Annually, six million visitors come to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 2014, this number will jump to nine million as Pope Francis plans to make a pilgrimage to the third visited Catholic point of interest, after the Vatican and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. Famous for apparitions, Lourdes (pronounced "lourde" or "lourdz") has become a major European pilgrimage site.
Lourdes lies 497 miles south of Paris in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. Only 15,000 live in the town of Lourdes, the second highest occupancy of hotels outside of Paris.
Those who make a pilgrimage visit the Sanctuary for about week. However, an average visit range about one to two days to cover the whole Sanctuary with mass, confession and several services included as part of the sacredness.
As congestion makes it hard to visit, an informative tour guide will navigate and point out places to avoid or advise on specific time frames.
With charm and grace, Veronique of Get Your Guide shares information about the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. She provides excellent customer service and is filled with amazing information about the sanctuary. Well-versed in English, Veronique talks with a French accent. She also knows Spanish, too.
Ask Veronique for the ideal souvenir. She recommends staying away from items made from China and shared to inspect the item closely. She suggest bringing home a DVD of the story of St. Bernadette, as a way to commemorate the visit to the Sanctuary.
During the tour, if places were congested, she knew the best times to revisit the site again. As suggested, the revisited times were ideal frames to soak in the religious atmosphere.
Gracious, she offered advice to lost visitors during tour. Her kindness and sweet personality showed visitors the best French hospitality.
Half day starts at $211.62 per person.
Explore the town of Lourdes
Visit the three Basilicas, including the Grotto where the Virgin appeared 18 times
Discover why the Pyrenees town has been a site of Catholic pilgrimage for 150 years
Avoid the tourist trap of a house St. Bernadette lived for two days. Admission is charged to unsuspecting tourists
Photo opportunities throughout the Sanctuary is a memorable aspect of the trip
Touch the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858.
Walk in the footsteps of St. Bernadette.
Three hours is the average tour. After the tour, your guide will provide additional tips to check out certain section or return to favorite sites.
Fun Facts from the Tour
You may wish to bathe in the healing waters, attend the “Blessing of the Sick,” or join the evening’s rosary and candlelight procession.
Bernadette was canonized as a saint in 1933. Her remains are in Nevers, France, several hours outside of Paris.
Check out the Statue of the Crowned Virgin Mary, which stands in the impressive Rosary Square, across from the Rosary Basilica (Basilique Notre Dame du Rosaire).
Another must-see sight is the small spring inside the Grotto of Massabielle, where the water has been reputedly responsible for miraculous healings over the ages. Or participate in one of the daily processions to and from the grotto.
See Boly Mill where St. Bernadette was born, and the "Cachot," an abandoned pris-on where Bernadette's impoverished family lived.
Join your prayers with those of pilgrims from around the world as you pray for the sick, drink water from the miraculous spring or submerge yourself in the healing baths.
Experience Christ's love as you walk the life-sized Stations of the Cross overlooking the holy Grotto.
Kneel in the chapel built on the very rock of the Grotto, in obedience to the request of the "Immaculate Conception."
Your role in the universal church will have new meaning as you join the candlelight pro-cession and group rosary. (candle light procession and group rosary April through October only).
Tip #1: Say confession first before lining up for the baths.
Tip #2: Early afternoon is ideal to line up for the baths as the line is smaller than the morning time frame.
Tip #3: Bring home a bottle of holy water from the springs for your family.