12-Days: A Spiritual Journey to the Shrines of France

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

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

DAY 2: ARRIVE TOULOUSE / LOURDES

Upon arrival in Toulouse, we are met by our representative of Catholic Travel Centre and transfer to our hotel in Lourdes for dinner and evening. (D)

DAY 3: LOURDES: WALKING TOUR

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. Peryamale’s Presbytery; the Hospice and the Boly Mill.

This afternoon is at leisure. At 4:30 PM 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 8:30 PM. After the procession we return to our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 4: LOURDES: DAY AT LEISURE

We begin this morning with the International Mass. Today is entirely at our leisure in Lourdes. Our tour escort will be with us. We may wish to visit the Grotto on our own, visit the baths, or pray the Stations of the Cross. We are also welcome to participate in the processions this afternoon and evening. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 5: LOURDES / TOULOUSE / LYON / LA SALETTE

After breakfast we transfer to the Pau or Toulouse airports for our flight to Lyon. Upon arrival in Lyon we will transfer to La Salette, a Marian shrine commemorating the Blessed Mother’s appearance here on September 19, 1846. Here we celebrate Mass. Our dinner and evening are in the Grenoble area. (B, D)

DAY 6: LA SALETTE / CHARTREUSE / PARAY LE MONIAL

This morning we travel to Chartreuse to visit the Chartreuse distillery (we know them as the Carthusian Monks) and the museum. We celebrate Mass and continue to Paray-le-monial for dinner and the evening. ( B, D )

DAY 7: PARAY-LE-MONIAL: EXCURSION TO ARS & VISIT OF THE SHRINE

This morning we 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 St. John Vianney’s incorrupt body, and then continue to the Chapel of Our Lady of Ars, one of the favorite devotions of St. John. Here we celebrate Mass.
This afternoon, we return to Paray-le-monial where we visit the Church of St. Claude de la Colombiere and then visit the Chapel of the Visitation where St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received the visions of the Sacred Heart. Dinner is at our accommodations in Paray-le-monial. (B, D)

DAY 8: PARAY-LE-MONIAL / NEVERS / VEZELAY / PARIS

Early this morning we depart for Nevers to visit the Convent of St. Gildard, where Bernadette of Lourdes lies in repose. We celebrate Mass at the Grotto in the Convent. Our next stop is the village of Vezelay, where we stop to visit one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in all of France. This was one of the traditional starting points for the medieval pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. From Vezelay, we continue to Paris where we check in to our hotel. Dinner is served at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 9: PARIS: RUE DE BAC, ST. VINCENT’S SHRINE, NOTRE DAME ST. CHAPELLE

This morning we begin with Mass and a visit to the Shrine of St. Catherine Laboure where the devotion 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.

This afternoon we will see the Cathedral of Notre Dame, possibly the most famous cathedral in the world devoted to the Blessed Mother. Nearby we visit St. Chapelle with its remarkable stained glass windows, a virtual reliquary in stone and glass for relics of the Crown of Thorns. Dinner is served at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 10: PARIS: EXCURSION TO LISIEUX

This morning we make our way to Lisieux. 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. Tonight we return to Paris for dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 11: PARIS: VERSAILLES EXCURSION & PARIS SIGHTSEEING

This morning we make an excursion to Versailles to visit the palace here. We return to Paris for a tour of the city, including the Champs Elysses, Arc d’Triomphe, Invalides and other notable sites. We will stop at Montmartre for a visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacre Coeur), offering a spectacular vista of the city. Here we celebrate the closing Mass of our pilgrimage. We will have a bit of time to explore the nearby artist’s quarters of Montmartre and return to the hotel. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner at the Eiffel Tower 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.