Authorities in Lourdes say around 500 Catholic pilgrims were evacuated yesterday due to extensive flooding.

Campsites around the shrine area were flooded when the Le Gave river burst its banks following days of heavy rain.

It is the worst flooding in the city in over 25 years.

The Lourdes Basilica was not affected as it is situated on higher ground but the Lourdes grotto itself is under at least a metre of water.

Visits have been temporarily suspended.

Many hotels have been forced to evacuate guests from their premises.