The lighthouse of the valley !
Towards 150 before Jesus Christ, Celts coming from East of Europe invade West of Europe. In this insecure period, people take refuge up in the mountains easier to defend : on the Etang mountain, there are still some visible marks from celtic settlements : walls and tumulis. Two sources of information make the existence of a pond possible. A chapel where the Virgin was venerated existed on the Saint Jospeh plateau. During the hundred years war, the statuette would have been buried by a believer on the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, this believer died bringing with him his secret. In 1435, the story says that a herdsman surprised by the abundance and the quality of the grass to a sharp place, digs and discovers a polychromatic stone statuette measuring 30 cm.
As of 1436, a chapel is built on the top to venerate the statuette kept by an hermit. This statuette will then be given to the " minimes " who were building a monastery on the Saint Joseph plateau. Lot of pilgrims and famous visitors come to mourn (Saint François de Sales, Sainte Jeanne de Chantal, Louise XVI and his mother Anne of Austria, Bossuet and many others). The monastery will be destroyed during the Revolution and the statuette is then kept in the church of Velars-sur-Ouche where it still can be admired.
At the instigation of the Javelle abbot, priest of Velars-sur-Ouche, begin in 1877 the works of the current chapel which will be inaugurated in 1896. A huge 8 meters bronze statue of the Virgin with the Jesus child and weighing 10 tonnes should have been installed on the dome. The monument could not carry such a weight. Therefore, a central column had to be added. Unfortunately, the used stones were high frost-riven and consequently, the monument suffered the weather ravages.
In 2012, the city of Velars-sur-Ouche, supported by the association " the friends of Notre-Dame d'Etang " starts a important restoration of the building. The work was ended in may 2020. Their perfect achievement allowed the monument to be opened to the public who came to discover or to re-discover it. Besides the historical aspect, this site offers to trekkers an appreciated climbing. Once on the top, you can admire a beautiful view and landscapes.
During summer time, the volunteers of the association " the friends of Notre-Dame d'Etang " welcome visitors every Sunday from 15.00 pm to 18.00 pm.
- City hall of Velars-sur-Ouche : 03 80 76 07 20
- Turism Office - Pont de Pany : 03 80 33 33 59
- Association "the friends of Notre-Dame d'Etang - Alain Striffing : 06 86 64 7964