I could understand why Saint Bernadette loved the Convent of St. Gildard, and perhaps even the town if she ever ventured outside the Convent.
On arrival at the Gare de Nevers, I took a taxi to Espace Bernadette -- at the Convent of St. Gildard -- where the Sisters of Charity of Nevers offer rooms and meals to pilgrims at very reasonable rates. There is also a Gite ( St. Michel ) , for groups. For more information visit the website www.sainte-bernadette-nevers.com
The convent has a beautiful chapel , in which the incorrupt body of our young Saint lies in a beautiful glass casket. It was a moving experience when I first set eyes upon her. I visited the Chapel often over the two days of my visit.
Mass is said in the Chapel at 11.30 am everyday except Sunday when it is at 10 am. There is an 8 am Mass on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed at all times and priests , nuns and volunteers are always on hand to speak with pilgrims.
"In the footsteps of Bernadette" is a guided walk around the Convent and its grounds, stopping at key points which were important to the Saint, for prayer and contemplation -- this is a must for any pilgrim.
The Grotto, a replica of the one at Lourdes, is a gathering place for pilgrims to pray the Rosary.
The town itself is on the banks of the Loire River , with some interesting sights -- the Ducal Palace, Cathedral St. Cyr -St. Julitte , several other beautiful churches , the medieval part of town and a pedestrianized shopping/restaurant area. The town is not remarkable , but quiet and pretty.
This is a place worth visiting for prayer and meditation, and retreats which are held regularly.
There are regular trains to and from Paris Bercy -- a day trip from Paris is do-able and inexpensive.