One of France’s most important pilgrimage sites, Lisieux is a historic religious town and the capital of the Pays d’Auge region. It is synonymous with the 19th-century saint, Therese Martin, a Carmelite nun who has been nicknamed The Little Flower of Jesus”. An extravagant 20th-century basilica has been built in her honour.
Things to do in Lisieux
Occupying a beautiful timber-framed house in the heart of town is the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire, which features an impressive collection of archaeological and ethnographic objects from across the region. In addition to Gallo-Roman artefacts, Merovingian glassworks and 19th-century costumes, there is an exhibit dedicated to Lisieux’s reconstruction following World War II.
Lisieux's most impressive architectural landmark is the Basilica of St. Therese, which is the second most-visited pilgrimage site in France after Lourdes. Designed in a lavish Neo-Byzantine style, it can accommodate up to 4,000 worshippers in its ornately decorated interior. An undisputed highlight is the crypt, which is adorned with marble and mosaics depicting scenes from Saint Therese’s life.
You can follow in the footsteps of Saint Therese to Les Buissonnets, an 18th-century property where she lived between the ages of 4 and 15. Step inside to see possessions once belonging to the Martin family, including the robe that Therese wore for her first communion. Outside the residence is a whitewashed statue commemorating the moment that Therese asked her father if she could join the Carmelite convent.
Getting around Lisieux
Lisieux is around 30 minutes’ drive from Deauville and one hour from Caen. Caen – Carpiquet Airport is also one hour away and has flights to destinations across France. Regular trains connect to the Gare de Lisieux and buses travel throughout the town. The historic centre of Lisieux is compact enough to explore on foot."