The castle of Lourdes was built on a rocky promontory, in the center of the city of Hautes-Pyrénées, guarding the entrance to the valleys of Lavedan (valleys of gaves upstream of the city).
A first enclosure of Roman origin is besieged in the 8th century by Charlemagne then becomes residence of the counts of Bigorre.
In the twelfth century, the site returned to the kingdom of France but it was given time to the English before returning to the royal domain in the fifteenth century.
During this period, the castle was endowed with a dungeon then its defensive elements were reinforced in the 17th and the 19th century.
A time transformed into prison after the Revolution, it houses since 1921 a museum dedicated to arts and popular traditions of the Pyrenees.
The remains of the ancient fortifications are exposed on the site, but the oldest parts of the castle are its foundations of the eleventh and twelfth century.
The chapel, the dungeon, the conciergerie, the door and the barbican are protected as historical monuments.
As for the museum housed within the walls, its collections evoke everyday life, especially in rural areas, in the Pyrenees, from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Interiors have been reconstructed, traditional costumes are presented and a collection of eighteenth-century earthenware is also visible. Baroque furniture from the former parish church of Lourdes and works of art donated to the museum in 1994 are also on display.
Outside, finally, but still within the walls of the castle, the visitor can observe models of traditional habitat, a reconstituted Pyrenean cemetery, and the public is invited to walk in a pleasant botanical garden.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from mid-October to mid-April and every day the rest of the year. Closed on January 1st, November 1st and 11th, and December 25th. Entrance (castle + museum): 3.50 and 7.50 euros. Information on +33 5 62 42 37 37.