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Holy Lourdes

Visiting Lourdes is a unique experience. For one thing, the people you’ll meet there are not tourists – they’re all in other parts of France. Instead, this Pyrenees town plays host to hordes and hordes of pilgrims desperately hoping for a cure from the supposedly holy water or to see a vision of the Virgin Mary, who is said to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous here in 1858.

Regardless of whether or not you believe, going to Lourdes provides a fascinating insight into the power of faith. And while most of the tourist spots revolve around St Bernadette and her visions (principally the Rosary Basilica, theGrotto of Massabielleand even the Wax Museum), the rest of the town is beautiful in a typically French way.

Lourdes’s Top 10

10. The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Hold onto your ovaries, girls, who knows what could happen!

5. The Rosary Basilica Designed by Leopold Hardy and built between 1883 and 1889. Tread carefully on those creaky floorboards!

9. Moulin de Boly The birthplace of Bernadette. Insanely popular with pilgrims and quite a cute little house.

4. Chemin de la Croix This marks out the 14 Stations of the Cross. Some pilgrims scoot to the first station on their knees. Each to their own…

8. Musée de Lourdes Explores the town’s history and the life of Miss Bernadette.

3. Pic du Jer Incredible panoramic views from the summit. Either take the train or go the proper way – walk.

7. Le Cachot Bernadette’s home at the time of her visions. It was also once a prison.

2. Château Fort This castle was once Lourdes’ major drawcard before Bernadette stole its thunder. Set on a rocky summit, it also houses the Musée Pyrénéen.

6. Maison Paternelle de Ste-Bernadette The lucky Soubirous family had this house bought for them by the people of Lourdes. Do you think your hometown would go for it?

1. Sanctuaires Notre Dame de Lourdes Pay your respects by lighting a candle or take your chances in one of the 19 baths said to cure the sick. Or head into the Grotto of Massabielle and see if Mother Mary comes to you.

Lourdes History

  • Chateau Fort—The Lourdes castle has been a notable part of French history since the 8th century.
  • Grotto of Massabielle—This shrine became a major pilgrimage destination following Bernadette Soubirous’ visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858.
  • Maison Paternelle de St Bernadette—The town bought this house for Bernadette Soubirous after her visions.
  • Musée de Lourdes—This museum showcases the town’s history and features period costumes and exhibits.
  • Chateau de Pau—A historic castle in nearby Pau where King Henry IV was born.

Lourdes Art & Culture

  • Musée Pyrénéen—This museum at the Chateau Fort has a collection of artefacts, folk art,and tools used hundreds of years ago.
  • Basilique du Rosaire—A beautiful Byzantine-style church consecrated in 1901 with lovely stained glass and mosaics.
  • St Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church—This church built in response to the miraculous visions is hard to miss with its golden domes.
  • Lourdes Classical Music Festival—This annual festival in April features orchestra concerts held at churches around Lourdes.
  • National Pilgrimage of St Rosaire—An annual pilgrimage in October celebrating St Rosaire with a special mass.

Lourdes Shopping

  • Boulevard de la Grotte—The main road in Lourdes is lined with shops and boutiques, many selling religious souvenirs and kitsch.
  • Au Mouton des Pyrenees—The wool of the Pyrenees is quite famous, and this boutique specialises in slippers, mittens and other items made from it.
  • The Book Shop—Extensive bookstore in Lourdes featuring many works of literature, guides and magazines.
  • Covered Market (Les Halles)—Located in the Place du Champ Common, this produce and grower market is open 6:30 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Saturday.
  • Palais du Rosaire—Offers a large selection of religious souvenirs, including containers for bringing grotto water home.

