A 17th century masterpiece, Notre Dame de la Vie Sanctuary watches over the Belleville Valley. Boasting one of the oldest baroque altarpieces in the Tarentaise Valley, it is a vestige of the Savoie region’s artistic and religious revival of the 17th century: a brilliant illustration of the richness and technical expertise of baroque art. Listed as a Historic Monument in 1949, this recently renovated baroque art jewel is the most venerated sanctuary in the Tarentaise.
In days gone by, huge crowds used to gather there to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption on the 15th of August and early September.
Constructed between 1635 and 1680, this Nicolas Deschamps-designed sanctuaryis built in the unusual shape of a Greek cross, with a central dome, pendentives and small lanterns, and resplendentchapels. Created in 1679, the frescoes are the work of Savoyard painter Nicolas Oudeard, depicting scenes from the Old Testament.
Ornamented with gold and sculpted decoration, the high altar altarpiece was created by Piedmonteseartist Jean-Marie Molino and depicts the life of the Virgin Mary. A discreet sliding door, embellished with a bas-relief of the Virgin and Child, conceals the recess in which the statue, thought to be miraculous, is kept...
The secondary altarpieces are simpler, but the one on the right, dating from 1636, appears to be the oldest of the three and could well be the oldest in the Savoie region!
It’s also worth spending some time admiring the rich collection of votive offerings on display at the entrance: through them, we can understand the many difficulties of life for 17th century mountain dwellers, as well as their hopes and prayers.
Free to access, you can visit the sanctuary all year round - a grill separates the nave from the choir.
In tourist season, guided visits are organised by the FACIM.