How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

The nearest airport is Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées International Airport is located just 6 miles from Lourdes city center. If you have not booked a private transfer through us then you have a few options including bus, taxi, or car.

The buses which call on Lourdes Airport are local buses of the `Malignedes Gaves` company. Bus number 2 operated by Maligne runs regularly between Tarbes-Lourdes airport to the two main cities of this airport, Tarbes and Lourdes, as well as many surrounding towns. The cost is about €2 per person for a one-way ticket regardless of your final destination; children (4 - 12 years of age) a ticket is half the price, and children younger than 4 will travel for free. Bus tickets can be purchased from the bus driver.

Lourdes taxis are available to transport arriving passengers, and even though they are more expensive, are often considered over the bus services. Taxis are a quicker way to reach the city center and a more private form of transport. Fare is approximately €30 during the day and €40 at night or on the weekends. A taxi can be reserved from one of the official companies authorized to provide transportation services from the airport. It is recommended to always use one of the official Lourdes taxis, in order to receive the best customer service and to avoid being overcharged. Their vehicles will also be in good condition, and the drivers should provide honest services. Lourdes taxis will record the distance traveled on a meter, and the cost of the journey will be calculated accordingly. Metered taxis can be cheaper than those which have set fares, but it is important to ensure that the meter is in working condition, and that the driver does not take an unnecessarily long route. There could be small costs added for luggage loaded or for more than four adult passengers. Also, keep in mind that the cost could be higher on Sundays and public holidays, and after 5 pm.

Within the terminal building of the airport, the car rental companies are found across from the arrival area, and include Avis, Hertz, National, Europcar, Alamo, Auto Europa and Easycar. By car the airport is about a ten-minute drive from Lourdes. Take the direct access from the A64 motorway (exit #12 Tarbes-Ouest) then main road RN 21.

Other airports that can be used to access Lourdes are: Pau airport (approximately 40 minutes’ drive, potential for train connection), Toulouse-Blagnac airport (2 hours by train), Biarritz airport (accessible from Lourdes by train).

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

TGV Paris-Tarbes-Lourdes (high-speed train): 4 return trips every day, Paris-Hendaye sleeper train, every night.

Direct rail links: Bordeaux / Toulouse / Montpellier/ Marseille / Nice / Lyon / Geneva / Hendaye / Irun TGV Atlantique 5h 30

Lourdes train station is just a few hundred yards from the town center, an easy walk with clear signs to the Domain area (look for the signs indicating `La Grotte` and `Massabielle`).

How do I call/hail a taxi?

A taxi should not be needed to get around the city center because of the smaller size, it is very walker-friendly. If a taxi is needed to go a further distance taxi can be hailed or arranged ahead of time.

Lourdes taxis will record the distance traveled on a meter, and the cost of the journey will be calculated accordingly. Metered taxis can be cheaper than those which have set fares, but it is important to ensure that the meter is in working condition, and that the driver does not take an unnecessarily long route. It is best to find out the average cost of your journey before approaching the taxi driver and to discuss all possible additional costs involved before leaving. Keep in mind that the cost may be higher on Sundays and public holidays, and during the hours between 5:00 pm and 7:00 am on weekdays and Saturdays.

Is Lourdes a walking city?

Lourdes is a pedestrian friendly city with several pedestrian only streets, it is very easy to get around the town center on foot. It really is worth walking and exploring the sites of the city. The town is also used to disabled visitors.

How do I get around Lourdes using public transportation?

Lourdes is a smaller-sized city, so it`s walker-friendly, and there is no need for public transportation while exploring the sites of the city. If you choose to tour the city by bus, there is the Little Train Lourdes or Petit Train Touristique, but you may miss some of the sites and landmarks since the train takes one particular standard route. A bus tour of this city in just under 5 miles and takes about 45 minutes.

You can also get around the city center by the MonCitybus network that services the downtown area and the major tourist attractions.

The small bus station has services northwards to Pau and is a stop for buses running between Tarbes and Argeles-Gazost (about 8 daily), the gateway to the Pyrenean communities of Cauterets, Luz-St-Sauveur and Gavarnie.

I will have a car in Lourdes, where can I park?

Lourdes has a lot of one-way street systems around town, because many streets are pedestrian only, it can be confusing and time-consuming getting around town by car. There are many places to park on the outskirts of the city (especially off the rue de Pau) and walking to the grotto is easy so, if possible, park and walk is the easiest way to get around.

