long with ND de Rocamadour, one of the very oldest Vierges Noires is ND de Bon Espoir (Our Lady of Good Hope) in the church of ND de Dijon (1: Côte-d’Or), much venerated and credited with saving the city from both the Swiss in 1513 and the Germans in 1944. Such vested BVs are still to be found in a number of churches, such as Thuret (2: Puy-de-Dôme) and Arconsat (3: Puy-de-Dôme), the latter enthroned in front of an excellent modern mural.

Increasingly these statues are protectively encased, owing to a number of thefts over the past half-century. The splendid Romanesque BV at St Gervazy (4: Puyde-Dôme) was snatched from the church on a June night in 1983, only to surface at an auction in Madrid in 2000. Thanks to the Spanish police, the statue is now back home in the Auvergne.

Another very old statue, ND du Mont-Carmel at Laurie (5: Cantal), has been venerated since the 12th century, and was crowned by authority of Pope Pius X in 1912. No longer black (since 1833), she is the object of a five-mile pilgrimage from Blesle every Whit Monday, to fulfil a vow of 1318 made in a time of plague.