Visit one of the most revered cities in the Catholic faith with Premiere Classe Hotels.
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available 29 october 2016
Lourdes is known as one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the Catholic faith. In 1858 a 14-year-old named Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have seen a beautiful lady in a remote grotto. She went on to see the lady a total of 17 times, and the figure eventually identified herself as ‘the Immaculate Conception’ leading to her being identified as the Virgin Mary. By 1859 thousands of pilgrims were already flooding to Lourdes, and the number of visitors still increases every year.
Lourdes is located in the Midi-Pyrenees region in south west France. Despite its popularity with pilgrims, it remains a small market town in the Pyrenees foothills. Lourdes has found itself embroiled in several conflicts, and was at one point given to England as a way to broker a temporary peace during the Hundred Years War. Thanks to its religious significance, Lourdes has more hotels than anywhere else in France apart from Paris.
Lourdes'most famous attraction is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Sanctuary offers a uniquely moving and spiritual experience with hundreds of sick and disabled people joining the daily mass and candle-lit procession with the hope of being healed by the waters of Lourdes. The Premiere Classe Hotel Lourdes is just a 20-minute walk from the Sanctuary. Near the Sanctuary is the Chateau Fort of Lourdes, which offers remarkable views of the town.
About an hour’s drive out from Lourdes is the Cirque de Gavarnie, an area of stunning natural beauty and a great place to walk. The Gavarnie Falls, France’s highest waterfall, is also situated here. Less than five-minutes drive from the Premiere Class Hotel Lourdes is the Musee de Cire de Lourdes. This museum details the life of Bernadette Soubirous with a series of wax work sculptures..
The Pic du Jer is a fantastic funicular railroad that takes you up one of the mountains surrounding Lourdes. The cost is very reasonable and the views from the top are unrivalled. The Voie Verte des Gaves is a brilliant cycle route from Lourdes and the fantastic scenery that you’ll enjoy along the way is a great way to spend the day with your family.
Many pilgrims arrive in Lourdes by rail, and the town is well connected to other French towns including Bayonne, which is 1hr45min away, and Paris, which can be reached by the TGV four times a day. There is also a bus service that visits Lourdes and will take you to many of the surrounding towns.
The region is full of simple authentic food made with produce from local farms and land. Regional specialties include duck or goose confits and cassoulet. The area is also an important wine making region with several well known chateaux in the area. As with most regions of France the cheese in the Midi-Pyrenees is excellent.
The biggest yearly event in Lourdes is the National Pilgrimage of St Rosaire. This is held in the town every year in October with a special mass held in the holy sanctuary of Notre Dame du Rosaire. The event attracts visitors from across the globe every year. The event’s background dates back to 1571 when it was first conceived.
Did You Know?
During the two weeks that Bernadette Soubirous had visions of a lady in the grotto near Lourdes she had both supporters and sceptics. During one of her visits, while in a trance, she began trying to drink from the mud in front of the grotto and eating grass that grew there, initially leading people to call her insane. Over the next few days, however, a spring did begin to flow from the mud Bernadette Soubirous had drunk from, thought to be healing water, and ultimately led credence to her claims.