In the South West of the High Pyrenees department in France, a miraculous town leans against the foothills of the Pyrenees. Lourdes is one of the top pilgrimages in the world, and, whether you are believer or a skeptic, it is somewhere that you should definitely visit once in your life. The naturally beautiful countryside surrounding Lourdes is equally full of little miracles; take a candle with you and explore the natural caves in the moutains.
In 1858, Lourdes had its revelation. In the Massabielle cave, the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14 year old peasant girl. The Virgin was to visit Bernadette a total of 18 times, asking her to build a holy sanctuary here and revealing to her the divine essense of the hidden natural spring.
Since then the pilgrims have flocked to this famous spot, with an average six million visitors every year, including some 70,000 invalids - accompanied by numerous volunteer helpers - who travel to Lourdes to bathe in the healing waters.
Taking the path of the Espélugues Cross, you will come across the Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Rosary, an unusual Byzantine church. The travel to Lourdes International Festival of Religious Music is a very popular event which takes place here. Above the Underground Basilica of St. Pius X, the Neo-gothic Basilica of the Immaculate Conception dominates the miraculous cave, the focal point of the religious processions. Here, where the Virgin is said to have appeared, thousands of candles light up the cave, beside taps which gush with the "miraculous" water. Further on, you can bathe in the pools of blessed water. The shops in Lourdes are stuffed with rosaries, statuettes, figurines and other religious trinkets to take home with you.
For those seeking fresh air and outdoor activities, never fear for appearing like a divine apparition before you is the beautiful lake, the Lac de Lourdes where you'll find many watersports and plenty of fishing on offer. As well as beautiful natural scenery, the area also boasts a golf course. travel to Lourdes is full of mysteries: beneath one of the largest lakes in the Pyrenees, legend has it that a sunken city sleeps in the deeps…
A great luminous cross glows in the dark like a beacon over the town. Hop onto the Pic du Jer Funicular Railway which will take you up the slopes to an altitude of 1,000 metres, where you can admire the stunning panorama of the Pyrenees illuminated by the lights of Lourdes.
As the gateway to the Pyrenees, Lourdes is all about the exceptional natural environment. Twenty minutes from Lourdes, you can journey to the centre of the earth, at the Bétharram Caves. Just 13 km from Lourdes, the Animal Park of the Pyrenees will delight the children, while 21 km away, at the Donjon of Aigles you can see all sort of rare species of animals.
Let yourself be overcome by the miracles of Lourdes...
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