Lourdes is a small town at the foot of the Pyrenees in the south of France. It rose to prominence because of the Marian apparitions in 1858 when the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared to a young, peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, and two other companions. They were told to dig in the ground until a spring bubbled up whose water was alleged to have curative powers. Soon, people started flocking to the place and a church was built around the rocky outcrop where Bernadette saw the apparition and received messages many times more. This became the Grotto where an image of the Virgin Mary stands and the water from the spring still flows. Today, about six million people annually visit Lourdes to go on pilgrimage and many who are sick come to pray, hoping to get healed. It is the third most popular pilgrimage destination for Catholics after Rome and the Holy Land. We visited the place in early autumn with the beautiful weather of cool, crisp air and bright, blue sky. I shot this from the terrace roof of the church with the golden Cross that topped its dome. Across this vantage point is the old Roman fortress located on a hill that served as a fortification which later became Charlemagne’s HQ during his fight against the Muslims who occupied the area all the way to Spain. In spite of the many people around, the place was so peaceful and calm and made for a great rest stop on our way to Paris from Barcelona.