Usually I would never put this tip in the off-the-beaten-path section, but most tourists coming to Lourdes come as pilgrims and never do this "touristy" stuff.
Lourdes is close to the mountain Pic du Jer and there's a furnicular going up. The organizers of our pilgrimage tour had been to Lourdes more than 20 times and had never made it up there.
We took the furnicular up. This was quite difficult, as it's not handicap accessible at all and getting in there was difficult. But the view from the mountain was spectacular and made up for any problems.
On some of the surrounding areas of lourdesthere are some absolutely fantastic hiking opportunities.
Start out early in the day and just wander around and youl be supprised on what beauties of nature you might come across
Everyone who visits Lourdes, visits the Grotto and its associated churches. But take some time out to walk into the centre of the old town to the Parish Church. This year (2003) is the 100th anniversary of its construction. In it is the baptismal font of Saint Bernadette, as well as the extract from the baptismal record. I particularly love the stained glass.
The light shining throught the chapel window caught my eye (and my camera)
If you do want to more about the Miracles and cures associted with Lourdes, there is a summary in the landing outside the Medical Bureau, well worth a visit (though most of it is in french)
You will find the medical bureau on the top floor of one of the building on the Left as you walk along the 'dual carriage way' away from the basillica.
Many visitors to Lourdes make the day trip to the mountains, usually to Gavarnie. Saint Savain is a small village about half way, that has character, and a wonderful viewing point (as well as a couple of cafes!) Its peacefulness make it a wonderful place to make a pit stop.
There is a hotel / Restaurant South east of Lourdes about 2 hrs drive. A must stay or at least Dine!!!