Lourdes

160 years of emotions

Your local contact

TOURIST OFFICE OF LOURDES - Promotion service

Place Peyramale, 65100 LOURDES, FRANCE

E-Mail: communication (at) lourdes-infotourisme.com

Phone:+33 (0)5 62 42 77 40

www.lourdes-infotourisme.com

On the 11th February 1858, in a cave by the river Gave which runs through Lourdes, the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. Hearing a noise "like a rush of wind" in an alcove in the rock, Bernadette turned to see "a lady surrounded by light who looked and smiled at me". It was the first Apparition. Seventeen more were to follow. Each year, Lourdes welcomes millions of people from all over the world visiting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, open every day. The Massabielle Grotto is where the 18 Apparitions took place.

Water is omnipresent in Lourdes in the form of the River Gave, but above all with the water in the spring which Bernadette discovered on the 25th February 1858, the symbol of purification. An iconic part of any pilgrim’s visit to Lourdes, bathing in the pools is a significant spiritual experience.

Ever since the Apparitions, the Sanctuary has been organized to receive large numbers of sick pilgrims and facilitate their attendance. There are now two medical reception centers here to welcome any elderly, sick and disabled pilgrims who require help, in comfortable and safe surroundings.The eucharistic procession, held every day from April to October at 5pm, is a particularly moving experience for sick and disabled worshippers, who receive a special blessing.

From April to October, a torchlight procession takes place every evening at 9 p.m. It is the most moving part of the day at Lourdes and an opportunity for prayer much valued by pilgrims and visitors to Lourdes. During the Christmas period, the torchlight procession takes the form of a rosary of burning torches in front of the Grotto of the Apparitions at 8.30 p.m.

As Lourdes is a very cosmopolitan place, an International Mass is held for all pilgrims at Lourdes, every Wednesday and Sunday during the pilgrimage season (April to October), at 9.30am in the St. Pius X Basilica, also called the Underground Basilica. Mass is celebrated in six languages.

Far from agitation, the "upper" city has kept its architecture of ancient times with its Bigorre houses. One can wander about on slightly steep streets, glancing to the Bigorre slate roofs. The castle, an impressive fortress modified according to Vauban’s instructions, has been successively the residence of the Bigorre counts, mercenaries’ hideout, then royal prison and finally garrison before housing since 1921, a Pyrenean Museum which has managed to save all its charm.

The Pic du Jer, overlooking the city, offers a unique belvedere with a breath­taking view at 360° over Lourdes and the Pyrenean summits. With a one hundred years old and totally charming funicular, inaugurated in 1900, one can climb up to the summits to be in harmony with an XXL nature.

Some facts about Lourdes

What’s special about the pilgimage of Lourdes?

Shrine of Lourdes

The 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous witnessed 18 appearances of Mother Mary at the Grotto of Massabielle. During one appearance Bernadette discovered a source whose water is said to be miraculous. In 1864 the artist Joseph-Hugues Fabisch sculpted the Madonna in the Grotto according to Bernadette’s description.

Pilgrimage history

Just around the grotto a holy district with several impressive churches, chapels and places developed since the appearance of Holy Mary. Today Lourdes is the most important place of pilgrimage for handicapped and invalid pilgrims.

Passage to the pools

Water is omnipresent in Lourdes in the form of the River Gave, but above all with the water of the spring which Bernadette discovered on 25th  February 1858, the symbol of purification. An iconic part of any pilgrim’s visit to Lourdes, bathing in the pools is a significant spiritual experience.

The sick at Lourdes

Ever since the Apparitions, the Sanctuary has been organized to receive large numbers of sick pilgrims and facilitate their attendance. There are now two medical reception centers here to welcome any elderly, sick and disabled pilgrims who require help, in comfortable and safe surroundings.

International mass

As Lourdes is a very cosmopolitan place, an International Mass is held for all pilgrims at Lourdes, every Wednesday and Sunday during the pilgrimage season (April to October), at 9.30am in the St. Pius X Basilica, also called the Underground Basilica. Mass is celebrated in six languages.

Popes visiting Lourdes

1877: Pope Pius IX

2004: Pope John Paul II

2008: Pope Benedict XVI

Top 5 events in Lourdes

Where to go

  1. Fête de Lourdes
  2. The Holy Music Festival
  3. The National Pilgrimage of St Rosaire
  4. Atelier Imaginaire Festival
  5. Day of Peace
Top 5 sights in Lourdes

What to visit

  1. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
  2. The castle of Lourdes and its Pyrenean Museum
  3. The Funicular of Pic du Jer
  4. The lake of Lourdes
  5. The indoor market “Les Halles” of Lourdes
Top 5 Excursions from Lourdes

Up to 2 hours driving time

  1. The Pic du Midi Observatory
  2. Gavarnie
  3. Cauterets-Pont d’Espagne
  4. Bétharram Caves
  5. Pau & the Jurançon vineyard
Travelling to Lourdes

The most important connections

Getting here by plane

LOURDES TARBES PYRENEES AIRPORT

BP 3 – F-65290 JUILLAN (10 km from Lourdes)

www.tlp.aeroport.fr

PAU PYRENEES AIRPORT

F-64230 UZEIN (45 km from Lourdes)

www.pau.aeroport.fr

TOULOUSE BLAGNAC AIRPORT

F-31703 BLAGNAC (170 KM FROM LOURDES)

www.toulouse.aeroport.fr

Getting here by train

LOURDES SNCF RAILWAY STATION

www.voyages-sncf.com

Getting here by bus

FLIXBUS

› Paris - Orléans - Poitiers - Bordeaux - Lourdes

www.flixbus.fr