marins, Arcachon

Known as the Chapel of the Sailors, built in 1722

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The Shrine of Our Lady of Arcachon was founded by a Franciscan, Father Thomas Illyricus. On January 16, 1624, the chapel Thomas Illyricus was overthrown by a storm.

A second was built and it was buried under the sand in 1721. Finally, a third was built in 1722 and this is the one we see today. The current chapel is known as "Chapel of the Sailors' - many have flocked here from all over on pilgrimages as well as many tourists.

The church faces the sea, where you can look out to see the Sailors Cross which was erected in 1902. It was repeatedly damaged or destroyed but still serviceable. The current cross is the identical copy made in 1980 to that of 1902, which had been accidentally shot.

Already in 1722, there was a rustic red wooden cross at this location. It was customary when trawlers or sailors were leaving the harbour to greet the passage of three blows horn or siren to seek the protection of Mary.  On their return, they were able to return to port without hitch, they came then to the church to thank her.

Worth knowing

The chapel had to suffer from the weather but also insults of men a sacking by English pirates in the sixteenth century, a looting by bandits in March 1789, an arson attack on January 8, 1986.


Visitor comments

  • "This a beautiful church in a residential neighborhood overlooking the bay. It is nicely lite at night." - Trip Advisor


  • Address
  • Place de la Basilique Notre Dame
  • 33120

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