It is the largest Catholic religion pilgrimage location in France.
It is situated in the south of the country, in the Pyrénées region, with about 17,000 inhabitants.
It is said that in February 1858 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year-old girl called Bernadette Soubirous in the remote Grotto of Massabelle.
A statue of the Madonna of Lourdes was erected at the site in 1864.
Soon a previous chapel structure was replaced with a pilgrimage basilica.
Bernadette Soubirous entered the Monastery of Nevers in 1866 and was canonised in 1933.
Yearly from March to October the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is the place of mass pilgrimages from Europe and other parts of the world.
The spring water from the grotto is believed to possess healing properties.
Especially impressive are candlelight and sacrament processions.
For a more information about Lourdes see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lourdes) December 2003
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in December 2005. E. & O.E.
Being devote Catholics, Hui Chin and I couldn't travel around France without going to Lourdes.
Although I've to Lourdes during my earlier sojourn through Europe with my daughter Sarolta in 1978.
We were very impressed than, so I was more than happy to visit Lourdes again.
However, our troubles to get to Lourdes started in Paris this time.
We were trying to find out the timetable and the necessary connection to get there, when the Reservations lady told us, that we'll have trouble getting there, as there was a Railway strike on that particular connection and booked us to Toulouse, from where we would have to make our arrangements and charged us a 'king's ransom' of booking fee on our Eurail Pass.
The whole explanation and charges didn't 'seat' well with me, so I went to see another teller some time later, who told us to go to Dax and there we will have a bus connection to Lourdes and refunded the 'booking fee', because we didn't need to pay in the first place.
We had only 10 minutes to find our train and get on it.
We did get to Dax but all the information windows were busy and we didn't have a clue, where the bus station and when a bus leaves and where to.
After some more inquiries we did get some answers, leaving us more confused than before.
Waiting outside the station for a bus for a considerable time, Hui Chin pointed to a young 'hippy' looking fellow, she overheard asking the same questions in French and getting more helpful directions, so I went to ask him.
The young fellow with the 'long hair' was real gentleman and bilingual and also very helpful, explaining everything to us and later he talked to the bus driver too, telling him that we wanted to go to Lourdes.
Originally the bus wasn't going to go that far.
We did get to Lourdes and Lourdes was beautiful and impressing.
We did have similar trouble getting back to Dax as the strike was confusing and upsetting everything.
No one was certain about the buses, which buses, when and where they running to.
Many kind people helped us and we would like to thank them all again.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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