Visiting the magnificent Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is of course why millions of people come to this town in south-west France, considered the second most popular Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.

But whether or not you’re a believer, it is well worth spending time in this charming town, where there’s an air of great spirituality, and there are other interesting things to see in addition to the shrine.

To go back to the origins of Our Lady of Lourdes we need to step back in time to 1858, when a 14-year-old girl called Bernadette Soubirous witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary, who told her of the exact spot from where the waters of a miraculous spring would flow. Bernadette did in fact find the spring, and from then on, this water has been considered miraculous and can be drunk, taken home or used to bathe in by pilgrims.

Today, access to the enormous Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which includes 22 places of worship and occupies, together with its esplanade, a large part of the town, is open to all free of charge; the key sights are the basilicas of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of the Rosary, the Basilica of St Pius X and the Grotto where, according to Catholic belief, the Virgin appeared to the shepherdess Bernadette.

And some of the sites you can visit in Lourdes are linked specifically to the figure of Bernadette, such as the house where she was born or the one in which she lived with her family before and after the apparitions. Lourdes also has an interesting castle dating back to the 14th century, which now houses the Pyrenean Museum, dedicated to the history of the people of the Pyrenees, and boasts a lovely botanical garden.

As well as the wonderful views of the city from the castle, there’s another spot that’s perfect for enjoying panoramic views of Lourdes from above: the Pic du Jer, a mountain 1000m high, which can be reached by a funicular. The stunning views of the Sanctuary and the Pyrenees from the top will bring you closer to the mysticism of this wonderful place.

South of France PLAYLIST

We know you’re already dreaming of your next trip to South France and we want to help you dive into your next travel experience. Whether you’re flying to Marseille, Biarritz or Montpellier, we’ve put together a playlist of music that originates from this beautiful area.

South of France
South of France
Great reasons to visit Lourdes Pyrenees Great reasons to visit Lourdes Pyrenees
FLY TO Lourdes FROM 16.17€
Search flights