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Lourdes Travel Guide

Overlooking the Basilica

As far as climate and geography go, Lourdes is very much like the average town in the Welsh valleys, aside from the climate being slightly warmer and the vegetation greener. The surrounding region is very beautiful in the summer, when the weather is good.

Very few tourists seem to venture beyond the immedidate vicinity of the Basilica Domain, where the commercialism is on display in all its vulgarity. In the numerous stores that line the streets, one will find every design of rosary conceived of, countless variations of Miraculous Medal, statues everywhere of Our Lady, and a collossal number of water containers - for the collection of the 'holy water' from the Grotto. Most of Lourdes itself is relatively quiet, even in July.

In the old town, there is the actual parish church, the places where the Soubirous family lived, and a large fortress that’s been there since the 8th century. A few streets beyond that is the modern town, which looks just like any modern high street.

Getting There and Accommodation

Perhaps the easiest way is to find a tour operator, depending on whether the flights go from a nearby airport. This is also the more expensive option. I used to book the travel and accommodation through Joe Walsh Tours, but that operator went out of business in 2020.

An alternative method of getting there is to book a flight tto Pau Aiport, and get a train from there to Lourdes. The train station is on the other side of the town to where most the hotels are.

St. Louis de France has been my favourite hotel so far, though it only has a three-star rating, the hotel room was larger and offered a more picturesque view. The food was okay, but the dining area too cramped for my liking. La Solitude is a four-star hotel - it has a more glamorous appearance, a nice bar and large dining area with excellent food. The hotel rooms, however, are smaller and the view from them isn't great.

The Sanctuaire

The Pyrenees Trail

Gavarnie