10-Days: Shrines of France: Paris, Lourdes & Ars

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DAY 1: DEPART

We depart USA en route to Lourdes via Paris, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: PARIS / LOURDES

We arrive in Paris and transfer to our flight to Lourdes. We are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative and transfer to our hotel. Our guide will offer us an orientation tour, and we are welcome to join the processions this afternoon and evening. Dinner is at our hotel. (D)

DAY 3: LOURDES: FOOTSTEPS OF BERNADETTE

In her apparition to young Bernadette, Our Lady uttered the words, “I am the Immaculate Conception.’ Today, in the opening Mass of our pilgrimage, we offer up the intentions of our own Immaculate Conception Seminary, named after the Blessed Mother. After Mass, we enjoy a walking tour ‘In the Footsteps of Bernadette.’ We visit the Cachot (former jail cell that once served as the Soubirous family’s home); the parish church; Fr. Peyramale’s Presbytery; the Hospice and the Boly Mill. After our tour we take time to visit the baths. This afternoon at 4:30PM we are welcome to participate in the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessing of the Sick. After dinner at the hotel, we return to the Sanctuary for the Rosary and Torchlight Procession, beginning about 8:30PM. After the procession, we return to our hotel. (B, D)

Note: Processions in Lourdes are available usually from Easter to mid-October.

DAY 4: LOURDES / PARIS

This morning we begin with Mass, then we have some time at leisure in Lourdes. Late morning we board our high-speed TGV train for our 5 1 hour ride to Paris. We transfer to our private motor coach and make our way to our hotel for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 5: PARIS: RUE DE BAC, NOTRE DAME & SACRE COEUR
This morning we begin with Mass and a visit to the Shrine of St. Catherine Laboure where the tradition of the Miraculous Medal began. Just around the corner we view the sights of the repose of St. Louise de Marilac and St. Vincent de Paul. We continue to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, possibly the most famous cathedral in the world devoted to the Blessed Mother; and then to Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacre Coeur), offering a spectacular vista of the city. The motor coach will return to the hotel and those wishing to stay can explore the nearby artist’s quarters of Montmartre and return to the hotel on their own. (B,D)

 

DAY 6: PARIS: LISIEUX EXCURSION

We make a full day’s excursion to today to Lisieux, home of St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus. Pope Pius X described St. Therese as ‘the greatest saint of modern times.’ The town of Lisieux now receives more than two million pilgrims annually. We begin at Les Buissonnets (the Lisieux family home), then proceed to the Basilica, the Carmelite Convent Chapel, the reliquary of St. Therese, and the statue of the Virgin Mary that smiled at St. Therese. We return to Paris for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

Note: In lieu of this excursion, you may opt to have the group stay in Paris and have a day at leisure, or give your people an opportunity to visit the Louvre Museum.

DAY 7: PARIS: EXCURSION TO VERSAILLES & CHARTRES

Today we visit the Palace of Versailles, a unique expression of the vitality of French art during the 17 th and 18 th century. The palace is full of ornate decorations. After our visit of the Palace, we board our motor coach and make our way to Chartres, former pagan sanctuary that was evangelized in the fourth century and became a pilgrimage site in 876. In this year, Charles the Bald gave the town the tunic that tradition says was worn by the Virgin Mary while giving birth to Jesus. The 13th century cathedral dominates this idyllic town, surrounded by wheat fields. The church building itself is literally a Bible in stone, with over 4,000 sculpted figures and 5,000 figures in the stained glass windows, illustrating the Bible and lives of the Saints. After Mass and some time for strolling and browsing, we return to Paris. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 8: PARIS / LYON / ARS

We depart Paris this morning and board our high-speed TGV train to Lyon. Upon arrival in Lyon, we transfer to our private motor coach and make our way to the town of Ars, home of St. John Vianney. Patron Saint of Parish Priests. Pope John Paul II was a pilgrim here in 1986. We visit the basilica that houses the Saint’s incorrupt body, then continue to the Chapel of Our Lady of Ars, one of the favorite devotions of St. John We will celebrate a special mass for the priests of our diocese and of Immaculate Conception Seminary. (B, D)

Note: Instead of traveling by train for this portion of the itinerary, we may also go via motor coach from Paris to Lyon, stopping in Vezelay and in Nevers.

DAY 9: ARS: EXCURSION TO PARAY LE MONIAL AND TAIZE

After breakfast we leave for Paray le Monial where we celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Claude de la Colombiere and then visit the Chapel of the Visitation where the Sacred Heart appeared to St. Margaret Mary. From there we will continue to the ecumenical monastery of the Taize’ for mid-day prayer. This afternoon we make our way to Lyon, and this evening we celebrate a farewell dinner in the stunning medieval town of Perouges. We return to our lodging in Ars. (B, D)

DAY 10: RETURN USA

This morning we will celebrate the final Mass of our pilgrimage and transfer to the Lyon Airport en route back to the USA. (B)

NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.