Louis XIV pilgrimage at Sainte Baume, 359 years ago !
On the morning of February 5, 1660, the small community of a dozen Dominican friars residing in the monastery near the Grotto of St. Baume, was in turmoil.
Indeed, they had just learned that they would have the visit of the Royal family. It was the young king of France Louis XIV (the Sun King), accompanied by his mother Anne of Austria and his younger brother Philippe d’Anjou. Louis was only 21 years old, Philippe was 18 years old, and the queen mother 59 years old.
In the early morning at the convent of Saint Maximin where she spent the night with her two sons, the queen took a coach to join Nans, a small town at the foot of the mountain.
There, she sat on a litter to climb to Sainte Baume. Her two valiant sons preferred to ride two alert horses to finish their pilgrimage.
At that time, there was, at the foot of the cave, a large stable where the mounts stayed during the time that their devotion in the cave near Marie Madeleine would last …
They took what is now “the King’s Footpath”, trough the sacred forest of the Druids.
The royal family did the pilgrimage to thank Mary Magdalene for the birth of Louis XIV.
In fact, 22 years before Anne of Austria and Louis XIII came on a pilgrimage to the Grotto to ask Mary Magdalene descent they had been waiting for 21 years! Louis Dieudonne (God given), who became Louis XIV, was born a year later.
Louis XIV pilgrimage at Sainte Baume was the last made at the Holy Place
Indeed, he was the last king of France who did it.