Welcome to Lourdes

The sprawling town of Lourdes, 43km southeast of Pau, has been one of the world’s most important pilgrimage sites since 1858, when 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous (1844–79) is believed to have been visited 18 times in a rocky grotto by the Virgin Mary.

Outside the theme-park-like atmosphere of the town, you’ll find some intriguing sites, including a hilltop castle and various humble abodes where Soubirous resided – which more than anything illustrate the many hardships the lower classes endured in the late 19th century.

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