The network of roads connects Lourdes to the highway A64 as well as other large cities like Toulouse, Tarbes, and Pau. Route Nationale N21 that crosses the entire region also goes through Lourdes.

Free parking: Free parking is available on boulevard de la grotte, near the Boulevard du Lapacca. This is a short walk that will bring you directly to the entrance of the sanctuaries` domain. In the city, you can also park at Place Capdevielle. Please note that the parking lot can sometimes not be accessed because of special events.

Paid parking lots: The main and sheltered parking lot of Lourdes is located at Place Peyramale, under the Tourist Information Center. It is located nearby the castle and the parish church.

All around the Sanctuaries, you will also be able to park on the Avenue Peyramale or Avenue Paradis, or on the Boulevard Rémi Sempé. Please note that these are paid parking areas on Sundays as well as on public holiday.

How do I get around by bike?

Getting around by bike is a great way to explore Lourdes and its surroundings. You will be able to find a few bike rental shops in and around the city.

The Voie Verte des Gaves is a beautiful route that offers fantastic cycling from Lourdes to Cauterets (about 16 miles). It is an old railway line that has been fully paved allowing a safe cycleway as it follows an itinerary on a mountainside near a large Pyrenean river: the Gave de Pau. The route offers exceptional views as you ride through 11 Pyrenean villages that stretch across this journey.

Is Lourdes a dangerous city?

Although this isn`t a big city, sadly there can still be pickpockets around since there`s crowds of tourists in condensed places. The Sanctuary area is patrolled by security guards, however, as in any situation where large crowds are gathered, care should be taken with personal belongings and valuables. There is a `Lost and Found` office within the same area. Although people begging for alms pose no threat to safety, the authorities discourage the giving of cash since help is available for such people.

Always when traveling, there are certain precautions that you should follow in order to ensure a smooth visit. We recommend you avoid wearing expensive jewelry or looking flashy, do not carry large amounts of money, avoid walking alone at night, and remain in lighted areas at night. Try to keep a good distance between people when you are walking on the streets so that no one can bump into you and grab your things. Don`t keep your camera slung around your neck, as this is a hint that you are a tourist.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Lourdes is the Euro, US dollars are accepted in some of the shops and hotels, although $100 bills should be avoided. The cheapest way of obtaining euros is to use the ATM machine, preferably one attached to a bank.

We recommend that you exchange a small amount of cash prior to your trip, enough for a cab ride or basic spending on arrival. It is also useful to remind your bank and credit card company that you will be traveling to make sure your cards will work while in France. We recommend you record all your credit card numbers, as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen.

Under the euro system, there are seven notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. Notes are the same for all countries. There are eight coins: 1 and 2 euros, plus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.

In Lourdes, like elsewhere in France, a service charge is always included in the bill. If you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly leave a few extra euros on the table. But this additional tip is neither expected nor necessary.

For more information about tipping visit: Tipping in France

What is the weather like?

The city experiences warm summers and cool winters. The average temperature in the summer ranges from 65F to 70F from June and continues until September. You will enjoy lots of sunny days as the rainfall is at its lowest point during the summer months. In the winter months, temperatures get as low as 40F, the coldest months are from December to February. May is the rainiest month. April through October are the peak months to visit and enjoy the beautiful mild weather.

What is the best time to visit?

The city is mostly visited from Easter to October. August is the time when most pilgrims flock here, especially during Assumption (August 15th). Additionally, at the beginning of the month of February (usually the 11th), the city celebrates the anniversary of the first appearances. Also, if you go to Lourdes for a pilgrimage, we recommend this time of the year during which you will undoubtedly appreciate the many celebrations in honor of the Virgin Mary and Saint Bernadette. You can also attend the Torchlight Marian Processions in the old city that takes place every evening from April to October at nightfall. Additionally, all Catholic celebrations throughout the year are generally celebrated in this city heavily touched by Catholicism.

