"Lovely Lourdes" Top 5 Page for this destination Lourdes by Maryimelda

Lourdes Travel Guide: 127 reviews and 293 photos

Surprise, surprise..........

The first time I saw Lourdes, I was caught completely by surprise. I was heading for St Jean-Pied-De-Port at the foot of the Pyrenees with a seasoned traveller friend in a rented car in 2002. We had overnighted in Toulouse and as I had never been to Europe before, I had no idea that we would be going so close to Lourdes. My main focus was on Santiago de Compostela and driving along the Camino. It was all I could think about, I was so very excited.
Out of the blue my friend said that we would be passing by the turn off to Lourdes in a few minutes and would I like to stop in and see it. Well of course I wanted to see it, so in we went. What I didn't know was that my friend had planned the stop all along and that we were to stay overnight. I couldn't believe my luck.
I fell in love with this little town in a matter of minutes. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. The contrast between the town and its hundreds of souvenir shops (all selling the same stuff) and the Sanctuary where the Grotto is located was absolutely amazing.
I especially love the Candle Light Procession every night. On a clear night with a bigger than usual crowd it is nothing short of spectacular and to the faithful, a very moving experience.
I am a born and bred and practising Catholic, so Lourdes obviously means a lot to me. However, I can understand why so many non-believers don't like it. To them, the commercialism is quite tacky and they have little or no interest in the Basilica or the Grotto or the Sanctuary in general, so a visit to Lourdes to them is a complete waste of time. On the other hand those of us who were brought up hearing about Bernadette and the Lady find the Sanctuary to be a place full of peace, joy and lots of love. The souvenir sellers are not allowed anywhere within the confines of the Sanctuary. I never tire of it and go back there every time I go to Europe.

Peace, Joy and lots of Love........

When we arrived in Lourdes on my third visit in 2007, Billy was in a far more relaxed frame of mind than he had been in Paris, so I let him loose to explore for himself. He climbed up to the castle and rode the funicular to the top of the Pic de Jer in the Pyrennees and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He had all kinds of stories to tell about the people he met and his adventures without Mum in tow.
For my part I celebrated my birthday in Lourdes and never did anyone have so many birthday candles as I did at the Candlelight Procession. I know that there are many people who don't like Lourdes, but I find it to be a place full of peace and joy and it does my old heart good to spend a day or two there whenever I go to Europe. This time was no different.

You'll love it or loathe it........

If you have a special devotion to St Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes, you will love it (especially the Sanctuary), if you don't have that devotion, don't waste your time, you'll hate it. And in defence of the locals who are often criticised for "cashing in" with all their souvenir shops etc, I might remind the knockers that these people have to make a living somehow and after all, they are being invaded by tens of thousands of tourists every day for nine months of every year. Cut them some slack for heaven's sake. It's what they do to survive.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A very peaceful place.
  • Cons:Not much in the way of good food.
  • In a nutshell:Another childhood dream comes true.
  • Last visit to Lourdes: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (8)

Comments (12)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2014 at 2:30 AM

    Lourdes has been in the news several times in recent years because of massive flooding. But I take it this was not a problem when you were there.

    • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
      Mar 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      No Don I have only experienced rain once in Lourdes and that was pretty spasmodic and didn't stop us doing anything. The other visits were fine and sunny. Thanks for visiting and for the ratings.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    You've had good luck with your Hotel's here! I bet Billy enjoyed being in the procession, and what a sight it must be looking down upon it!

    • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
      Jun 26, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      It is hard to describe the procession and even harder to photograph it. You just have to be there.

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    May 14, 2013 at 5:34 AM

    Lovely page. I've never been to Lourdes but it looks interesting. Irene

    • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
      May 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Yes it's a favourite of mine. Thanks for visiting my Lourdes page, Irene.

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    I would love to go here, but unfortunately it would be far too quick on the present itinerary im coming up with

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    Only a few more days until my mother's third visit there. She's so much looking forward to showing it to my sister and me.I reread your tips to be prepared.Thank you.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Mar 21, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    An interesting page about a place I wish to visit some day myself !

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Oh sweet memories! I was there as a kid and yes, it was very moving and impressive! I should go back!

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Wonderfulpages.We didn't stay overnight so missed the candlelight procession. Oh well.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    nice little page. cheers. sb.

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2009 at 1:03 PM

    missed my morning flight from Orly, so arrived only mid afternoon, but the short overnight stop was more than i could have wished for. Will visit again ;-)))

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