NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION Lourdes is in southwest France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees
WEATHER Spring is mild and sunny. May–Oct highs average 68–77°F (20–25°C) with most rain in autumn. Winter can be very cold
DISTANCE St-Jean-Pied- de-Port to Lourdes is a walk of 95 miles (150 km)
In 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared to a young peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, above the town of Lourdes. The place of this visitation is now among the great pilgrimage sites of the world, and the nightly candlelit procession to the Basilica of the Rosary is one of the most moving events in Christendom. Though most pilgrims wouldn’t dream of walking here, one of the principal branches of the Camino de Santiago goes straight through the town. In fact, the route from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Lourdes, passing beneath the dramatic heights of the Pyrenees, is perhaps the loveliest stretch of the Camino.
Getting There and Around St-Jean-Pied-de-Port is a delightful hour by train from Bayonne, which has an international airport. There are charter flights to Lourdes–Tarbes–Pyrénées airport from Apr to Nov.
When to Go The most important Marian Feast Days in Lourdes are Feb 11, May 31 and Oct 7. Late spring and early fall are best for the walk.