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A miraculous place to seek solace
A miraculous place to seek solace
Some destinations have an allure all its own. And no where else in the world can a city claim a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, not once – but 18 times. It is this miraculous feat that brings the city of Lourdes millions of visitors.
Lourdes is nestled in a valley in the southwestern part of the Hautes-Pyrénées. Many catholics pay homage to this revered city, but you certainly do not have to be catholic to appreciate all that this mysterious city has to offer. You can get to Lourdes by train from Paris in just over 5½ hours. Get a France Rail Pass and you can spend time in Lourdes and surrounding cities.
On February 11, 1858, a 14 year-old shepherd girl named Bernadette Soubirous came in contact with the Virgin Mary through a vision. The Virgin had revealed herself to Bernadette not once, but a total of 18 times in the niche of a cave. Bernadette was unaware of who the woman was until March 25, 1858, when that the Virgin said to Bernadette "I am the Immaculate Conception."
It is said that Mary commanded Bernadette to "Go drink at the spring and wash there." As there was no flowing water to be found, Bernadette scraped the earth away. As she dug, a small puddle appeared before her, the puddle began to flow. The next day, a stream flowed where the puddle began and this same stream still flows today.
People come from all corners of the world to drink and even wash with the water from the flowing spring in Lourdes. Travelers with ailments and diseases visit Lourdes in hopes to be healed by the waters. It is said that 27,000 gallons of water are produced from the spring each week since it emerged back in 1858.
You can also visit the Grotto of Massabielle, where the Virgin was said to have appeared before Bernadette. Inside, you’ll find a statue of the Virgin Mary in the position she was said to have appeared. There is also the Musée Ste-Bernadette, a museum dedicated to her life.
The Haute-Pyrenees section of France is one of the closest in proximity to Spain. So if you’ve started your travels in Paris and made your way down south, why not keep going? The Eurail France-Spain Pass is an easy way to travel to both countries. From Lourdes, you can easily hop on a train to Spain thanks to high-speed train service. Almost sounds like a miracle.
Being a very popular destination, Lourdes has more than 200 restaurants offering all kinds of cuisine. However try the garbure, a local delight. It is a vegetable soup with confit duck. If you want to avoid crowds, head to a back-street tavern for tender Pyrenean lamb with Tarbais haricots.
Lourdes is not what we can call a hot shopping destination. However those who are of Christian faith will de delight by the choice of religious memorabilia and souvenirs. Statuettes of saints, rosaries and candles are everywhere. Flanking the famed Grotto, the Sanctuary starts a run of hundreds of shops selling virgin emblazoned paraphernalia.
Lourdes Tourist Office
Place Peyramale, 65100 Lourdes.
Tel: +33 5 62 42 77 40
The city’s tourist office has a helpful personnel, insider information and tips as well as handy maps and brochures. The city’s tourist office also arranges tours and excursions and is a focal point for local accommodation.
Getting to and from Lourdes
|From St Agne||02:12|
|From St Gaudens||00:55|
|To St Agne||02:45|
|To St Gaudens||03:42|
|To St Pierre Des Corps||07:48|
Trains are convenient way to reach any town and city in Europe. All main towns have a railway station, while major cities have more than two railway stations. Nearly all railway stations are located in the city centre. Check our map to locate railway station(s) in Lourdes.
Lourdes city guide
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