Executive summary by Darmansjah
Lourdes or Lourde is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France. The former regional language of this area used to be Gascon Occitan (or Gasconha, Occitània which was the spoken language at the time of Saint Bernadette Soubirous), but has been largely supplanted by French as in many regions of France.
Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes said to have occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous. At that time, the most prominent feature of the town was the fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its centre.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on a total of eighteen occasions at Lourdes. Lourdes has become a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of miraculous healings. The 150th Jubilee of the first apparition took place on 11 February 2008 with an outdoor mass attended by approximately 45,000 pilgrims.
Today Lourdes has a population of around 15,000, but it is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season. With about 270 hotels, Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels per square kilometre in France after Paris. Some of the deluxe hotels like Grand Hotel Moderne, Hotel Grand de la Grotte, Hotel St. Etienne, Hotel Majestic and Hotel Roissy etc. are located here.