A short guide to the shrine, compiled by Richard France.
Welcome to this tour of Lourdes. Some of you using this guide may be actually visiting the shrine, others may be at home reading about it, or simply touring. So some of the information – directions to places, for example - will only be of interest to some of you, but the history, the stories and the photographs should be of interest to you all.
Lourdes is, today, an internationally famous shrine and thousands of pilgrims come, every year, to this small French town nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees, on the border between France and Spain. Many of those pilgrims travel here hoping for a cure for the illness they suffer from, whether it is physical or mental, or another disabling sickness. They are collectively known as 'The Sick', and as the most important people in Lourdes. And then there are those who come for a private reason of their own. As well as these there are others, such as the doctors and nurses who come here to work in the hospital, and those who give up their time to look after the sick pilgrims, both adults and children, staying in the hotels. There are many hotels in Lourdes, but these fill up quickly, so it is always best to book up really early! In additon to the hotels there is also Hosanna House, which is run by the charitable organisation HCPT.
But how many years have they been coming here, seeking a cure? Why does Lourdes attract so many people? How did it all begin? When did the original village of Lourdes become a shrine? These are just some of the questions people are likely to have, and during this tour the answers to them will, hopefully, become clear. Enjoy the tour!