What to visit in Lourdes, France?
Activities, France
 27 Dec '23
 72 |  1 

Lourdes is a small town in the Pyrenees mountains of southwestern France, famous for being the site of 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary to a young peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Today, Lourdes is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year who come to seek healing, faith and inspiration. But Lourdes is not only a place for religious devotion; it also offers a variety of attractions and activities for travelers of all kinds. Here are some of the best things to visit in Lourdes, France.
Image: Lourdes small town in France

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes

The heart of Lourdes is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, also known as the Domain, which covers 52 hectares of land along the banks of the Gave de Pau river. The Sanctuary encompasses several churches, chapels, grottos, gardens and other facilities that cater to pilgrims and visitors. The most important place to visit is the Grotto of Massabielle, where Bernadette saw the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. You can see the spring that emerged from the grotto, which is believed to have miraculous healing properties. You can also join the procession of pilgrims who walk with candles and pray the rosary every evening from April to October.

Another highlight of the Sanctuary is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, a beautiful Romanesque-Byzantine church that features 15 mosaic panels depicting the mysteries of the rosary. The basilica also has a dome that is adorned with a golden crown and cross, a gift from the Irish people. On top of the basilica is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Upper Basilica, which has a Gothic style and stained-glass windows that illustrate the story of Lourdes. Beneath the basilica is the Crypt, which was built in 1866 and contains relics and ex-voto offerings. The largest church in the Sanctuary is the Basilica of St. Pius X, also known as the Underground Basilica, which can accommodate 25,000 people. It was built in 1958 for the centenary of the apparitions and has a modern oval shape and gemmail stained glass art.

The Sanctuary also has several other places of interest, such as the Baths, where pilgrims can immerse themselves in the water from the spring; the Way of the Cross, which has life-size bronze statues depicting the passion of Christ; and the Rosary Square, which has a large statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and a fountain with 12 jets representing the 12 apostles.

The Château Fort

If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Lourdes, you can visit the Château Fort, a medieval fortress that stands on a rocky hill overlooking the town. The castle dates back to the 11th century and was once home to the counts of Bigorre and later to English kings during the Hundred Years’ War. Today, it houses a museum that showcases local art and traditions, such as costumes, furniture, pottery and tools. You can also enjoy panoramic views of Lourdes and its surroundings from the castle’s ramparts and towers.

The Pic du Jer

For nature lovers and adventure seekers, Lourdes offers access to some of **the most scenic landscapes and trails in
the Pyrenees**. One of them is **the Pic du Jer**, a mountain peak that rises 948 meters above sea level and offers stunning views of Lourdes and its valley. You can reach the summit by taking a **cable car ride** from Lourdes town center or by hiking along a marked path. At the top, you can explore **the caves** that were used as shelters during World War II or visit **the observatory** that has telescopes and binoculars for you to admire **the panorama**.

Other nature attractions near Lourdes include **the Parc Animalier des Pyrénées**, a wildlife park that houses more than 600 animals from 120 different species native to the Pyrenees; **the Lac de Lourdes**, a lake that offers fishing, boating and picnic opportunities; and **the Cirque de Gavarnie**, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features a spectacular glacial amphitheater with waterfalls and snow-capped peaks.

Conclusion

Lourdes is a town that has something for everyone, whether you are looking for spiritual enlightenment, historical discovery or natural beauty. It is a place where you can experience miracles, marvels and wonders. If you are planning to visit Lourdes, France, don’t miss these amazing attractions that will make your trip unforgettable.

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