Try one of these great things to do in Lourdes

To give you a helping hand in planning your visit to Lourdes, we have compiled a list of things to do in the town itself. We also have a separate article with a list of ideas for day trips from Lourdes. While most people associate the name Lourdes with the millions of pilgrims that visit each year, there are plenty of other things to keep everyone occupied. This things-to-do list will help you work out how long you want to stay or how to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day. After first visiting Lourdes in 2013 on holiday, we are lucky to now call this part of France home. Lourdes has become a place we visit on a weekly basis to shop and grab a coffee or croissant. We enjoy wandering around the town and finding out new things to see and do.

We have a separate page with lots of practical information about visiting Lourdes. Here you will find information about transport connections, accommodation, eating and drinking, the best time of year to visit, and more. We think Lourdes is a great place to base yourself for a holiday in the Pyrenees and somewhere that offers something for everyone.

Visit the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes

The Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes is one of the most important religious sites in the world and is visited by millions of pilgrims from around the world each year. On the site in 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared to a local girl, Bernadette Soubirous on 18 occasions near a small cave or grotto. The water that flows from the grotto is said to have healing powers and there are 70 recognized miracles over the years. There are 22 places of worship on the site, the first of which started construction in 1866 and was consecrated in 1876.

Regardless of your religious beliefs and motivations we highly recommend a visit to the site. Walking around the grounds and churches is well worthwhile and there is plenty to see. We spent a little over an hour exploring the different levels of the Basilica and surrounding grounds.

The Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes is open all year from 7 am to 10 pm and entry is free. There are masses and other celebrations on a daily basis and you will find more information on the Lourdes Sanctuaire website.

The grotto at the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes
The grotto at the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes is visited by millions of pilgrims each year.

Take the funicular to the Pic du Jer

Pic du Jer sits above Lourdes at a height of 951m from which you have a fantastic view over Lourdes and the surrounding Pyrenees. You can get to the top via the funicular railway which climbs 438m over 1.1km at gradients up to 56%. The railway was opened in 1899 and continues to run to this day. Once a the top you can take a walk, explore the highest visitor cave in France, enjoy some food at the restaurant or simply enjoy the breathtaking views.

The Pic du Jer funicular operates from early April to early November each year and runs 7 days a week. Opening hours are 10 am to 6 pm in April, May, and June, 9:30 am to 7 pm in July and August, and 9:30 am to 6:30 pm in September and October. Return ticket prices are €12.50 for adults, €10 for people aged 6-17 and students, and free for those under 6 years. The Pic du Jer website has much more information about visiting.

Explore the Chateau Fort de Lourdes

The Chateau Fort de Lourdes is a prominent feature of the landscape in Lourdes and sits atop a rocky outcrop in the center of town. Use of the site dates back 1 000 years to Roman times and it has been used as a fort, residence, prison, and since 1921 a museum. It is listed as one of France’s historic monuments.

The Chateau Fort de Lourdes is open 7 days a week from mid-April to mid-October and 6 days a week at other times. (closed Monday) Operating hours are 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm, except July and August when it is open from 10 am to 7 pm with no closure at lunchtime. Tickets are €7.50 for adults, €3.50 for people aged 6-17 and students, and free for those under 6 years. View the Chateau Fort de Lourdes website for more information.

Enjoy the outdoors at Lac du Lourdes

Lac du Lourdes is located 3km from the center of town on the way to Pau. It is a glacial lake and there is a 6km walking and cycling trail to explore. On the water, you can enjoy a range of activities including fishing, canoeing, and swimming. There is a restaurant by the water’s edge if you want to enjoy lunch or bring your own and utilize one of the picnic spots available.

Take a walk or cycle on the Voie Verte de Gaves

The voie verte de Gaves is an 18 km path for cycling and walking that runs from Lourdes along the Lavedan Valley to the town of Soulom. It was once a rail line taking tourists to Luz Saint Sauveur and the ski resort of Cauterets and passes through a number of villages and towns along its length. It is suitable for anyone who enjoys riding a bike and is completely separated from the road making it perfect for a family ride. You can find more information about the ride on our voie vert de Gave ride guide.

There are two bike shops in Lourdes where you can hire bikes if you don’t have your own. Both hire a range of bikes including electric bikes. Bike & Py is located in the center of town while Cycle Arbes is located across the road from the E.Leclerc supermarket just outside the town center.

Sample the local produce at Les Halles

Les Halles in the center of Lourdes is the local produce market. Here you will find fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, and bread from around the region. Outside the market, there is usually a range of other stallholders selling everything from jewelry to mattresses. If you love markets it’s definitely worth having a wander around.

Les Halles in Lourdes is open 7 days a week from 6 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday, 5:30 am to 2 pm Saturday and 6:30 am to 2 pm on Sunday. Saturday is the best day to visit as you will have the greatest range of stallholders open. We highly recommend the croissants from the boulangerie inside Les Halles. They are some of the best we have tasted in France.

Walk through the forest at Bois de Lourdes

The Bois de Lourdes is a 400 hectare forest on the western outskirts of Lourdes. It is a popular place for locals to head out for a walk through the forest and sits next to the Gave de Pau. There are picnic facilities and children’s playgrounds for you to enjoy. If you are looking for somewhere close to Lourdes to have a picnic, run around with the kids or walk through the forest then we recommend Bois de Lourdes.

A winding road through a forest in the Bois de Lourdes
The Bois de Lourdes sits on the outskirts of Lourdes and is a great place to walk, have a picnic or simply relax

Cycle the legendary cols of the Tour de France

If you are a keen road cyclist, Lourdes is a great place to base yourself for a cycling holiday. We loved the area so much that we moved here in 2021 after visiting on holiday numerous times. From Lourdes, you can access iconic climbs including Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin, Col d’Aubisque, Hautacam, and Luz Ardiden. The Tour de France is a regular visitor to Lourdes and in 2022 stage 18 started in Lourdes, finishing on the nearby climb of the Hautacam. We have a list of 40 cycling routes in the Pyrenees to give you an idea of what is available. You will be spoiled for choice we promise.

More information about visiting France

If you are planning your first trip to France we have a wealth of information to help you. Head over to our Visiting France page for all the practical advice you need to get ready for your trip.