Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Amazing Lourdes: Beautiful Rustic Pilgrim City (Immaculate Lourdes Series 19)

Amazing Lourdes
 Beautiful, Rustic Pilgrim City
Immaculate Lourdes Series 19 

We have been to France several times but our visits
 had been limited to Paris, and this is our first time 
to venture out of the popular French capital city.

This is also the beginning of my family’s
European spring vacation which would
begin as pilgrimage in Lourdes, France,

…we would then move to Lyon, France,

…followed by Milan, Italy,

…with Venice, Italy as our final stop

Day 1

We arrived at late in the afternoon at the Hotel Majestic 

 …after a long haul trip from Naga City
with an overnight stay in Manila,

… a stop over in  in Singapore,


…another stop over in CDG Airport in Paris,

…a frenzy limousine ride to Paris’ Orly Airport


…and we finally arrived post noon at the
Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport 

We took a taxi to Hotel Majestic

…located right within the Lourdes city center.
Hotel Majestic is a small 3 star hotel
set in a centuries old building,

…designed with a contemporary old colonial flair .

The people at front desk we’re cordial and friendly,

..and we were immediately in our room at the fourth floor
that was accessible wither by a small elevated any by a
centuries old, well preserved winding wooden stairway.

Ours was a Quad Room at the 4th floor and was spacious 
enough to accommodate four persons.with  two large queen 
beds,  very basic accommodation, clean and comfortable .

This would be our home for the next four days of our three- week 
European vacation. While may wife and daughter were unpacking,
my son and I looked for a grocery to buy suppleis we may need.

At the grocery, we stumbled on two native
French pastries and took them to our hotel.

We snacked on them, rested
for a while, got dressed-

…and searched for a restaurant
where we could have dinner.


We explored the nearby Rue de Grotte, the road
that leads to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes,


…and stumbled upon AFC(AMMA Fried Chicken).

We initially misread the signage as KFC as
it had the same font, and it was only when
we got closer when we realized it was AFC.

The food was good and very affordable.

AFC (AMMA FriedChicken) is a cross between
McDonalds and KFC but the food they served is
way more delicious than the two fast- food giants.

We window shopped at the 
Rue de Grotte for few hours,

…and returned back to Hotel Majestic to rest.

Day 2

We woke up early and had a breakfast at the hotel 
which was served in a lovely café l lobby. that had  
a decent spread of continental breakfast  buffet.

Shortly later, we were on our way to the Sanctuary of the Lady of Lourdes,
taking pictures and admiring  the old well preserved buildings along the way,  
 We were impressed by the ancient Cinema Majestic that shows classic 
 religious movies, using traditional film rolls played in analogue projectors.

We walked to the Rue de Grotte in the main road
that leadsto the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes,

It is a very busy avenue, teeming with pilgrims
as it is  the way in and way our of the domain.

This lively road is lined with restaurants budget hotels set
in centuries old buildings and countless of souvenir shops.

we also spotted house where St. Bernadette lived
called La Maison de Bernadette it is one of the
most important pilgrimage sites in Lourdes, France.

The sound of a river near the entrance of the Sanctuary caught 
our attention. It was clean and pristine and we later learned it 
was Osse, a tributary of Gave de Pau, a river  named after the 
city of Pau, through which it flows from  the Pyrenees Mountain.


The bridge at the Gave de Pau-

... led is to the Abri Saint Michel the main gateway to the 
sanctuary. We took our photos at the  Calvaire des Britons,
a marble sculpture of Christ’s crucifixion of at the calvary,


…and leisure walked at the L’ Esplanade-


a tree lined pedestrianized road, flanked  
 with lovely well manicured gardens, parks.


We again paused and took photos at the Rosary Square,
near the Satatue de la Vierge Couronnee de Lourdes

…and attended a holy mass at the
Basilique de Notre Dame du Rosarie.



From the Rosary Basilica, we
turned right to the Massabielle-

… the exact site where St. Bernadette Soubirous witnessed
the apparitions on what is now called the miracle of Lourdes.


We queued to pay respect at the grotto where the image 
of Virgin Mary is found.   Lourdes water flows from a spring 
discovered by Bernadette at the base of the grotto, now
protected by a glass screen and dramatically lit from below.


After praying at the image,

We collected Lourdes Water from individual taps
located between the Massabielle and the baths.
The water comes from the spring at the base of
the grotto and reputed to have healing power.

