Going to Lourdes again was a new experience,as I was with someone disabled. We travelled by train from mid UK via Paris, and used the excellent Passenger Assist in Euston Station and St Pancras. The rail journey in France was marred by one factor; we travelled on Sundays, and (as in the UK) engineering works come that day. This meant getting off the train and taking a coach for the last half an hour. Not so easy if disabled as there are 5 steep steps in the coach< also the notice in the station said "car" for that section, which I did not get to mean transfer to coach. I inquired from Rail Europe about the return and they said that there were no scheduled works on our return. This was belied by the SNCF website - the coach left 30 minutes before the train would have...could have missed it. The Hotel was excellent (reviewed separately -Astoria Vatican) and Lourdes is well set up for wheelchairs, even though it is hilly. There is a huge contrast between the sacred precinct -full of religious tourists with processions and Masses - and the Town, which is like Blackpool's Golden Mile with souvenir shops and neon displays at every turn. Beware pick-pockets, keep money inside your clothing in a zipped bag, always put it away inside the shop, etc. Eating out is easy, but if it is hot, eat in air-conditioned places until you acclimatize. Enquiries are well addressed on the Lourdes website and there is a multilingual desk in the precinct. Masses are held in many languages, but most signs are French, keep to the shade and carry drinking water with you in the precinct. There are Supermarkets for food and drink; a bit of walking will soon reveal these. Taxis are cheap and quick and available at the station. Hotels will arrange a Taxi for you also. You can take Holy water home with you, or order it online (there is a charge for delivery only) and if you are flying, this could be the better way, as it is heavy. There is much to see in Lourdes and around, so research before visiting: there is an excellent multilingual bookshop in the precinct with useful Guidebooks. You must be prepared for some steep streets, and do not expect car-parking, or driving in the town to be easy.
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