Explore a Pyrenean town that has become one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in the world.
It all began when the Virgin Mary started appearing to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Step into Notre-Dame de Lourdes Sanctuary. Go past the Cave of Apparitions. Then gaze at the 3 basilicas: look up to the stained-glass depicting the Immaculate Conception, admire the Venetian mosaics at Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire, go down to the underground Saint Pie X Basilica…
Emotion and passion run high to create a unique atmosphere.
Join a torchlight procession every evening from April to October. It's an incredible chance for believers and non-believers from all countries and creeds to experience something special together.
It's waiting for you on its rocky peak: the unmissable Lourdes Fortress. Climb onto its upper platform ("the southern horseman"): the views are stunning over the town, Sanctuary, 22 riverside religious sites and the Pyrenees. The fortress is a barrier between France and Spain, a giant protector for trade routes and local populations which bravely lived up to its military calling between the 11th and 19th century. It is now home to the Pyrenees Museum exploring domestic, rural and pastoral life in the Pyrenees.
Secret passageways, alleys, houses with galleries and shutters in yellow or blue grey...on foot or by segway, explore a real Pyrenean town that has become the 2nd biggest French town for hotels after Paris.
Track down information panels on the footpaths in town to get an insight into the medieval city of Lorda and its bygone monuments. Or follow "Bernadette's life path" to see how the town has changed since the apparitions.
Useful: get around using the “Patrimoine en balade” mobile app.
You'll recognise it from the crucifix at its peak as the Pic du Jer overlooks the town from its 900m altitude. Take a 100 year old cable car to the top: a magical journey. When you get there you'll find a footpath to the Observatory. Take a deep breath of fresh mountain air and enjoy. Look down over Lourdes, the Gaves Valley, the Pyrenean peaks and more.
The Pic du Jer is also a famous mountain cycling spot with 2 pistes, one for expert cyclists and the other for families. So bring your bikes on board the cable car.
Lourdes Lake is a breath of fresh air just 3km from the town centre. There are 50 hectares of clear water and leafy banks to unwind, have a picnic beneath the trees, hike, fish or play a round of golf. Go on a pedalo, stand-up paddle or canoe trip: make the most of it to reach the bog, a Natura 2000 site, on the other side of the lake. In summer you can swim within the safety perimeter and watch the sun set over the Pyrenees.
Bring your hiking boots! Here are 2 hiking trails among the many to choose from around Lourdes: the Piémont Pyrénéen (GR®78) to Santiago de Compostela or the Gaves Green Path between Lourdes and Cauterets.
Take a break from the halo of light around Lourdes and come back to earthly pleasures. Experience the town's food culture in its markets packed with local produce: mountain cured meat and cheese, Gascon Black pork, Tarbes beans, Pyrenean trout, Pyrenean lamb, Madiran wine etc.
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