Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
Situated on the banks of the Gave de Pau river, the sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes welcomes pilgrims and visitors from around the world throughout the year. Come and explore this unique world site and enjoy an unforgettable experience.
A historic site
When the Virgin Mary appeared to the young Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, Lourdes had little more than 4000 inhabitants. Between 11 February 1858 and 16 July of the same year, no less than 18 apparitions were recorded. Soon, pilgrims flocked to Lourdes to see the Grotto of the Apparitions. In order to accommodate them and in line with the Message of Lourdes, several structures were built. The first one being the Crypt which was dedicated in 1866.
Guided tour “In the footsteps of Bernadette”
Every day at 3 p.m., the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes invites you to walk in the footsteps of Bernadette Soubirous by way of a spiritual and historic stroll through Her familiar surrounds within the city.
Exploring the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
To explore the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is to step into a historical site filled with riches:
- The Crypt, accessible through a long corridor covered with ex votos.
- The Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (Upper Basilica) with magnificent stained glass windows tracing the history of the Apparitions and the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
- The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Romano-Byzantine architectural style has beautiful side chapels covered with mosaics depicting the Mysteries of the Rosary.
- The Basilica of St Pius X, built entirely underground and oval-shaped, it was constructed for the centenary of the Apparitions. It features gemmail stained glass art.
Visit the Massabielle Grotto, the very site of the Apparitions and at the heart of which is the spring discovered by Bernadette. To the right of the Grotto, you will find the fountains where you will be able to drink Lourdes water. Those who wish to do so can go to the Sanctuary Baths to immerse themselves in the water from the spring.
Opposite the Grotto, on the other bank of the river Gave de Pau, you can light a candle at the Chapel of Light.
From April to October, every evening at 9 p.m., the highlight of the day for pilgrims and visitors to Lourdes is the Marian Torchlight Procession.
Guided tour of the Sanctuary
Every Tuesday and Saturday from April to October, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes organises a visit of the basilicas. Go back in history and discover the ins and outs of the building projects.
Frequently asked questions
When to visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes?
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is open all year round. A specific programme with the timetable of the various ceremonies according to the time of year can be obtained from the Sanctuary information centre.
The cost of visiting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
Entry to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is free.
Where to park near the Sanctuary
If you are travelling by car, you will find parking bays near the site:
- Quai Boissarie and Quai St Jean car parks if you enter the Sanctuary through the Porte Saint Michel
- Merlasse covered and open car parks if you enter the Sanctuary through the Porte Saint Joseph
Other car parks are located throughout the city. You can find them on our page “How to get here”
How to get to the Sanctuary from the railway station
If you come by train, there are several ways to get to the Sanctuary Porte Saint Michel located about 900 metres from the Lourdes railway station. You can find them under the heading “How to get here – By train”
Pets in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
Pets are not allowed within the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
How to get Lourdes water
Whilst at the Sanctuary, you can draw Lourdes water at no cost. Small containers can be filled from the taps located between the Grotto of the Apparitions and the Baths. To fill larger containers please use the fountains located near the bridge leading to the Notre Dame reception.
Volunteering at the Sanctuary
Each year, thousands of volunteers and hospitaliers take part in the activities of the Sanctuary. How to volunteer? You will find all the information under the heading “volunteering at the Sanctuary”.