Most travellers seeking cheap flights to Lourdes are on pilgrimage - some praying for miracles, some cures and some just to soak up the atmosphere of this very special town in southwestern France.
Lourdes' origins date from 1858 with Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl. That year, she experienced apparitions of a white-robed lady in a small grotto called Massabiele by the banks of the Gave de Pau. The lady told Bernadette to tell the village priest to build a chapel on the spot. Later, she revealed herself to be Mary. On the day of the 16th apparition, Bernadette, in a trance, dug in the ground until she discovered a small spring. Over the next few days this spring became a pool and is now known as the Baths of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, where pilgrims seek spiritual refreshment.
Up to six million pilgrims and tourists make their way to this little town in the foothills of the Pyrenees each season (March-September). After Paris, Lourdes has the most hotels in France. No po-faced town, there is plenty of nightlife. Nighttime too is when thousands process with flickering candles. The sight is beautiful, stirring and spiritual.