This small town in the Pyrenees is known for its association with Saint Bernadette, a young girl to whom Mary the mother of God appeared 18 or so times in 1858. It is associated with healing, and as a result of this, attracts millions of visitors (<>) each year, for all over the world. Whether they are all hoping for a miracle cure I cannot say, but there have only been 60 or so in the 150 years that the shrine has attracted attention.
It is a place that seems to polarise people; those who enjoy their time there return year upon year, I have visited some 15 or more times, and have seen it change over the 25 years these visits have taken place. Some people hate the seemingly thousands of tacky souvenir shops (I just ignore them), Do take your sense of humour along; although a place of pilgrimage, laughing (not prayer) is what I do most when I am there!
Mind your ankles. Amateur wheel chair drivers abound and it can be painful!
Many pilgrims stay in the Accuill Notre-Dame, a type of hostel for those too disabled to stay in the hotels. Each pilgrimage group bring their own 'staff' mainly volenteers, who care for these 'sick' pilgrims during their stay.
<> are the old fashioned wheel chairs that are used through out Lourdes to transport those unable to walk between the accueill, the grotto and the bars!