Sightseeing in Tarbes and Lourdes
In Tarbes you visit the Jardin Massey, a lovely 19th-century park with a mix of native trees and plants, some quite rare and specific to the Tarbes area. The gardens also include a museum with a fine art collection.
Also of interest here is the Cathédrale Notre Dame de la Sede, situated at Place Charles de Gaulle in the heart of Tarbes, which is a fine example of Gothic architecture. The church is filled with unique sculpture and religious art.
In Lourdes, the principal draw is the town's church. Even if you aren’t a believer, no visit to this area would be complete without a stop at the church, sanctuary and cave in Lourdes. It can be amazing to witness the swarm of humanity alone – a mix of the healthy, sick, disabled in wheelchairs and even some rolled up to the miraculous cave on a gurney in search of a cure and religious experience. The church itself is massive, and filled with religious artwork. The two curved walkways leading up to the higher level of the sanctuary represent the open arms of God.
While in Lourdes, visit the home where Bernadette Soubirous was raised, at Lacade’s Mill at 2 Rue Bernadette Soubirous, where you can get a glimpse of her poor lifestyle.
The Musée Pyrénéen, on Rue du Bourg in Lourdes, features a glimpse of local life in a unique château setting. The museum presents the traditions of mountain life, including typical costumes and furniture.
St-Savin Abbey-Church, 1 Place du Castet in nearby Saint-Savin, is a Romaneque church that was once part of a significant Benedictine monastery. To this day, it houses the relics of its namesake, a Spanish monk, as well as various religious art works.
Shopping in Tarbes
Sample a historic local wine known as le Madiran, a popular native vintage since the 12th century. The wine is bold and ages well, so take some home for later drinking. Visit the Cellars of Madiran and Pacherenc, Place de l’Eglise in Madiran. Wine tasting is free.
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