Gay & Lesbian Lourdes

  • The Angel—A lesbian-owned bed and breakfast centrally located in Lourdes offering holiday activities and women-only weeks.
  • Helgon Hotel—This nicely appointed, gay-friendly hotel is on a quiet street close to the sanctuaries and offers free Wi-Fi.
  • Résidence Les Jardins de Lourdes—This popular, gay-friendly hotel in the town centre has a fitness centre, sauna and solarium.
  • Le Colibri—A mixed bar and disco that throws parties with performers and go-go dancers.
  • Citotel de la Vallée—This simply furnished, gay-friendly hotel is located in the town centre and offers dining and a bar.

Lourdes Outdoor

  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes—This large area surrounding the shrine features open spaces, esplanades, churches and baths.
  • Le Pic du Jour—The summit of this mountain is accessible by a funicular railway and affords spectacular views.
  • Chemin de la Croix—A 1.5km trail up the hill through the forest that draws devout pilgrims with holy statues and stations along the way.
  • Little Tourist Train—See many of Lourdes’ important tourist sites along the 7.5km circuit of this street train.
  • Pont d'Espagne—Huge waterfalls running through the forest can be seen from this bridge.

Lourdes Sport

  • Cheer on the FC Lourdais in a rugby match at the Antoine-Beguere Stadium.
  • Go fishing in the turquoise waters of the large Lac de Lourdes, which used to be a glacier.
  • Enjoy splendid views of the Pyrenees by bicycle in Les Voies Vertes des Gaves.
  • Take a trek through the valleys and mountains of the expansive Pyrénées National Park.
  • Play a round of golf at the scenic Lourdes Golf Club 4km west of town.

Lourdes Events

Lourdes Fetes is a two-month festival starting at Easter. Enjoy folk dancing, stargazing, markets and performances.

Bike racing is almost a religion in France and even Lourdes stops to worship the riders when the Tour De France rolls around in July.

August sees Journée de la Paix,a celebration promoting global peace.

National Pilgrimage of St Rosaire is celebrated every October.

When To Go

The weather in Lourdes ranges from -5ºC (23ºF) to 20ºC (68ºF). So a jacket is a good idea even in summer!

Summer gets the most rain. It shouldn’t interrupt your stay too much but you will most likely experience a few short downpours.

Getting Around

Walking is the best way to get around and see the sights. With several pedestrian-only streets, it is also very safe.

Hiring a car is a possibility, particularly if wanting to explore further afield.But Lourdes’ streets are confusing, with lots of one-way roads and pedestrian-only access. And for a holy town, parking is decidedly devilish!

General Information

A pilgrimage site of incomparable appeal, Lourdes is a beautiful town in the Hautes-Pyrénées region of France. A place of peerless spiritual energy in the Christian world, the commune welcomes millions upon millions of visitors every year to the famous Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Remarkably, the town of only 15,000 contains more hotels than any other city in the country save Paris. It has been this way in Lourdes since 1858, when peasant girl Bernadette Soubiron, now Saint Bernadette, experienced several alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

Over 150 years later, some 5 million Christians make the pilgrimage to the Domain, or Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, to drink in the spiritual atmosphere and step on what they perceive is sacred ground. The Domain contains three basilicas, a church, two chapels and a famous grotto where the visions of Saint Bernadette first took place. Even if you are not a Catholic, a trip to Lourdes, if only as a casual observer, is a powerful experience.

Attractions & Activities

  • The Grotto of Massabielle
  • Lourdes Baths
  • Rosary Basilica
  • Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
  • Basilica of St. Pius X
  • Activities

  • Torchlight Marian Procession
  • Lourdes Fêtes
  • National Pilgrimmage of Ste-Rosaire
  • Atelier Imaginaire Festival
  • Day of Peace Celebrations
  • Restaurant & Nightlife


  • Le Magret
  • Campanile
  • La Taverne de Bigorre
  • L'Arcades
  • Le Frelon
  • Nightlife

  • Charly
  • Cintra
  • Eden Bar
  • New Orleans
  • Sirocco
  • Climate

    The weather in Lourdes is quite mild throughout the year, with relatively warm winters and summers devoid of intense heat.

