Grotto of Saint Genevieve – Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, France - Atlas Obscura

Grotto of Saint Genevieve

18th century underground pilgrimage site, dedicated to a Saint that did something... 


Saint Genevieve was definitely a Saint who lived in the 5th century. That’s about the extent of the information most people can agree on. No one has a definitive answer as to why she was canonized, or why a chapel was built around a grotto in her honor.

Born in 423, Saint Genevieve was a poor shepherd girl, and became a devout ascetic when she was 16 years old. Having some type of connection to the divine, Saint Genevieve was involved in some type of miracle, but that’s where the stories diverge. According to some, Genevieve warned of the coming Hun invasion and gave Parisians the strength they needed to hold their city. Others say she recommended fleeing the city during a cholera outbreak.

Of the other stories, the most popular seems to make more sense in relation to her grotto. In 448, when she was still a young woman, a bishop came to her dying of thirst. A spring came forward from her field and quenched his desires. A chapel was later built around this spring, and it is supposed that the spring is still located at the pilgrimage site of her grotto. However, this seems to be a convenient explanation of a mystery that no one documentation can ever prove.

Today, she is the patron saint of Paris, and many come to visit her miraculous grotto to revel and pay tribute to her. Some also believe that she helps to protect children and bring rain during times of drought.

Community Contributors
Added by
Edited by

November 16, 2011

Make an Edit Add Photos
From Around the Web