We crossed the bridge across the Osse river- 


…to light a candle  Chapel of Candles.


After lighting candles, we explored the river bank,
and admired how clean the Ousse river was.

My daughter got tempted to descend on its grassy slope, 
gently inclining into the clean sandy bank-  and  took 
a draft of the cool water in a cup of her hands and
 commented; “it’s so cold and so clean you can drink it.”

The water so clear that we could see the smoothness
of the rocks underneath and we have never seen a river
this pristine in any urban centers in the Philippines.


We then explored tu Sanctuary at the other side of
the river,and visited the Église de Sainte Bernadette.
It was built opposite the Grotto, this is the spot where
Bernadette stood during the 18th and final apparition.

This offers a breathtaking view of the Massabielle and the
beautiful Upper Basilica and perfect for picture taking.

We passed by the Accueil Notre Dame. reserved for
the accommodation of the sick and disabled pilgrims,

…caught the sight of the Carmelite Monastery,

…and  the Hospitalité Notre-Dame de Lourdes.
the headquarter of catholic volunteers that serve the
sanctuary especially during the peak pilgrimage season.

It was already past noon when we

The restaurant offered a massive spread on the salad buffet,

…and it was just for starters.

What followed was some of the most
delicious dishes served on our table.

We loved everything especially the Truta Meuniere.
The fish was oven baked to golden perfection, it was
oozing with the delightful aroma of herbs and  spices.

My daughter did not to eat due to a
jetlag that she just slept on the couch.

After lunch we bought a two day pass at

It is a trackless train, similar to the one being
used in LA’s Universal Studios Backlot Tour-

…that goes around the pilgrim city of Lourdes.

We stopped at the Pic du Jer a 3,120 ft summit
in the Hautes-Pyrénées. in the city of Lourdes.

It is accessible by Funiculaire du Pic du Jer
an ancient funicular train built in 1900.

The funicular transports passengers to the peak,

…where guests can hike to the summit
that offers views of the city of Lourdes,

…the Pyrénées Mountains, 

…and the surrounding suburbs .

Aside from being hiking and climbing
stead the Pic du Jer is also a favorite
destination for extreme mountain bikers.

We again took the Petit Train Touristique de Lourdes and
got down at the Musee de Pyreneen hilltop castle museum.

We were informed at the ticket booth
that it was closing in less than an hour
so we decided not to get in anymore.

We returned to Hotel Majestic on foot to rest and
snacked on the native pastries we bought a day before.

After resting for several hours, we
returned to the Lourdes Sanctuary for

We purchased candles at a souvenir
shop along the busy Rue de Grotte,
and we were on our way to the domain.

We positioned ourselves at the
assembly area in front of the Grotto,

…and the Marian Procession began at  9.00pm.
led by sick pilgrims, some of them in wheelchairs,

…followed by devotees carrying
the image of the Lady of Lourdes,

…and a multitude of pilgrims from all over the world.


The procession was a sight to behold as it snaked around
the Esplanade, ending in the Rosary Square wile we
walked  singing Ave Maria with our lit candle held up,

It was a spiritually inspiring evening of sanctimonious
songs and prayers where Bernadette was instructed by
Virgin Mary more than 100 years ago to “Go to the priests
and tell them that people  should come here in procession.” 

The evening procession has been done
here everyday for over a hundred years.
We here happy we became a part of it.

It was almost midnight when we left the Lourdes’ Sanctuary
after we attended the evening procession and mass and most
of the restaurants at the Rue de Grotte were already closed.

We spotted L’ Europeen at the far end of the road
to be the only restaurant at the strip with the lights
on and luckily it was still open so we dining there.

L’ Europeen offers European- Indian fusion cuisine
and we were glad that they offered rice in their menu.


We were happy with L’ Europeen as the food was 
delicious, the servings  were huge, the service was good- 

…and it was budget friendly restaurant.

We returned to the hotel
and had a very restful sleep.

Day 3

We all woke up late and had a late breakfast at the hotel,
 spent some time souvenir shopping at the Rue de Grotte,

…and we were on our way to the Domain
where we intend to have a dip at the Baths. 


Also called Piscines approximately more 350,000
pilgrims bathe in the healing water of Lourdes.


The bath was icy cold but it felt good.


