Unique chapel that has become a Museum of Cycling
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The Notre Dame des Cyclistes is a special church near the village of Labastide-d'Armagnac. Since 18 May 1959, the old chapel has been dedicated to famous cyclists. It was officially consecrated by the Bishop of Dax. More than 600 jerseys from world champions are displayed here, including winners of the Tour de France. The church is literally full of cycling memorabilia. It's a unique attraction in France.
The church is now more famous than the town, which only has 800 inhabitants. More and more enthusiasts find this church easily. The chapel has been a magnet for cycling enthusiasts for years. It is therefore also called La Maison des Cyclistes.
The Notre Dame des Cyclistes is in an inconspicuous place, but when you enter you understand the adoration. You will see the yellow jerseys of Jacques Anquetil, Luis Ocaña, Bernard Hinault and of the world champions Jan Raas and Eddy Merckx. Almost all have been donated with love by the cyclists themselves.
Dozens of jerseys from well-known and lesser-known cyclists hang in the chapel. There are also a few bicycles, including one that was used in the first Tour de France in 1903.
The uniqueness is that the church is still in use, although it is mainly cycling enthusiasts who pray for their favourite racer. And hope that the next Tour de France will be a success.
The altar is at the back of the church. It still contains the original tabernacle from the 16th century. You see the Virgin Mary, who was carved in wood by a lonely sailor of the time.
When you arrive, you should also take a look at the statue of the Virgin Mary. It is written: "Holy Mary, Queen of the world, protect all cyclists who, out of love for the beautiful nature of Our Lord Jesus Christ, traverse this world in all directions."
Part of the church has been converted into a Luis Ocaña Museum. The former Spanish professional cyclist lived in nearby Caupenne-d'Armagnac. He committed suicide in 1994 after contracting hepatitis C from a blood transfusion. Ocańa was buried at Notre Dame des Cyclistes, amongst others like Eddy Merckx.
The organizers of the Tour de France have taken the church to heart. In fact, on 9 July 1989, a stage of the race even started at the church. In addition, the Tour de France route in the years 1984, 1989, 1995, 2000 and 2017 passed the church.
The church is only open during limited hours, usually in the afternoon. Check in advance whether the church is open, this can be done in the village of Labastide-d'Armagnac.
Adress: 40240 Labastide-d'Armagnac
Find more information about the church and the region