Mary Magdalene

Searching for Mary Magdalene - South France, 2023

The Cave of Saint Mary Magdalene is a 3.7 mile (8,500-step) route located near Plan-d'Aups-Sainte-Baume, Var, France. This route has an elevation gain of about 770.8 ft and is rated as medium.

It is said that Mary Magdalene traveled to Marseille and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalene is said to have retired to a cave on a hill by Marseille, La Sainte-Baume (“Holy Cave”, baumo in Provençal), where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. The cave is now a Christian pilgrimage site.

Kings, popes, saints, and ordinary people have all walked the “King's Path” to visit the cave. King Louis XI visited in 1447 and in 1456, praying to Mary Magdalene for a son. In 1470, Charles VIII was born. At the entrance to the monastery you reach the cave by climbing 150 steps to an oak door flanked by twin pillars.

I traveled here to spend my 40th birthday with her. I’d seen this cave, only online in photos. Fascinated by the outside sculpture of a well known “Pieta” image, but this one had a woman who’s often left out…a woman that history had consistently been silenced by history. Being here was like being in Heaven itself…”it does exist”. Yes, it very much does exist.

I walked the King’s Path, I was there.