- Location: On the foothills of the Pyrenees in Southern France
- Attraction Type: Market Town
- Significance: A Christian pilgrimage
- Best time to Visit: May to October
- How to Reach: By Road A64 from Toulouse, or by train to Lourdes
- Nearest Airport: Tarbes-Lourdes
Lourdes, famous for its apparitions of the Virgin Mary, is a market town lying in the Pyrenees foothills in France. This market town in France is an important pilgrimage for Christians and is known to have miraculous healing powers. The first apparition was seen by Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. During this Lourdes in France was recognized by the spire of a fortified castle located in the city center on a knoll. On the 150th anniversary in February 2008 of the first Marian apparition, a mass was attended by nearly 45,000 devotees.
Lourdes a small market town originally emerged into a major pilgrimage after the second half of the 18th century. This wonderful city has two distinctive divisions: the ‘French’ portion characterized by the traditional marketplace and Hotel de Ville, and the ‘international’ portion comprising churches and the Grotto.
While touring Lourdes you must visit the Grotto where St. Bernadette saw the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The house of St. Bernadette should not be missed out. The underground St. Pius X Basilica in fantastic architecture is a memorable sight. But perhaps the most magnificent sight in this sleepy market town is the mass which is attended by thousands of pilgrims. The International Mass in six languages viz., English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, and German, is especially interesting. Become a part of this mass in the Basilica of St. Pius X on all Sunday mornings. You might also become a member of the choir if you arrive 90 minutes before the mass begins.
A procession to this Basilica each afternoon by the diseased and sick is particularly moving. In the evening you could join in a candle night procession around the market square in front of the Basilica. Songs and prayers add to the solemnity of this procession.
Lourdes is not all about pilgrimages and processions. Hire a car and make trips to the spectacular locations of De Col de Tourmalet, Gavarnie, or Pont d’Espagne in the Pyrenees.
While on a visit to this market town in France you might choose to stay in Acropolis, Acadia Hotel, Adriatic Hotel, Excelsior, and Galilee Et Windsor.