If you have decided to go to Lourdes for the touristic reasons and wish to avoid the religious gatherings as well as the celebrations of the appearances, we recommend avoiding the main religious holidays as well as the season that stretches from April to October. Those who love hiking will be able to enjoy the beautiful weather during the summer and avoid the crowds by exploring the heights that surround the city, far from all religious and pilgrimage sites. In October after the end of the busy season, we recommend the Quinzaine Littéraire et Artistique that offers numerous cultural events as well as practical and fun workshops related to French culture. During winter, you can also enjoy the mountain ranges located in the city`s surrounding area that offer an unforgettable ski trip on the most beautiful mountains in the Pyrenees.

What are the special/religious events that take place in Lourdes?

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11)

Lourdes Festival of Music (March 31 to April 6)

Order of Malta Pilgrimage (May 4-7)

Diaconia French Pilgrimage (May 8-11)

International Military Pilgrimage (May 24-26)

Assumption of Mary (August 15)

Rosary Pilgrimage (October 1-5)

What should I wear in the Sanctuary?

Dress respectfully while inside the sanctuary area and wear comfortable shoes. Shawls are provided for ladies with uncovered shoulders who wish to walk through the cave.

What do I need to know before visiting the Baths?

When you enter the building you will be invited by the helpers into a curtained changing room to get undressed, where you will also be given any assistance necessary. Then you will be clothed in either a loin-cloth (males) or robe (females). You will then be invited to the top of the bath step for some short prayers. They usually suggest a standard set of prayers but are perfectly happy for you to say prayers of your own choosing - or for you simply to pray in silence. You will then be helped into the bath and lowered into the water which is extremely cold, so as to cover all of you except your head and shoulders. Alternatively, you may ask for some water to be poured over your head from a separate jug. The helpers will then lead you in more prayers to Our Lady and St Bernadette; and should you wish, kiss the statue of Our Lady. You will then be helped to get dressed again, but don`t expect a towel - you will find yourself dry sooner than you think. For obvious reasons, the fewer clothes you wear the easier the process will be all around.

Priority is given to pilgrims requiring assistance and those holding `Carte de Malade`. There is also a separate entrance for children, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Hours of operation: Weekdays 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Sundays 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. However, depending on how many people are still in line, the entrance to the waiting area may close sooner.

What is the protocol in the Sanctuaries?

Once inside the Sanctuaries, sick pilgrims and their helpers should be respected by giving way to groups being transferred between the Grotto, Processions, Baths, etc. and their respective accommodations. Silence should be observed at the Grotto. Smoking and use of cellular phones is not allowed within the entire Sanctuary area.

I don`t speak French. Will many people speak English?

French is the official language spoken in Lourdes however; you will find the staff at most tourism-related venues (hotels, restaurants, shops, cafes) speak some English. Once you go out of town to the countryside and the mountains there is less English spoken. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is the food like?

Being a very popular destination, Lourdes has more than 200 restaurants offering all kinds of cuisine. However try the garbure, a local delight. It is a vegetable soup with confit duck. If you want to avoid crowds, head to a back-street tavern for tender Pyrenean lamb with Tarbais haricots (bean).

What are the best areas for shopping?

Lourdes is not a major shopping destination. However, those who are of Christian faith will be delighted by the choice of religious memorabilia and souvenirs. Statuettes of saints, rosaries and candles are everywhere. You`ll find hundreds of shops selling virgin emblazon paraphernalia starting at the famed Grotto.

Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is currently 20% in France for standard goods. A reduced rate of 10% applies to restaurants, transport, and certain medical drugs. And a 5.5% tax applies to food, water and non-alcoholic beverages, books, some entertainment events and some domestic personal services. If you are not an EU resident, you may be able to reclaim VAT if you jump through enough hoops.

Do I have to be religious to appreciate a place like this?

Lourdes might resonate more with you if you`re religious, but it's still a lovely place to go just to see the beautiful buildings, the castle, the Pyrenees, and the general quaintness of the City of Miracles.

What is the Lourdes Holy Water?

There are lots of miracles associated with Lourdes and the water that flows from the spring where Mary appeared. People bathe in the spring`s holy water or take the holy water from Lourdes in containers all over the world. You can buy water bottles of all sizes in the stores surrounding the shrine. Technically the Lourdes holy water isn`t Holy Water because it hasn`t been blessed by a priest. Pilgrims either anoint themselves with the water or drink it.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

Emergency dial 112

Hospital Center De Lourdes, 2 Avenue Alexandre Marqui, 65100 Lourdes, France. Tel. +33 5 62 42 42 42