12-Days: A Pilgrimage to France

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

We depart en route to Toulouse with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: ARRIVE LOURDES AREA

We arrive in Toulouse airport and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative, who will accompany us throughout our journey. We transfer to our hotel in Lourdes. After check-in, we gather later this evening for dinner. (D)

DAY 3: LOURDES: VISIT OF THE SHRINE

We begin this morning with Mass. 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.
This afternoon at 4:30PM we are welcome to participate in the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessing of the Sick (subject to local schedule). After dinner at the hotel, we return to the Sanctuary for the Rosary and Torchlight Procession beginning about 8:30PM (subject to local schedule). Note: We will have time to visit the baths sometime during the day. (B, D)

DAY 4: LOURDES / PARIS / LISIEUX

Early this morning, we transfer to the Lourdes train station for our 2nd Class TGV train to Paris. This is the high-speed train to Paris. The train ride lasts 5 ½ hours through the scenic countryside (a motor coach would take 11 hours to cover the same distance!). We arrive in Paris and transfer to Lisieux, home of St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus. We celebrate our Mass today at the Basilica. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 5: LISIEUX: NORMANDY EXCURSION

Today we make our way north to the Normandy Beaches, recalling the D-Day Invasion. We pay special tribute to those who gave their lives in World War II and other wars. After a visit to the museum and the memorial, we celebrate a memorial Mass at the Cemetery. We return to Lisieux for the evening. Dinner is served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: LISIEUX: SITES OF ST. THERESE / ROUEN / PARIS

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. Today we visit the sites of St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus. 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. Here we celebrate Mass.
This afternoon we board our motor coach for Rouen. Rouen is where Joan of Arc was imprisoned, tried, and burned on the market square by the English. We will visit the Joan of Arc Museum containing a series of life-size wax re-creations depicting important moments in Joan’s Life. We will see the white cross on the market square established on the place where she was burned. It is here where Joan of Arc was threatened with torture on May 9th, 1431. On the upper floors one can view various documents relating to Joan’s imprisonment and trial. We also stop to visit Saint Joan of Arc Church. We continue to Paris with dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 7: PARIS: VISIT OF THE CITY

We enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city from our motor coach, including the Champs Elysses and the Arc d’Triomphe, plus a visit to the Eiffel Tower (2nd level). Today we attend Mass at a local church. This afternoon we enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Seine River. Dinner will be served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 8: PARIS: NOTRE DAME, ST. CHAPELLE, SACRE COEUR

We begin with Mass at St. Sulpice Church. We continue with a visit to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, dedicated to Our Lady. We make our way across the street to St. Chapelle which, after Notre Dame, is France’s second most important monument of the Middle Ages. The Chapel was built to enshrine relics from the First Crusade.
This afternoon we make our way to the artists’ neighborhood of Montmartre and the Basilica of Sacre Coeur (The Sacred Heart). After our visit to the Basilica, we take some time for browsing in the area. Dinner is served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 9: PARIS: EXCURSION TO CHARTRES

After breakfast we depart to the town of Chartres, a former pagan sanctuary that was evangelized in the fourth century and became a pilgrimage site in 876 when 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. Here we celebrate Mass, followed by a guided tour. We return to Paris for some time at leisure. Dinner is served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 10: PARIS: CITY SIGHTSEEING & OPTIONAL LOUVRE VISIT

This morning we visit the Shrine of St. Catherine Laboure where the tradition of the Miraculous Medal began. Here we celebrate Mass. We visit as well the nearby sights of the repose of St. Louise de Marilac and St. Vincent de Paul, located in the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity. Those wishing to may visit the Louvre, our bus will stop to let you out at the museum and you will return to the hotel by taxi. The afternoon is at our leisure. Dinner is served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 11: PARIS: LEISURE / OPTIONAL EXCURSION TO GIVERNY

Today is at leisure. Some of us may want to make an excursion to Monet’s gardens at Giverny on our own. Here is where the famous painter lived for 43 years. We visit the restored house and its gardens. We can stroll through the garden and view the thousands of flowers.
Those of us who would prefer to stay in Paris and explore the city on their own are welcome to do so. You might take this opportunity for some last minute shopping or perhaps visit the Museum d’Orsay on your own where some of Monet’s masterworks are exhibited. This evening we will enjoy a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 12: RETURN USA

We transfer to the Paris Airport for our return flight 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.