When I went to Lourdes in 1975, I had to walk through the town to get to the shrine. All noise and clatter, with stores full of religious claptrap. Then I walked through the gates it was if someone has turned off a loudspeaker. Nothing but quiet inside. I have seen imitation of the grotto, but nothing matches the real thing. Even the statue—which Bernadette thought so inadequate—takes on a special appearance in the setting, as if bathed in the aura of the Lady who once stood in the niche.
That was the same experience that I had, and the procession was very edifying seeing all the different nationalities but all having the same faith.