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Lourdes

Trip Planner Europe  /  France  /  Occitanie  /  Hautes-Pyrenees  /  Lourdes
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Historic Sites Sightseeing Museums
Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is part of the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France. Prior to the apparitions of the Heavenly Mother in 1858, the most prominent feature of the town was the fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its centre.In 1858 Lourdes rose to prominence in France and abroad due to the Marian apparitions seen by the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous, who was later canonized. Shortly thereafter the city became one of the world's most important sites of pilgrimage and religious tourism. Today Lourdes hosts around six million visitors every year from all corners of the world. This constant stream of pilgrims and tourists transformed quiet Lourdes into the second most important center of tourism in France, second only to Paris. it is the third most important site of international Catholic pilgrimage after Rome and the Holy Land. As of 2011, of French cities only Paris had more hotel capacity.Apparitions and PilgrimagesThe Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Marie-Bernadette Soubirous on a total of eighteen occasions at Lourdes. Lourdes has become a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of miraculous healings. The 150th Jubilee of the first apparition took place on 11 February 2008 with an outdoor Mass attended by approximately 45,000 pilgrims.
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