One of the most significant religious sites in the world
Over five million visitors every year
Fortified Castle and Pyrenean Museum
At an altitude of 420m
Lourdes Lake for water sports
18 hole golf course
Gateway to the high Pyrenees mountain range
Few places attract visitors on the scale of Lourdes. Over five million every year. It is not the home of Kings or Princes, but of an illiterate peasant girl who in February 1858 experienced 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary, in a small grotto near to her home. Her friends, and later large crowds who were drawn to watch her, saw nothing. Lourdes is now steeped in religion and the major attractions result from the events of 1858.
At the Grotto Of Massabielle the young Bernadette, aged only 14, saw the apparitions. At the ninth, following instructions from the Virgin Mary to drink the water, she discovered the spring, Although there was no known spring, she dug into the dirt with her bare hands and a small puddle appeared. The spring began to flow, and reached a level of 27,000 gallons a day, which has been maintained ever since. It was after the 12th apparition that the first miracle occurred. Bernadette’s friend plunged her injured arm into the spring and it was healed. In the 148 years since, 70 cures have been verified as “inexplicable” not “miraculous”. Many thousands of pilgrims now come to the Grotto in the hope of finding a cure.
Not just a religious phenomenon, there are numerous activities for everyone. The glacial Lourdes Lake, for example is only minutes from the centre. Bordered with a coniferous forest it is ideal for fishing, sailing, canoeing, pedalos, mountain biking and horse riding. For golf enthusiasts, the 18-hole, par 71 Lourdes golf course is set on a superb backdrop with the lake in the foreground rising to the high Pyrenees peaks. This 5,600m long course is pleasantly undulating and ideal for a sporting round.
Stretching further afield, the geographical location of Lourdes at the foot of the mountains makes it an ideal starting-point for excursions into the Hautes Pyrenees and onto the various scenic delights and the National Parks.