Summer is a great time to go to Lourdes. This charming place in the Pyrenees is famous all over the world as the largest center of Marian worship in France and one of the most important in the world.
Every year, the town is visited by 6 million people, including 100,000 volunteers and 80,000 sick.
Picturesquely situated on the banks of the river Gave, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is visited by pilgrims from all over the world. The complex occupies an area of 52 hectares and houses 22 places of worship, some of which are must-visit points, e.g. Massabielle grotto, Sainte-Bernadette church, Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.
All these unique places allow you to fully discover the city and the sanctuary and better understand the mystery of the apparitions that took place here at the end of the 19th century and permanently defined Lourdes as one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Catholics.
Tourists and pilgrims come here mainly to pray in front of the statue of Our Lady, who in 1858 appeared many times to Bernadette, the daughter of a local miller, in the nearby grotto of Massabielle, and to draw water from the spring indicated to Bernadette by Our Lady. The traditional gesture of water, when people wash their face and hands, drink water and say a short prayer, alludes to this event.
Near the grotto there are even special fountains and water intakes, where you can drink or draw water into special containers. The sick also use special baths. Water from Lourdes is credited with miraculous healing properties.
Already in 1883, after the first healings with water from the holy spring, a permanent medical center was established, which scientifically examines individual cases of recovery. Although almost 7,000 miraculous healings have been recorded in Lourdes since 1884, only 60 have been officially recognized by the Church.
There is still no scientific evidence confirming the miraculous properties of Lourdes water. The Marian Sanctuary in Lourdes invariably hides its secrets, and faith may be the key to them.