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Experience the religious history of French culture in the city of Lourdes

August 31, 2010 - 2:23am
The city is full of religious artworks and important structures
A popular destination for senior travel, the country of France has long astounded visitors with its compelling beauty, its rich history and lively local culture. Travelers on Europe tours should take some time in France to explore the ancient and storied city of Lourdes, one of the most sacred sites in the entire country.

Technically a commune, Lourdes is a small market town located in the Mid-Pyrenees region of France that has become famous throughout the years thanks to the frequently witnessed images of the Virgin Mary that began appearing in the mid 19th century.

The vision first appeared to a woman named Maria Bernada Sobiros, known more popularly as Saint Bernadette. Sobiros spied the ghostly apparition of the Madonna in the hillside, a feat which, though initially questioned by biblical scholars, was later accepted as canonical in the catholic church.

This image has made the Sanctuary of Lourdes one of the more popular tourist attractions in the region, drawing an estimated 200 million travelers since the 1860, according to sacredsites.com.

Religious sites are not all that Lourdes has to offer, however, as numerous shops are located throughout the town and a handful of restaurants that have gained quite a positive reputation with online travel boards like the Restaurant Alexandria or the Brasserie de la Grotte.