Near the church Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, we can admire the grotto of Lourdes at Pont du Cens, created in an old quarry by Father Ollivier, the parish priest, in 1936. This cave, a replica of that of Massabielle, was inaugurated with great pomp on September 6, 1936 in the presence of approximately 2000 faithful.

In 1941, the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes made impossible by the German occupation, Bishop Villepelet organized a gathering at the Pont du Cens grotto. But on June 25, 1944, all attendance records were broken: Notre-Dame de Lourdes, spared by the bombardments, welcomed Notre-Dame de Boulogne, a statue created in 1938 in Boulogne sur Mer to commemorate the tercentenary of Louis XIII’s vow to consecrate France to the Virgin in gratitude for his victory over the Spanish.

In 1942, 4 statues of Notre-Dame de Boulogne began a journey throughout France at war. The Nantes statue spent a month in the poche de Saint-Nazaire. Twenty thousand people attended the mass held in Nantes which took place on the ground in front of the grotto. Then on October 14, 1945, several thousand former prisoners, deportees or repatriates gathered there once again to pray.

The grotto is still a place for the pilgrims. Every year in September come hundreds of parishionners for the annual pilgrimage to pray the Virgin Mary. If you want you can pray some of those prayers :

Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, 
Hallowed be thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come. 
Thy Will be done, 
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. Amen.