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Lourdes is a famous town in France, situated in the Southwest of the Hautes-Pyrénées department. It was originally a small unremarkable market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees. But following the Apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette, Lourdes has developed into a major tourist destination as a Marian city. Today Lourdes has a population of some 17,000 inhabitants but is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season.