Lourdes is a town in southwestern France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. It’s known for the Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes, or the Domain, a major Catholic pilgrimage site. Each year, millions visit the Grotto of Massabielle (Grotto of the Apparitions) where, in 1858, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a local woman. In the grotto, pilgrims can drink or bathe in water flowing from a spring.
France, in Western Europe, encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. Paris, its capital, is famed for its fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The country is also renowned for its wines and sophisticated cuisine. Lascaux’s ancient cave drawings, Lyon’s Roman theater and the vast Palace of Versailles attest to its rich history.