Globe Trotting

Pilgrimage to Lourdes, France: Getting There!

One would think that when visiting a place that gets trampled by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims annually there would be an easy way to get there.

Well, you couldn’t be more wrong! but thankfully for you, you have stumbled across my blog and now will be all set for your journey from terminal to grotto.
1. When you depart Toulouse airport, purchase a bus ticket (5 euro) from the bus window and hop on the one that reads “Navette Aeroport”.  The bus runs every 20 minutes.  The ticket window attendant will probably speak english.  Say bonjour, parle englais?  If you don’t get a yes then say “deux” which just means 2 then give 10 euros.

2. The ticket needs to be inserted into the yellow machine, arrow facing down, when you step on the bus.  If you didn’t purchase tickets at the window, you can purchase on the bus.
3. Take the bus 4 stops to “Matabiau Gare SNCF” The ride will be 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. (if you miss the stop you can get off at the last stop “Garre Routiere” it is also the bus station, just further down)
4. Cross the street and enter the station.  You can purchase tickets to Lourdes from the yellow ticket machines or from the ticket window.  Trains run every 1.5-2 hours starting at 6am.   Ticket for the regular train cost 27 euro the journey is roughly 2-2.5 hours, for the faster train, you will pay a few euro extra and shave off a half hour.
5. When you are ready to go to your train tracks you will have to have your ticket punched at the small yellow machines.  Simply slide in the ticket facing up, head down the stairs and follow signs to your train track.  You can also purchase tickets on the train – and most take credit cards.  I do not know if they charge an additional fee.
6. When you arrive at the Lourdes stop, you will be rather far (over a mile) from the Grotto and tourist hub.  It is definitely walkable if you are traveling lightly, but if not I suggest asking the ticket window to call a taxi or taking the city bus, which has a stop right out front of the station.  If you’re encountering difficulty, there is a best western across the street with English speaking help who are more than happy to assist you on your travels!
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