After our dip at the Piscines we ascended
the stairs flanking The Rosary Basilica,



…to visit the Crypt,


…and the Upper Basilica which are built on
top of Massabielle, are far above ground level.

We had our photos taken at the wide
space right in front of the Crypt, 


…and marveled at view of the Rosary Square,
 and the verdant, tree- lined L’ Esplanade.


We returned to the Rosary Basilica to have the
religious souvenirs we bought blessed by a priest.


We again had lunch a the L’ Ermitage Restaurant,

…and just like the first time we again had an
awesome dining experience at the restaurant.

After lunch we took Petit Train Touristique
de Lourdes as the two day pass came with free

Our first stop was Le Petit Lourdes.

This is ancient park, where the village
of Lourdes was recreated in miniature,

…at the time of Virgin Mary’s apparitions.

The guests would be able to walk thru
the old Lourdes the way it was in 1858.

We took the train once more
and stopped at Musee de Cire.

Musee de Cire is one of Lourdes top tourist attractions
with over 100 life-sized wax figures, done by the
artists from the prestigious Grévin Museum in Paris,

…dedicated to the life and death of St. Bernadette,

…recreation of scenes from the New Testament-

…and important milestones in Christianity.

Our last stop was the Musee de Pyreneen 
and just like the other day, they were closing
in less than an hour so we weren’t able to get in.

We decided to walk back to our hotel to rest and to
pack up as we would be leaving for Lyon the next day

While packing we realized that we are running out
of Euros so off I went to the the Rue de Grotte to
look for a bank where I could change my dollars.


That’s when I stumbled upon La Maison de Bernadette, 
which we actually  intended to visit but total forgot about it.

I bought a ticket and had the chance
to see St. Bernadette’s humble abode.

After getting some Euros from a foreign currency exchange
booth, I returned to the hotel and took my family for dinnerat

…was located just in front of Hotel Majestic
and  we didn’t want to go far so we dined there.

It was our penultimate day in Lourdes, and it was 
a perfect culinary conclusion of our four day visit.

Day 4

It was our last day in Lourdes and we
had an early breakfast at the hotel buffet.


It was raining hard, we took a taxi
to the Lourdes Central Train Station,


…for our 6- hour train ride to Lyon

…our next stop for my family’s
yearly European spring vacation.

Links for the Immaculate Lourdes Series:

Hotel Majestic 
Tranquil Abode in Lourdes
Immaculate Lourdes Series 1 

AFC (AMMA Fried Chicken) 
Better Than Finger Licking Good. 
ImmaculateLourdes Series 2 

Rue de Grotte 
The Road to Holiness
Immaculate Lourdes Series 3 

Cinema Majestic 
Ancient Religious Theater
Immaculate Lourdes Series 4 

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes 
The Sacred Domain
Immaculate Lourdes Series 5 

Gave de Pau 
A River Runs Thru It
Immaculate Lourdes Series 6 

L’ Ermitage Restaurant 
Delicious Food, Friendly Service 
Immaculate Lourdes Series 7 

Petit Train Touristique de Lourdes 
The Best of Lourdes by Mini- Train 
Immaculate Lourdes Series 8 

Funiculaire du Pic du Jer 
Scenic Ancient Funicular Train
Immaculate Lourdes Series 9 

Pic du Jer 
The Best View of the Pyrenees 
Immaculate Lourdes Series 10 

Lourdes Evening Procession 
River of Lights at the Shrine 
Immaculate Lourdes Series 11 

L’ Europeen 
Delicious Indian Cuisine
Immaculate Lourdes Series 12 

Traditional Lourdes Pastries 
Unique French Provincial Snacks
Immaculate Lourdes Series 13 

Le Petit Lourdes 
Ancient Lourdes in Microcosm
Immaculate Lourdes Series 14 

Musee de Cire 
Awesome Religious Wax Museum 
Immaculate Lourdes Series 15 

La Maison de Bernadette 
A Saint’s Humble Home
Immaculate LourdesSeries 16 

Musee de Pyreneen 
Breathraking Hilltop Castle Museum 
Immaculate Lourdes Series 17 

Au Rendez vous des Ch’timis et des Bretons 
Good Food, Homey Restaurant
Immaculate Lourdes Series 18 

Amazing Lourdes 
Beautiful Rustic Pligrim City
Immaculate Lourdes Series 19

No comments:

Post a Comment