Lourdes, France is a medium sized village in the south of France, bordering the Pyrenees Mountains that straddle the border of France and Spain. From this town, many outdoor activities are available, including hiking, biking, fishing, water sports, etc. But, Lourdes is primarily know as a veritable theme park of Christianity. The sanctuary of Lourdes is among the most famous Roman Catholic holy sites in the entire world. While truly Catholic in tradition, the Lourdes sanctuary is among the most international religious pilgrimage sites in the world, and receives about 6 million visitors every year from every continent around the world. The global appeal reaches to all Christian sects, and even the Muslim and remaining outside world.
When visiting Lourdes for the first time, it appears that the entire town is dedicated to the history of it’s most famous citizen, Bernadette Soubirous, a Catholic Saint who lived in Lourdes as a child. In 1858, she was privileged with 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary, in what is largely regarded as a matter of historical fact among almost anyone visiting this area. The circumstances of the apparitions, including the abject poverty of Bernadette’s family, the mysterious location of the apparitions in a rocky cave at the river (known as Massabielle), and the fact that the 14 year old girl foiled all attempts by experienced officials to suppress the events, all lead to an almost mystical attraction for this most holy of places. In fact, it is commonly known today that many non-believers who come to Lourdes out of pure curiosity often leave changed in both mind and spirit.
The Lourdes Sanctuary offers Christian devotees virtually every activity that is available for devotion and prayer. Among these activities are Catholic services, candlelight processions, participation in the sacraments, musical devotions, bathing in the holy spring waters, healing services, walking or hiking the stations of the cross, historical and religious films, etc. The town also features several tourist spots that are important in the life of Bernadette and history of the town, including the Boly Mill, Le Cachot, Hospice, and ancient Parish Church.
One day pilgrimage programs are available every day between May and October. You can simply arrive and join in the program. However, to participate and fully experience all that Lourdes has to offer, a minimum visit of 3-4 days is recommended.
Accommodation of kinds are available in Lourdes, ranging from youth camps up to fine hotels. Our pick is Appart Hotel Victoria Garden. Appart Hotel Victoria Garden is an excellent place to stay if you are visiting Lourdes for a few days or for longer periods. In the central part of town, the hotel is only a 10 minute walk to the sanctuary, local museums, and great tourist restaurants. Offering hotel rooms as well as apartment-style accommodation, you can feel free to settle in and enjoy your visit according to your own travel style.