Lourdes - Tarbes Airport Mini Guide
Why do People Travel to Lourdes?
Most of the people travelling there are Catholics who go to visit the place where Our Lady of Lourdes, the apparition of the Virgin Mary, appeared to a young girl eighteen times over a hundred and fifty years ago. Several miracles of curing of the sick have taken place there and almost five million people a year descend on the little town whose permanent population is only 17,000. The town lays claim to having the second most hotels per square kilometre in France. Besides the focus of pilgrimage, the town is pretty in itself being close to thermal springs.
How do they get to Lourdes?
There is a small but very busy airport nearby called Lourdes-Tarbes-Pyrenees Airport. Most of the flights there are laid on for Catholics making a pilgrimage to Lourdes and includes Ryanair flights from London and Manchester. Other destinations include Paris
, Rome, Milan and Brussels. The airport is very close to the town of Lourdes and there is never a shortage of means of transport into the town.
What is the Airport Like?
It’s a small and modern but very busy. You’re also unlikely to see more nuns in an airport anywhere else on earth so it can be a little surreal. The airport seems dedicated to promoting the religious attraction of the town so you can expect signs of faith around the terminal.
What can I Expect When I get There?
You’ll have the luxury of disembarking straight into the terminal via one of the airport’s air bridges and once inside it’s a short walk through passport control and on to collect your bags. Once in the arrivals hall, there’s an information desk that does lost luggage, lounge hire – usually for religious groups, and meet and greet including ‘personal welcomes’. Many who go there decide to hire a car to see more of the area than just the grotto or the basilica and with the large number of tourists you’d be advised to book in advance. You’ll find the desks easily enough in the arrivals hall and soon be sat behind the wheel and heading for Lourdes.
If you need cash when you arrive, a short walk along to the departures hall will bring an ATM for your convenience. For travel by public transport, bus No.2 takes you on a circular route from the airport to Lourdes, then Tarbes and back to the airport.
What About When it’s Time to go Home?
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the facilities of the airport. After dealing with the formalities, you’ll find a newsagent selling all manner of papers, magazines and books as well as snacks and confectionery. There is a superb high class restaurant called the Amphitryon which also caters for private dining and buffets at the airport. If your budget doesn’t extend that far then there are two café bars, the Omega before security and the Envol in the boarding lounge. There too you’ll find a large selection of goods in the airport’s duty free shop. When shopping and dining are finished, you’ll find you can access the internet on your laptop via the airport’s Wi-Fi system.