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A place of miracles

It is impossible to mention the name Lourdes without thinking of the apparitions, miracles and pilgrims associated with the town. Lourdes, however, began life as a little market town, much like many others in rural south-west France. One day a young girl named Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary. From here things began to change, and today Lourdes is unrecognisable from its humble beginnings. The town frequently has as many as 5,000,000 visitors, and has the second largest number of hotels and hostelries in all of France!

The sanctuaries and religious sites

Of those who visit Lourdes for spiritual reasons, some are sick and hoping for a miracle cure. Others just wish to experience the atmosphere of a town with such an important spiritual place in history. Either way, these visitors are well catered for in Lourdes, and there are many religious sites worth seeing. These include, of course, the grotto where the Virgin made her legendary appearance, and the healing pools where those who are sick can bathe in the holy waters and seek their own miracles. In summer, there are torchlight processions which are truly atmospheric and very moving, whatever your beliefs.

Evidence of Lourdes as a pilgrim town is everywhere

It can be difficult to separate the town from the hype, but a real town with a real day to day life exists as well as the sanctuaries and pilgrim trails. It has to be said, however, that the evidence of Lourdes the pilgrim town is everywhere... the shops are full of rosaries and statues of Mary, of books about St Bernadette, of tales of religious experiences and related paraphernalia. Those seeking a truly spiritual experience may find that the amount of (frankly, sometimes tacky) memorabilia on offer detracts from the spirituality of the experience, whilst those seeking to find the town beneath the hype may find it simply irritating.

The real Lourdes

Don't give up on Lourdes, though, there is a real town here, and it lies in a delightful part of the French countryside on the very edge of the National Park of the Hautes-Pyrénées. In this real Lourdes, you can find shops, greengrocers, banks, schools and other necessities for your secular life. There are some excellent restaurants (some of which feature in the Michelin guides), so you can feed the body as well as the soul!

Outward bound

Lourdes is situated in a wonderful part of France, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, close to the Spanish border. This fact is frequently forgotten in the light of its other claims to fame, but if you love the mountains, spectacular scenery and adventure sports, then Lourdes is certainly worth considering as your base. You are within reach of the ski resorts in the winter, and in the summer there are endless possibilities available to you... walking, cycling, rafting, fishing, climbing... take your pick. The scenery is glorious, the gastronomy excellent and the wine superb!

How to get there

To reach Lourdes you can choose to fly into either Toulouse (British Airways, easyJet, flybe, bmi) or Pau (Ryanair). Or take trains (Eurostar and a TGV) and arrive in Lourdes having made the entire journey by rail. Either way, travelling to Lourdes from the UK is inexpensive and hassle free. You could also decide to sail, making the long crossing to Bilbao/Santander by boat.

Property prices and availability in and around Lourdes

Property in the department as a whole is relatively inexpensive, and there are some excellent renovation properties available in the countryside near Lourdes. Property in the town itself can be more expensive, however, as the town is so well known.

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Lourdes AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Lourdes?

Lourdes is located in the south-west of France, not far from the border with Spain. It lies in the west of the Hautes-Pyrénées department.

Lourdes Property Map

IN THE REGION OF MIDI-PYRÉNÉES

Midi-Pyrénées Guide

Midi-Pyrénées Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HAUTES-PYRÉNÉES

Hautes-Pyrénées Guide

  Hautes-Pyrénées Map


Population: 17,000


Access: By air: Fly to Pau (Ryanair) or Toulouse (easyJet, British Airways, flybe, bmi). By rail: The TGV will take you direct to Lourdes, having taken you by Eurostar to Paris. By boat: You can take the ferry to Bilbao/Santander.


Economy: The economy is based on religious tourism.


Interesting fact: You mean, apart from numerous reports of astounding religious miracles? Well, then try this one... Lourdes is a town of only 17,000 people, yet frequently accommodates some 5,000,000 more pilgrims in over 230 hotels and hostelries!

AGENTS WITH PROPERTY FOR SALE IN Lourdes

Agence Immobiliere Le Bonheur
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