Situated in a narrow gorge on the Alzou, the beautiful village of Rocamadour grew as a sacred centre of pilgrimage. In 1166, an ancient grave and sepulchre containing the un-decayed body of the hermit often referred to as 'roc amator' (lover of rock) was discovered in the village. Rocamadour took its name from this and the discovery of this St Amadour apparently unleashed a spate of miracles here. By the mid-13th century pilgrims were coming from all over Europe, and amongst these were a number of crowned sovereigns. The supreme object of veneration became the statue of the Black Madonna and Child, housed in the chapel where St Amadour was found.
Over the centuries the village continued to be a popular centre for pilgrimages, and a further complex of churches was built into the hillside. These are still accessed by a stairway - the Grand Escalier - of 216 steps (or nowadays a lift). Today Rocamadour, with its phenomenal setting on a rocky plateau, attracts tourists as well as pilgrims, with many beautiful attractions to recommend it.