12-Days: France in the Footsteps of St. Joan of Arc

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

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

DAY 2: ARRIVE PARIS / TRANSFER TO NANCY

We arrive in Paris and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative who will escort us to our private motor coach. We depart to Nancy in Lorraine. Depending on our arrival time, we may have a chance to see Nancy on our own, including the Stanistas Square from 18th century with its vast fountains and the 18th century Cathedral. Dinner is at our hotel. (D)

DAY 3: NANCY: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JOAN OF ARC

After breakfast, we will start our journey in the steps of Joan of Arc. We depart for the village of Domrémy, where Joan of Arc was born. We will visit Joan of Arc’s family home; a simple farmhouse, with a museum presenting cards and pictures, the 15th century Saint Remy Church where she used to pray and confess, and the 19th century Bois-Chenu Basilica that was built on one of the places where Joan of Arc heard voices of the Saints.

We will continue to the nearby village of Vaucouleurs. It was here that Joan of Arc came to speak to the allies of Dauphin Charles. She told them that she could save France and its King and asked to be brought to him immediately. After some time here, we return to Nancy for dinner. (B, D)

DAY 4: NANCY / AUXERRE / TOURS

This morning we will follow the same route that Joan took to Chinon to meet the Dauphin. En route, we will pause in Auxerre to see the 13th century masterpiece of St Etienne’s Cathedral; it was here that Joan came to pray. We continue through the Loire Valley and find ourselves in Tours. This evening dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 5: TOURS / POITIERS / LOCHES

After breakfast, we visit the Chinon Castle, an imposing medieval fortress housing the Museum of Joan of Arc in its clock tower. We then continue to Poitiers, where Joan of Arc met with the heads of the French kingdom and they tested the seriousness of her intentions. In Poitiers, we can visit the 11th century Notre Dame La Grande Cathedral with its impressive Romanesque facade. We continue to Loches and visit the Logis Royal and the Donjon, another place where the Royal court lived during the time of the Hundred Years War. We return to Tours this evening for dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: TOURS / ORLEANS

Today we enjoy a tranquil drive to Orleans; the site of Joan’s largest battle against the English. Our visit of Orleans starts with the Hotel Grolot, former city hall which is now dedicated to Joan of Arc. We stop at the Hotel Jacques Boucher where she once lived and now serves as a museum. Our last two visits will be to the Cathedral Joan attended and finally the statue of Joan of Arc on the Square d’Orleans. Dinner this evening is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 7: ORLEANS / TROYES / REIMS

After the victorious battle of Orleans and some other fights nearby (Meung sur Loire, Beaugency etc), Joan of Arc left with the royal court to Reims for the crowning of Charles VII, the King of France. We will follow their way via Gien and Troyes. We can stop in Troyes to visit the medieval town with its wooden houses and its numerous churches. Dinner will be at our hotel in Reims. (B, D)

DAY 8: REIMS

This morning after breakfast we will visit Reims, including the magnificent cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic art. It served as the Cathedral for the Coronation of French kings in memory of the baptism of Clovis by Saint Remi on Christmas Day 498. Here the Dolphin Charles was crowned King of France Charles VII. In the afternoon we suggest a tour through the countryside, following the Champagne route to Epernay and stop at a local cellar for a visit and tasting. Dinner is at a local restaurant in Reims. (B, D)

DAY 9: REIMS / PARIS

This morning we enjoy a peaceful ride to Paris. Upon arrival, we will enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of the French capital, passing by all the important sights and monuments, as well as the Pyramide Square where the statue of Joan of Arc has been built. We will also visit Notre Dame Cathedral, where 24 years after the death of Joan of Arc, several trials took place in order to re-establish her good faith. Tonight we enjoy dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 10: PARIS: EXCURSION TO COMPIEGNE

A full day excursion is planned today to the north of Paris. We will pass the towns of Senlis and Soissons where other battles took place, and visit the town of Compiegne. The French people betrayed Joan of Arc here in a battle, and the Bourguignon who were allies of the English captured her. The Bourguignon sold Joan of Arc later to the English who transferred her to Rouen. It was Christmas 1430. We return to Paris for the evening and dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 11: PARIS: EXCURSION TO ROUEN

Today a full day excursion is planned to Rouen. It is here 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. We will visit the dungeon of the Philippe August castle now known as the Joan of Arc Tower. 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 will also visit Saint Joan of Arc Church. Upon our return to Paris, we will enjoy a festive farewell dinner especially planned for us. (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.