One of the first bishops of Bayeux had had the original shrine built that was ransacked by invaders, then rebuilt in the 12th century before the current basilica replaced it in the 19th century. Throughout the Middle Ages, the shrine was visited as much as Mount St Michel. King Louis XI stayed there twice.
In 1832, a cholera epidemic suddenly stopped after the population offered public prayers.
In the 19th century, the pilgrimage enjoyed a new popularity, reaching as far as Senegal, Martinique, and Canada.
Despite its proximity to the D-Day landing beaches, the combats of 1944 had little effect on the basilica, only the stained-glass windows had to be replaced.
The Délivrande is the shrine of "the Virgin who delivers" from either physical or moral woes, as the hundred of ex-votos testify.
Principal feast days:
First or second Thursday after the Assumption (to commemorate the crowning of the statue by the papal legate in 1872).
The closest Sunday to September 8 (Nativity of Mary), with the consecration of children who were baptized during the year.
Source: L'Europe spirituelle, édition Les clés de l'Europe, Marseille 1993