Welcome to my first ever travel post! Today, I will be reviewing one of the most peaceful and beautiful holiday destinations I have ever been to…
Last year was the first time I visited France (and Lourdes in particular). I loved it so much that I went three times, last year alone!
(My excuse – not that I need any: I’m strengthening my faith, Lourdes is quite close to London by plane, and the flight tickets aren’t very pricy)
I know what you’re thinking: “isn’t Lourdes just for Catholics and Christians?” The answer is ‘no’. You don’t need to be religious enjoy the sights…
The are some impeccable views in Lourdes, and Pic du Jer’s mountain can be seen from every part!
If you’re looking for some great excursions that don’t involve a trip to the extremely beautiful Grotto, below are a few ideas…
Funicular – Pic du Jer in Lourdes
Sorry for the bad quality video of my journey in the funicular… In it, I hope you can make out the great views!
The Funicular will take you to the top of the Pic du Jer.
You might be pleased to know that I will be investing in a Canon camera, which will enable me to record some brilliant vlogs of my upcoming trips (not just in Lourdes).
Boat cruise in Lourdes
Another excursion I enjoyed was a boat cruise. A friend of mine has a boat, so he took us for a ride. It was beautiful! Luckily, we chose a great day to go, the weather was stunning and the views were spectacular.
Strolls / Hikes in Lourdes
Late evenings are very quiet in Lourdes, so – why not take a stroll (or a hike up the mountain) around the grotto?
It’s a great place to be to clear your head – getting some peace and quiet, which is what holidays are all about…
If you’re a stroller/hiker by nature, why not try morning/afternoon ones?
Chateau Fort in Lourdes
There’s a 1000 year-old Chateaux Fort close by too, just a short hike up a hill… The views from up there are extraordinary!
What’s inside the castle? Musée Pyrénéen, a museum showcasing both regional artifacts and art.
If historic architecture is not your thing, there is a shopping district a quick bus ride away… (I didn’t take any photos of this, whoops!)
Story of Lourdes
Okay, now- let’s discuss the story of Lourdes, and why I went there specifically…
Lourdes is the town where Bernadette Soubirous lived with her family. The Soubirous‘ were a poor, Catholic family that made their money from running a flour-mill. As a teenager, Bernadette would go (to what’s now the Grotto) with friends…
During one of her trips, Bernadette experienced her first apparition of Virgin Mary.
Obviously, she was quite shocked and couldn’t believe what she was seeing, so Virgin Mary came back a few times afterwards – proving to her that it was real.
Each time Virgin Mary visited Bernadette, she told her secrets about the town, and gave her insight into future – along with a few tasks. One of the tasks was to “dig until you find a fresh water spring, and drink from it”.
Bernadette didn’t think it was possible to find a water spring, as there was nothing but mud and concrete, but her faith and belief made her do it. After she kept digging and sure enough water started to flow- not just any water, Holy water (which may not have been blessed by the priest – who didn’t believe Bernadette’s apparitions – but by Virgin Mary herself).
After word got around of Bernadette’s apparitions, she fled to a convent in another part of France, where she later died in her early 30s.
Miraculously, her body has yet to decompose all these years later, and is being showcased in a museum. Apparently, all the staff have done is add a thin layer of wax on her hands and face, everything else is God’s miracle!
Since then, people have travelled from all over the world, for the Bath (in Holy water at Lourdes Sanctuary) and to experience miracles from the Grotto and Virgin Mary shrine.
Many people have experienced miracles and cures from their physical and mental ailments.
On one of my trips, I met a lovely lady who explained that she previously experienced symptoms of MS, and the doctors diagnosed her with the condition shortly after, as she began to deteriorate. However, she made a pact to visit Lourdes each year and bathe in the water… I am glad to announce that since visiting once a year for five years to-date, her condition did not worsen… Every hospital appointment saw her consultants telling her that her MS has not worsened or progressed. She very recently received the all-clear and was discharged.
Look, the main thing that all those who went to Lourdes and experienced miracles have in common is that they all believe, strongly. Their faith in God is unfailing and unwavering. Without it, they wouldn’t have experienced them.
Sanctuary of Lourdes
The image at the top of this post is of the Grotto, in the Notre Dame Sanctuary. The statue of Virgin Mary is positioned in the exact place where Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette. Also, the rock walls surrounding the Grotto (shrine) miraculously have the water pouring from them. That’s where people go to bless themselves, each other and their possessions.
Above, is the video of one of the greatest memories of my life. This was recorded on the day of Virgin Mary’s assumption, in 2019. I cannot get over the beauty, it has to be witnessed in real-life because the video doesn’t do it justice.
If you know me, you know that I love candles… Fun fact: I used to be so scared of flames, naked (and clothed). I couldn’t even light a match until last year… Since then, it’s been candle-lighting galore!
I cannot confirm nor deny that all the candles in the picture were lit by me!
I love the Sanctuary! There are three basilicas on the grounds. One of which is underground (used for international mass), another called the Rosary Basilica and the third being Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
There is no denying that Lourdes is one of the greatest places on Earth. Every time I visit, I feel the most peaceful I’ve ever felt.
As someone with an admittedly short fuse, my fuse has never been burned in Lourdes. It’s just magical!
Want to visit? I recommend staying at the Alba.
Hotel Alba in Lourdes
Alba is a 4* hotel a short walk away from the hustle and bustle. It’s in the quiet part of Lourdes, overlooking the mountains. It’s breathtaking to say the least.
Le Bodegon Brasserie in Lourdes
Introducing one of my favourite restaurants in the entire world. Shout-out to one of the greatest chefs of all-time, Jean-Pierre.
I promise to update this post with a selfie of him & I next time I’m there!
Aside from being the best chef ever, Jean-Pierre also makes the most delectable hot sauce, also ever! He very kindly gave me two jars to take home with me!
Le Bodegon Brasserie is fine-dining at its best. For €50, you can enjoy a Michelin star three-course meal! I had the best steak I’ve ever had, here.
What’s more, the ambiance in this restaurant is amazing. “Tres romantique” as I’m sure the French won’t say (because in their accent, everything sounds better)!
I went with my mum (and she’s my Valentine this year – as she has been every year)! But, it’s worth going with your significant other!
Of course, there are other eateries around, but Le Bodegon is my favourite.
Rating of holidaying in Lourdes: 5*
We plan to go again this year!