Heritage Walks - banks of the Garonne
The itinerary suggested offers the most beautiful views of the city and its river. Eighteen remarkable monuments are detailed here so that visitors can discover and arrive at a better understanding of the identity of Toulouse.
The current church, with the classical architecture of the 18th Century, replaced Sainte-Marie-la-dorée (daurada, in the Occitan language), a medieval building, integrating the stunning early Christian apse that was adorned with mosaics on a gold background.
Tradition tells of a Roman temple that was transformed into a Christian church and historical sources confirm the existence of a basilica here from the 5th Century. A central feature of the medieval Benedictine monastery, the church was destroyed in 1761, and faced ruin due to some ill-advised building works carried out on its dome. It was progressively reconstructed up until the late 19th Century, with the addition of the majestic stone façade with colonnade and frontispiece that now overlooks the banks of the Garonne. The antiquity of the Marian cult –evidence of which can be seen in the numerous ex-voto– earned the church Papal recognition and the title of basilica. Its Black Virgin boasts an extensive wardrobe, supplemented throughout the 20th Century by the great couturiers.