Pilgrimages for the feast of Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel take place on 16th July. Avioth is an age-old pilgrimage site (since the start of the 12th century), and this led to the building of the vast church of Our Lady of Avioth.
It is a masterpiece of Flamboyant Gothic architecture, built in the second half of the 13th century. Described as "lacework in stone", the church is famous for its "Recevresse", a small building in front of the church in which donations were placed. It is the only one of its kind in France. The "cathedral of the fields" has been a listed building since 1840 and a basilica church since 1993.
Guided tour (interior and exterior): 50 mins.
St Stephen's church at Bar-le-Duc
The ancient collegiate church of St Stephen is a fine example of Flamboyant Gothic architecture. The building houses rich furnishings: organ, altars, bas-reliefs and sculptures. Two of them are attributed to the Meuse artist Ligier Richier: the Calvaire (calvary) and "Transi" (transfixed), masterpieces of the history of French art. The stained glass windows are the work of artists Le Maréchal of Metz and Champigneulle. Guided visits in German and English for groups, all year round and booked in advance. Duration of visit: 1 hr.
Site of Benoîte-Vaux
Benoîte-Vaux has been an important centre for pilgrimage in Lorraine for a long time. The site of a former priory built in the 12th century, the church, which was built in the 18th century, is richly decorated and has beautiful stalls. Worth seeing, near the fountain, are the 14 Stations of the Cross, each hewn out of a block of stone.
Church of Our Lady at Mont-devant-Sassey
Romanesque church, building began in the 11th century (listed as a historical monument in 1869), notable porch and door decorated with statues (13th century) and crypt (12th century). Guided visits available for individuals or groups booked in advance. Duration: 45 mins minimum.
Saint Stephen's Church at Saint-Mihiel
This church, with its intensely-coloured windows, houses one of Ligier Richier's major works, "le Sépulcre" (the Tomb). This work has recently been restored, and is rightly recognised as one of the high points of 16th century sculpture from Lorraine. This group of 13 figures, slightly larger than life, in fine-grained Meuse limestone, was the last piece known to have been produced by the artist in France. Guided visits for groups or booked in advance.
Saint Michael's Church at Saint-Mihiel
The abbey church of Saint Michael houses the Ligier Richier sculpture "la Pâmoison de la Vierge" (The Fainting of the Virgin). Not to be missed: the 80 choir stalls and the magnificent 17th-century organ case. Guided visits for groups or booked in advance.
Magnificent composite building (from 10th to 18th centuries) where the Romanesque and Gothic styles mingle. Twelfth-century crypt, 14th to 16th-century cloister, canopy and organ from 18th century.