    • Winter (December to February) 4-12°C
    • Spring (March to May) 6-18°C
    • Summer (June to September) 14-24°C
    • Fall (October to November) 7-19°C

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    Hotels in Lourdes

    Recommended hotels

    From US$43

    1 Hotel de Lisieux

    3 stars
    3.2 / 5

    8 rue reine astrid Map

    1 Child Stays FREE!!

    Assuring comfortable accommodation and quality amenities, Hotel De Lisieux Lourdes welcomes travellers for an unforgettable holiday in France. Nature lovers can discover and observe the Animal Park... More

    From US$56

    2 Quality Hotel Christina Lourdes

    3 stars
    4.0 / 5

    42, avenue Peyramale Map

    The Best Western Christina Hotel Lourdes is exceptionally positioned to offer you a wonderful journey and an unforgettable experience. GeneralThe hotel provides meeting facilities for business... More

    From US$75

    3 Hotel Panorama

    4 stars
    4.0 / 5 2 reviews

    11-13 rue Sainte Marie - BP85 Map

    1 Child Stays FREE !!

    Panorama Hotel Lourdes is a genuine traditional French hotel with all the modern facilities and amenities to make your stay a memorable one. GeneralGuests on business can utilise the on-site... More

    From US$73

    4 Hôtel Mercure Lourdes Impérial

    4 stars
    4.7 / 5

    3 Avenue du Paradis Map

    Mercure Lourdes Imperial Hotel offers a convenient retreat while on pilgrimage in the town. Devotees easily access the Lourdes Grotto where apparitions of Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette reportedly... More

    From US$77

    5 Hotel La Solitude

    4 stars
    4.7 / 5 3 reviews

    3 Passage St Louis Map

    Special Offer: Get 30% OFF!

    Presenting tranquil ambience and comfortable accommodation, Hotel La Solitude Lourdes is an ideal place for a pleasant as well as a relaxing stay. GeneralFor your meetings or incentives... More

    From US$60

    6 Hotel Roissy

    3 stars
    1.0 / 5 1 reviews

    16 av Mgr Schoepfer Map

    With its convenient location and quality accommodation, Roissy Hotel Lourdes is an ideal place for guests to reside and enjoy their trip in Lourdes. Famous attractions of the city include Pyrenees... More

    Room temperature
    The day we were in Lourdes it was raining and cold , when we got back to hotel room for warmth, we found out that maximum heating temperature is 22 degrees Celsius. Hotel staff didn't even want to...
    24 May 2015
    From US$49

    7 Citotel de la Vallee Lourdes

    3 stars
    5.0 / 5 1 reviews

    28 rue des pyrenees Map

    With tastefully appointed spaces and convenient facilities ideally set in the heart of Lourdes, Citotel De La Vallee Lourdes makes for a strategic starting point for exploring this French commune.... More

    From US$38

    8 Hotel Continental

    3 stars
    3.0 / 5 1 reviews

    20 Avenue Bernadette Soubirous Map

    Special Offer: Get 30% OFF!

    Featuring pleasant ambience and comfortable accommodation, this hotel welcomes you for an unforgettable holiday in Lourdes. GeneralDuring leisure, you can have a bracing dip in the on-site... More

    From US$62

    9 Apparthotel Odalys Lourdes Lorda

    4 stars
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    18 Esplanade du paradis Map

    Featuring self-catering accommodations, Apparthotel Odalys Lourdes Lorda makes for an ideal base for travellers in a short or long business trip or pilgrimage in Lourdes. Aside from visiting Rosary... More

    From US$42

    10 Appart'hotel - Residence la Closeraie

    3 stars
    5.0 / 5

    31 Avenue de la gare Map

    Situated in an ideal location from where you can admire the beauty of the Pyrenees, Appart'hotel - Residence la Closeraie is an ideal lodging option for you to enjoy a fun filled and joyous... More

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