top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Pilgrims evacuated in Lourdes floods

Grotto remains closed as town clears away the debris from weekend of torrential rains

AFTER a weekend of storms that saw the altar of the grotto at Lourdes under water and many roads cut in the south-west, Meteo France has warned that the south-east is next and has set a yellow alert in Bouches-du-Rhone, Gard, Var and Vaucluse.

Heavy rains in Pyrenees Orientales, Aude and Herault saw up to 120mm of rain fall in several hours with rivers bursting banks, including the Gave de Pau which flooded parts of Lourdes and forced the closure of several sites.

Nearly 500 pilgrims - including the sick and the disabled - had to be evacuated on Saturday but the floodwaters did not reach the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

This morning several of the sacred sites were starting to reopen after intensive work to clear debris but the Grotte de Massabielle is still flooded. Although the altar of the main shrine was under water the floods did not reach the grotto that holds the statue of the Virgin Mary.

A hydro-electric station supplying much of the town's power was badly damaged by tree trunks swept down by the floods. Two pedestrian bridges were also damaged along with the river banks.

Costs of repair works have been estimated at many hundreds of thousands of euros, and Lourdes has already been badly hit by reduced donations due to the financial crisis.

Storms also hit Normandy and Pays de la Loire and, with the ground already saturated, saw rivers bursting their banks with the Sarthe and its tributaries being particularly affected.
Screengrab from Lourdes website

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France