France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Massabielle Grotto, Lourdes, France
This is where it all began—Bernadette's visions—and is still a focal point of Lourdes today.

  Water fountain, Lourdes, France
Above, Fountain with water
from the spring, Lourdes.




In 1858 a poor young girl named Bernadette Soubirous was out gathering firewood when she saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in a cave (Grotte) called Massabielle. Over the next few weeks there were seventeen more apparitions, causing great consternation in the town. After revealing herself as the Immaculate Conception, the Lady requested that a Chapel be built at the grotto for the faithful to visit.

Today, the grotto itself is actually under the churches—Basilica of the Rosary and Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. A statue of the Virgin Mary in a niche at the front of the cave indicates where Bernadette saw her.

Visitors can file through the shallow cave in a line, touching the cave walls and seeing the famous spring. Those in wheelchairs and seeking healing will be given priority, so you may wait in the line a few minutes before entering. It's simply a walk-through and photos are allowed.

A rosary is offered at the grotto in the afternoon and transmitted on radio, TV, and the internet.

In the visions, Bernadette was told to drink at the spring and wash in the water. Although no spring was visible, Bernadette dug in the soil and revealed it, and the spring continues today to provide water for the nearby baths and fountains—thousands of gallons per day. In the cave, you can see the actual spring and the site where it was discovered.

The water is piped to the nearby baths and fountains. Visitors can bathe in the baths, and the fountains allow you to drink, wash, and fill plastic bottles of Lourdes water to take home.

What to See and Do in Lourdes

About Lourdes

Lourdes Hotels

Lourdes Basiicas

Basilica of St Pius X

Lourdes Processions

Tourist Information in Lourdes

Shopping in Lourdes


Lourdes Museums

About the Pyrénées Region



Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Basilicas and Grotto, Lourdes, France

Above, The Grotto, with the Basilicas built above it.

Below, The spring that Bernadette discovered.


Spring, Lourdes, France

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