Overview of stepped farmland and Pinnacle of Pic du Jer.

©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet


The sprawling town of Lourdes, 43km southeast of Pau, has been one of the world’s most important pilgrimage sites since 1858, when 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous (1844–79) is claimed to have been visited 18 times in a rocky grotto by the Virgin Mary.

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