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Europe » France » Lourdes

Nowadays Lourdes is one of the world’s most important pilgrimage sites, descended upon annually by some five million visitors from all over the world. Well over half are pilgrims, including many invalids seeking cures. Nowadays, 58% of pilgrims come from beyond France’s frontiers – and two-thirds are over 45 years old.

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Lourdes (Gascon Occitan Lorda or Lourde) is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France. The former regional language of this area used to be Gascon Occitan (or Gasconha, Occitània which was the spoken language at the time of Saint Bernadette Soubirous), but has been largely supplanted by French as in many regions of France.


Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes said to have occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous. At that time, the most prominent feature of the town was the fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its centre.



Lourdes in short

Lourdes is a spiritual place visited by millions of pilgrims from all over the world every year. It’s significance lies in its location inside a cave in Lourdes where a ‘very special spring of water’ was discovered in 1858 by a young girl called Marie-Bernarde Soubirous. The young girl spoke to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and she was told to dig in a certain place inside the cave and after digging the spring of water began to flow. It is believed that the water is very special and has miraculous healing powers. It was said that many sick people have been cured by touching or drinking the water.




Lourdes is served by Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées Airport although many visitors also fly to Pau Pyrénées Airport. The town's train station is served by SNCF and TGV trains, including some that provide overnight 'sleeper' services. The journey from Paris to Lourdes by train lasts five hours by TGV high speed trains. Many pilgrims also arrive via bus service from France and Spain.



Recommended hotels 

    Grand Hotel Gallia & londres - Address 4 Star Hotel  26 Av Bernadette Soubirous - BP83 Lourdes

    Mercure Lourdes Imperial - Address 4 Star Hotel  3 Avenue Du Paradis Lourdes

    Grand Hôtel de la Grotte - Address 5 Star Hotel  66 Rue De La Grotte Town Centre Lourdes

    Cazaux - Address Hotel  2 Chemin Des Rochers Lourdes

    Best Western Beausejour - Address 3 Star Hotel  16 Avenue De La Gare Lourdes

    Citotel De La Vallee - Address 3 Star Hotel  28 Rue Des Pyrenees Lourdes

    Ibis Lourdes - Address 3 Star Hotel  5, Chaussee Maransin Lourdes

    Hotel Chapelle et Parc - Address 3 Star Hotel  28 Avenue Bernadette Soubirous - Bp83 Lourdes

    Hotel Agena - Address 3 Star Hotel  1 Rue Marie Saint Frai Lourdes

    Hotel Continental - Address 3 Star Hotel  20 Avenue Bernadette Soubirous Lourdes

    Hotel Saint Louis De France - Address 3 Star Hotel  5 Avenue Du Paradis Lourdes

    Hotel Roissy Lourdes - Address 3 Star Hotel  16 Avenue Monseigneur Schoepfer Lourdes

    Residence Le Soleil - Address 3 Star Hotel  7 rue Louis pomes Lourdes

    Hotel Sainte-Rose - Address 3 Star Hotel  17, rue Sainte Marie Lourdes

    Angelic & Myriam - Address 3 Star Hotel  2 Rue Du Calvaire Lourdes

    Hotel Esplanade-Eden - Address 3 Star Hotel  12 Esplanade du Paradis Lourdes

    Arcades Hotel - Address 3 Star Hotel  13 av Paradis - BP 45 Lourdes

    Majestic - Address 3 Star Hotel  9 Ave. Maransin Lourdes



Things to do


1. The Rosary Basilica: It is built on a rock known as Massabielle. The basilica is surrounded on the north and south by two ramps of 130m in length, perhaps acting as two open arms to welcome the pilgrims. On the west is the front of the Rosary Basilica while on the east is the Crowned Statue.


2. The Grotto: The site of the apparitions in 1858, this is the place all visitors to Lourdes, whether curious day trippers or dedicated pilgrims, must not miss. Visit it after dark, it is very special then.


3. Maison Paternelle de St. Bernadette: where the saint was born on January 7, 1844, the daughter of a miller. Her former home is open April through October daily from 9am to noon and 2 to 6:30pm, November through March daily from 3 to 5pm. This was actually her mother's house. Likewise, the home of Bernadette's father, François Soubirous, is a shrine. The entrance is free from what iu recall, it is a very meager abode and is a testament to the saint.


4. Miraculous Spring - La Source: At the back of the Grotto, on the left of the altar, is the Miraculous Spring (La Source) that reportedly spouted on February 25, 1858, during the ninth apparition, when Bernadette scraped the earth. The Virgin is said to have commanded her, "Go and drink at the spring and wash there." The water from this spring is collected in several reservoirs, from which you can drink.


5. Pyrenees: Just 30 minutes south of Lourdes, the town of Argeles-Gazost serves as an entrance to Pyrenees National Park (, the most visited of France's nine parks. Influenced by the Atlantic and Mediterranean climates, species as diverse as vultures, fox, bears, eagles and marmots live here.



6. Le Pic du Jer: Overlooking Lourdes, Le Pic du Jer ( offers a birds-eye view of the village and its surrounding farmlands. The highlight of a visit to the peak is a ride aboard the funicular cable-car to the top.


7. Sanctuaires Notre Dame de Lourdes: The development of the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes began within a decade of Ste Bernadette's apparitions in 1858. The main site is approached via one of two gateways; the Porte St-Michel and Porte St-Joseph or the Entrée des Lacets.


8. Château Fort: On a rocky pinnacle above town squats this imposing castle. There's been some kind of stronghold on this site since Roman times, but the present building is largely medieval, including the stout walls and the central keep.


9. Restaurant le Magret: The only place in town worthy of recommendation, a rustic restaurant dotted with sepia-tinted photos of Lourdes. It's strong on regional cuisine – particularly pork, trout, duck and cheese from the Vallée d'Ossau – but the ambience might be a little dingy for some.


10. Cirque de Gavarnie: Type: Scenic/ Historic Walking Areas.



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