Lourdes is at southwest of France of Hautes-Pyrenees, taking a train from Paris takes about 6 hours. It’s a small town with hills as backdrop, very picturesque. In this town, Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous for 18 times and today, Lourdes has become a pilgrimage welcoming thousands of pilgrims daily from all over the world. People come to Lourdes also for the Lourdes water which has produced lots of miracle, curing lots of people from various illnesses.
The key attractions in Lourdes are contained mainly in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Enter the sanctuary via the St Michael’s Gate, alternatively via the St Joseph’s Gate. The sanctuary houses the Basilicas of the Immaculate Conception. A magnificent basilicas built in the 13th century. A crowned Virgin Mary is facing the basilicas. The other attractions include the grotto, where Our Lady appears to Bernadette; the Bath, where faithful literally takes bath with faith to cure of their illnesses; Undergound Basilica of St Pius X, an awesome basilica built underground; Way of the Cross, with high and low station. The high station is on the hill while low station is along flat ground which is more convenient for the physical challenged pilgrims.
In the Sanctuary, there are lots of other daily activities too. From the morning at 9am, there is a daily mass in English. Confession are held throughout the day till early evening. At 3.30pm daily, rosary is prayed at the Grotto. There are procession in the afternoon and a candle light procession during the period April to October.
Other places of interests which I would recommend is Pic du Jer, where you get the view of Lourdes. The ticket booth for both the bus ride and the entrance fee to Pic du Jer is outside the St Joseph gate of the Sanctuary. Stroll around the town or follow the footsteps of St Bernadette and visit Boly Watermill, the birthplace of Bernadette; Le Cachot, the dungeon where Bernadette and her family lived when her family fell into misery; the Father’s house, also called the “Lacade watermill”, Bernadette’s parents’ house which was a gift from Abbot Peyramale; St Bernadette Museum, to learn about her life and the apparition with Our Lady.
And don’t forget to bring back some Lourdes water and souvenirs.
[Read about our faith-tested trip to Lourdes]
How to get there?
Take the train from Paris, Gare Montparnaesse.
When to go?
Period 1: April to October, with October being the peak period.
Period 2: November to March.
Period 1 is a busier period, while period 2 is a quieter.
Link to check out before you go:
Tips: If you were to visit in October, do book your accommodation 3-4 months in advance.