The Notre-Dame de Tours chapel stands alone on a hillock that was occupied as early as Celtic times. This pilgrimage site is the subject of a wonderful legend.
As it had been decided to destroy the Notre-Dame de Tours chapel , the statue of the Virgin Mary was moved to the church in Montagny. The next day, it had returned miraculously to its chapel of origin. The manoeuvre was repeated several times. The authorities finally gave up, leaving the sculpture in Notre-Dame de Tours, and the chapel was saved. The statue of the Virgin Mary has become an object of pilgrimage.
The Celts occupied the promontory in ancient times. The Romans also settled here, followed by the Christians in the 4th century. The first sanctuary was built on the ruins of a Roman villa. Archaeological digs have unearthed the remains of a Paleochristian church: Saint Marius Aventicensis, the bishop of Avenches and the owner of the site, had a private oratory built here.
In the Middle Ages, the chapel became a parish church, remaining so until the 17th century. The clergy lived at Tours until 1913, however, when they opted to move to the new vicarage that had been built in Montagny.
Notre-Dame de Tours has been a famous Marian pilgrimage site since the 15th century. Ex-votos adorned the chapel walls for many years. The current building dates from the 18th century. Today, Notre-Dame de Tours is a much-visited centre of spiritual life. A Vietnamese Cistercian community lived here from 1977 to 1988.
Tales of statues systematically returning to their old homes are common: people do not like change, particularly in religions.