Sanctuary Our Lady of Lourdes
Between 11 February and 16 July 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared to a young girl called Bernadette Soubirous at Massabielle Cave on 18 occasions. The message delivered in these 18 ‘meetings’ was to love one’s neighbour and a call to prayer. Coming to the Lourdes Grotto makes us realise what we really are to God: beings that receive His infinite love regardless of our infirmities, our sorrows and the dark and light in our lives. This is the Grace of Lourdes.
The ‘mysterious’ call of the Lourdes Grotto continues to reach out to every continent, and every year millions of pilgrims from 140 different countries come to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Sanctuary, a vast area covering 52 hectares, is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Twenty-two places of worship, from the smallest (for 20 to 30 worshippers) to the largest (the Underground Basilica, which can accommodate 20,000 people), are available for use by priests and tour leaders for any kind of celebration, worship or assembly.
A large number of activities are available at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. A typical day would be as follows:
- 08.30: Video about the Message of Lourdes,
- 09.00: Guided tour of the Sanctuary or ‘In the footsteps of Bernadette’ walk,
- 11.00: Private mass,
- 14.00: Walk to the Grotto, lighting of candles,
- 15.30: Saying of the rosary at the Grotto,
- 17.00: Eucharistic procession,
- 21.00: Marian procession.
PIC DU JER FUNICULAR RAILWAY
Easily recognisable with its large cross lit up by night, the Pic du Jer is a unique mountain peak offering a breathtaking view over the town and the Pyrenees. It is undoubtedly one of the most stunning views in the region. The 1000m-high summit is reached on a charming funicular railway which is over a hundred years old. After visiting the grottos – the highest converted grottos in France- a small path leads you along a few minutes to a quaint restaurant with a panoramic terrace. This is also where you can set off from for a beautiful walk on a botanical trail through boxtrees, may, hazel trees…. For those on the lookout for a good show and plenty of thrills, this site hosts the World Cup of downhill mountain biking.
Located to the south of the town, in the direction of Argelès-Gazost. Open from Spring to mid November and during the Winter holidays. Mountain biking pass available. www.picdujer.fr
THE FORTIFIED CASTLE AND ITS MUSEUM
The historically listed fortified castle of Lourdes built on a rocky peak majestically overlooks the Marian town. It stands as a witness to a medieval past marked by the legendary Charlemagne and houses the Pyrenean Museum. The museum is a must if you wish to discover not only the traditions inherited in our mountains but also the history of the keep. The “icing on the crenels” would be the panoramic view over the town, the Sanctuary and the Pyrenees which is simply breathtaking. Make sure you don’t forget your camera!
Located in the centre of town. Open throughout the year (except 01/01 – 01/11 – 11/11 and 25/12). www.chateaufort-lourdes.fr
LAKE OF LOURDES
It only takes a few minutes out of the centre of town of Lourdes to come across a beautiful, vast glacial lake. It stretches out over 50 hectares in the midst of a pure, natural area and provides a haven of peace as well as a setting for many outdoor activities such as walking, mountain biking, fishing, paddleboarding or golf. It is the perfect place for a picnic or a fun country getaway with children, but also provides the opportunity to sample the culinary specialities from the Southwest in the two local restaurants on the pier or at the golf course.
It is worthy to note that the latter offers an 18-hole golf course which attracts novices and enthusiasts alike.
Located to the west of the town, in the direction of Pau. In July and August you will find “Lourdes beach” Free of charge. 18-hole golf course. www.lpgc.fr