Lourdes: Living Off of Tourism

I keep things real on this lil’ blog of mine, and when I don’t like a place (which rarely happens) I let you know. Lourdes, unfortunately, was my type of travel nightmare; like a Disneyland for Catholics. Instead of hawking Mickey and Minnie Mouse products, you had crosses, Bibles, and Jesus figurines of all colors, shapes and sizes.

But, I had an important reason to go here, and that made the trip completely worth it. I was asked to go here for a couple of very special people in my life who are battling cancer.

You see, Lourdes is not your average town of 15,000. Millions of Roman Catholics and Christians make the pilgrimage here each year because it is said to be the place where The Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette, a young French girl from Lourdes, in 18 different apparitions. In one of these apparitions, she is reported to have led Bernadette to a buried spring, whose water is believed by the faithful to have healing properties. There have been many people who have been miraculously cured after consuming the water from this spring in Lourdes (there’s even a medical bureau based in Lourdes which investigates these cases.)

Anyway, while the town itself is claustrophobic and disgustingly commercialized, the area where the apparitions took place is beautiful. The Sanctuary of the Lady of Lourdes, pictured below, looks straight out of a fairytale:















Have you ever been to a place that lives off of tourism?

Author: Christine

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  1. Such beautiful photos Christine, as always :) I’ve found a few places to be like that – I absolutely hated Salzburg, for example, because I found that every square inch of it had been taken over by Mozart or the Sound of Music, to the detriment of an otherwise quite beautiful town. Still, your photos have made me intrigued!
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  2. I agree that places polluted with tourists and the economy they bring make a special place seem almost fake. the charm or wonder lost. Places become touristy for good reasons though, right? And for those reasons, I don’t think we should stop visiting them. I recently went to Bagan in Myanmar, and at the end of the day, I had to fight for a spot on the side of a temple to set up my tripod and camera. The sunset was still beautiful, and when a few tourists actually walked into the frame between us and the view, other photographers around me started yelling at them. It was wicked. Love your pictures, by the way, especially the second!

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