Lourdes Visit

Grotto Where Bernadette Saw Our Lady

The message of Lourdes came in 1858 when a 14 year old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, daughter of a miller, saw a vision of a woman veiled in white with a blue sash and golden rose on each foot. She was holding a rosary of pearls. This woman appeared to Bernadette 18 times from February to July 1858.

Bernadette went to religious authorities and despite their skepticism began an investigation. After much ado the wishes of the veiled woman were granted and Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica was built surrounding the spring which appeared during these apparitions.

The Spring

Visiting Lourdes

Start your visit to Lourdes at the Information Center. Here they have staff who can direct and understand your needs for the visit in your language. There are many daily events and schedules are available. Few speak English on the Church grounds or in the community.

The Church has an upper level

and a lower level..

It was in the lower level altar where Bernadette saw her last vision of the Blessed Mother.

There is a separate building for confession and in that building English mass is conducted. Most of the pilgrims at the Church are European.

Catholic Mass in English is held here.

There are healing baths. To have this experience contact the Church prior to visit to ensure availability.

Candle Sites are available in the Church as well as in an outside structure past the Grotto.

Stations of the Cross are present beyond the candle structure in the picture above and to the left of the main Church.

TORCHLIGHT PROCESSION

Every evening from April to October at 9 pm there is a torchlight procession of pilgrims saying the rosary in every language and singing Marian songs.

Because my visit occurred during a Marian Holy Day, December 8th, this weekend had a Torchlight Procession. It is an extremely moving prayer event not to be missed.

Other Concerns: Dress in layers with comfortable, thick soled shoes and bring an umbrella. For those with disabilities there are ramps, however, there is much walking for those pushing wheelchairs. Outside the grounds there are many reasonable restaurants. Gift shops are also located there.

To the left side of the main church at ground level candles can be purchased and masses obtained. There are also self service carts for candle purchase throughout the grounds.

Lourdes water from the spring is available free from faucets on the grounds. Bring containers or small bottles can be purchased next to the faucets or in local gift shops.

There are many places to stay near the church. Plan ahead and use a cab as driving the streets of Lourdes is a horrific experience. The streets are narrow, crooked, and sloping. People use the street rather than sidewalk to walk. Asto transportation from Paris, HOP Airline operated by Air France is a reasonable and efficient airline or the high speed train.

Access the Lourdes website for additional information.

https://www.lourdes-france.org/en/

My Lourdes Message

Several months ago when I decided to go to Paris thoughts of a side trip to Lourdes occurred. For years I had been giving folks the Lourdes water and seeing amazing things happen. It was time to pay my respects.

In checking web sites I found the trip long and expensive. Frustrated I said, “Mary, if you want me to visit, figure it out,” and went to bed. In the morning I woke and switched on my email. Priceline, which I never use as I am an Expedia gal, was my first email letting me know there was a $100 round trip flight from Orly to Lourdes. The next email was from Expedia stating I had enough points for a room at a villa in Lourdes. Taking this as a sign I booked.

Later I was told there was a high speed train available out of Paris to Lourdes. While I would have preferred the train I was already booked. As I boarded the plane to Lourdes I heard even the high speed trains were cancelled during the strike. I think I have found the ultimate travel agent.

When I relayed this story to my gal pal at the post office she said, “I guess she wanted you to come,” and that she did.

My New Travel Agent 1-800-BVM

Orly Airport to Lourdes

Left for the Orly Airport flight at 0530 which was 4 hours pre-flight in the hopes it would provide ample time to get to my destination. The first step on this journey was an Uber and he arrived 3 minutes post email. The driver spoke no English so it was a quiet ride through a glowing Paris with Christmas decorations and lights.

Arrived at the Le Bus Direct location at 0550. It was scary dark in an area with homeless sleeping about but a friendly man in a business suit approached and gave me instructions on the process. I smiled and thanked him grateful he departed after informing me of what to do.

The 0605 bus arrived and I was allowed on though booked for a 0645 passage. There were 4 passengers on the bus and one with a dog who gave much love.

The 30 minute trip went quickly on a sparsely commuted highway. Once in the airport I snagged a man with supervisor on his name tag and received all details needed to locate my airline.

Since I arrived early my next step was to investigate the airport. Perhaps there is a job with this work as I certainly fit the qualifications. Here are my findings..

There was some Christmas cheer..

Clean bathrooms with a bit of an odor, but nice touch with the female personal care items machine. This is a new find.

Pricey stores..

A classy restaurant….

And last, but not least, an interesting mobile….

Since Orly Airport passed inspection it was time to move on to TSA. Here I found the staff pleasant but unaware if Lourdes water could be brought back on the plane. This concerned me as I had brought an entire suitcase to fill with bottles of Lourdes water. Mary will find a way.

Once on the plane I met a man of 22 also going to Lourdes. He sat on one side and a man of 25 sat on the other going to an annual reunion of college friends where they drink heavily for 24 hours then return home. Odd combination of seat mates, however both charming.

Pao Airport

As we neared the airport the pilot informed us that Lourdes Airport was closed due to the strike and we would land 30 minutes away in Pao Airport. From Pao we would be bused to Lourdes Airport. Departure went quickly and the ride through the French countryside a delight with scenes of the Pyrenees.

The Pyrenees

Once reaching the Lourdes Airport a rental car seemed the best route as I was unsure of the reliability of cabs in the area.

Lourdes Airport

My 22 year old seatmate came for the ride and upon reaching Lourdes we made plans to meet which never came to fruition and I began the visit happily alone.

Next Blog: Why I am at Lourdes and for those of little faith you will probably will remain that way and never read my blog again…….