Sanctuary of Lourdes
The sanctuary of Lourdes is the second Catholic destination, right behind Rome and no doubt, one of the most visited places in France. Located in the small town of Lourdes (15,200 inhabitants approximately), in the region of the Hautées Pyrénées (high Pyrenees), inside a green fresh valley. The beautiful scenery, nature, peacefulness, relaxation and most of all the faith and devotion towards the Virgin of Lourdes are the characteristics that come with the way of life in this area.
Nowadays, the Sanctuary of Lourdes is a cosmopolitan place, a universal sanctuary which strength comes from the diversity of its people. It is considered the first pilgrimage Marian destination in the world. Pilgrims and visitors that come to Lourdes come from all continents. Each year, more than 6 million people arrive to this place. Many of these visitors are youngsters, but most of all, the sick. They arrive looking for relief and hope.
Three are the symbols that characterize this sanctuary: the Water: sign of purification, the Rock: place of the apparition and the Light that represents the faith and hope.