A small mountain town located at the crossroads of the Argelès-Gazost, Luz-Saint-Sauveur and Cauterets valleys, Lourdes is one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in the world.
Cosmopolitan and welcoming, every year Lourdes welcomes millions of people from every continent and all faiths who have come to experience a unique and personal journey, sharing stories, encounters, and emotions. Separated from the rest of the city by a loop of the Gave River, to the west of the town, the domain of the Grotto, also known as the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes, is a private domain of 52 ha. It is open every day of the year, 24/24.
Once the apparitions were acknowledged by Monsignor Laurence in 1862, a first “chapel” was constructed above the Grotto: The crypt. It was blessed in 1866 in the presence of Bernadette Soubirous, just before her departure for Nevers. The crypt quickly became too small to welcome all of the pilgrims and in 1877 the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception known as the “upper basilica”, was erected.
For more information: Sanctuary Notre-Dame de Lourdes - www.lourdes-france.org
Other sites to discover
- Lourdes Château: The Lourdes Château, an impressive fortress redesigned according to Vauban’s instructions, has been, in turns, the residence of the Counts of Bigorre, a den for mercenaries, a royal prison, and then the base for a garrison, before playing host, since 1921, to a Museum of the Pyrenees which has been able to maintain the castle’s charm.
- The Pic du Jer : The most beautiful panoramic view of the Pyrenees from Lourdes at a 1,000 metre altitude! The Pic du Jer, plunging over the town, offers a unique vista with a breathtaking 360° view across Lourdes, Tarbes, Pau, the Argelès-Gazost Valley, and the summits of the Pyrenees.
It is via a hundred-year-old cable car, full of charm, and inaugurated in 1900, that you reach the top.
- The Lake of Lourdes : 3 km from the centre of the town, a vast glacial lake of over 50 ha stretches into untouched nature, a source of calm but also outdoor activities such as walking, mountain biking, fishing, or even kayaking, etc. Around the lake, everything is peaceful and well preserved, a perfect location for a picnic break or aperitif on the jetty’s large wooden terrace with a panoramic view.
- Lourdes Golf Course: you don’t want to miss the 18-hole golf course that dominates the lake’s tranquil waters on its south bank; take a swing at the heart of the Pyrenees.
- The Green Lane: The Gaves Green Lane (Voie Verte des Gaves) is also a natural pleasure ground for beautiful get-aways towards the medieval tower, the natural reserve, peaks, the banks of the Gave de Pau river, an impressive château, an abbey, and much more. A gentle invitation to travel the length of its 17 km, to experience this remarkable countryside on foot, on bike, on rollerblades, or by other means. It is the first Green Lane in France to be labelled “Tourism- and Disability-Friendly” for the four main forms of disability (motor, mental, auditory, and visual)
For more information: Lourdes Tourist Office: www.lourdes-infotourisme.com or +33(0)5 62 42 77 40.