Friday, November 25, 2011

Lourdes, France {Part II of VII}

Similar to the town of Fátima in Portugal, the small town of Lourdes, located at the foothills of the Pyrenees, is widely known to be a major pilgrimage site. Lourdes is famous for its Marian apparitions to a little girl named Bernadette Soubirous.

The story goes that on 11th February 1858, ‘a lady in white’ appeared to Bernadette at a grotto while she was out gathering firewood. The apparitions took place for a total of 18 times, the most significant ones being the 9th apparition, when the lady miraculously revealed a source of water underground, and the 16th apparition, when the lady finally revealed her identity as the “Immaculate Conception”. These revelations eventually convinced the sceptical authorities that Bernadette’s visions and claims were indisputable.

Following the series of apparitions, the destiny of Lourdes changed forever with the building of a Sanctuary dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ at that site as per her wishes. Each year, whether it’s for spiritual renewal or for the hope of a recovery from illness, millions of pilgrims and tourists flock to Lourdes, which is believed to have the most number of hotels in France after Paris!

Religious reasons aside, Lourdes is actually a really pretty town surrounded by lush greenery and the river Gave de Pau running through it! I stayed at the Hotel La Solitude and was given a room with a balcony that offers a gorgeous panorama of the river as well as the Castle of Lourdes.

Also, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes was just a short walk from the hotel, with what seemed like endless rows of souvenir shops along the way.

Above: The colourful mosaic-decorated walls outside the Basilica.

Above: Mass being held at the grotto where the apparitions occurred.

Above: The house of Bernadette's father which originally belonged to the Mayor of Lourdes.

Above: The taps through which the miraculous spring water flows from a source near the grotto. Believed by many to have healing effects, visitors are welcomed to collect the water for drinking or bathing.

Above: Night view of the Basilicas from the spacious esplanade.

Above: The grotto stays open at night offering a quiet & peaceful moment for prayers.


  1. Wow! You've got some pretty awesome shots! U managed to capture the Basilica in it's entirety! :)

  2. Thanks! Yup, the wide angle lens is pretty awesome :)


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