Paris to Bordeaux via the South

14-Day Sample Itinerary

Pilgrim Tour Through France

See France from the view of a religious pilgrim tour from Paris to Bordeaux via Lourdes and the south of France.

 

Sample Itinerary:

 

Day 1: Transatlantic flight to France

Depart the US to Paris, France.

 

Day 2: Paris

Upon arrival in Paris, you will be welcomed by your Tour Escort who will take you on a panoramic tour of the city. Visit Montmartre, where the stately Basilica of the Sacred Heart stands atop a hill, and where St. Denis was martyred. At its feet, visit the Church of Saint Pierre Montmartre, founded by St. Denis, where St. Ignatius of Loyola and his companions took their vows. This evening, meet your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner, and plan on the days ahead. (WD)

 

Day 3: Paris

Today, visit central Paris and some of its most important churches: Notre Dame Cathedral, the gothic jewel of Paris, with its splendid sculptures, architecture and stained glass. Inside are kept treasured relics such as the Crown of Thorns of Our Lord, a fragment of the true Cross, and a Crucifixion nail. The Sainte Chapelle, another gothic marvel, built by St. Louis, boasting breathtaking stained glass. Saint Sulpice, the second largest gothic church in Paris, dedicated to St. Sulpice and St. Peter. Saint Germain des Prés, one of the oldest churches in Paris, where Saint Germain, bishop of Paris, is buried. Saint Etienne du Mont, where the tomb (not the relics, these were destroyed during the French Revolution) of St. Genevieve, patroness of the city, is housed. It features a unique rood screen, wood pulpit and exceptional stained glass. Sainte Genevieve, the church which was the original burial site of the Saint, and of Clovis and Saint Clotilde, his wife. (BB)

 

Day 4: Paris

Enjoy a morning in Paris visiting the sites related to the Miraculous Medal on the Rue du Bac. Begin at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, where Our Lady directed St. Catherine Labouré to have a medal made in her honor. Inside, on one side of the altar, the waxed but incorrupt body of St. Louise de Marillac, who established the order of the Daughters of Charity along with St. Vincent de Paul. On the other side of the altar lies the incorrupt body of the visionary of Our Lady, St. Catherine Laboure, to whom was entrusted the spread of the Miraculous Medal. A short walk away is the Chapel of the Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Mission, where lies the incorrupt body of Saint Vincent de Paul. Also on display are many relics of priests martyred in Asia. Nearby, visit the Society of Foreign Missions, from which thousands of missionaries have gone forth to foreign lands to preach the Gospel, many of them becoming martyrs. Inside, an interesting museum displays artifacts and pictures relating the story of these men and martyrs. In the early afternoon, visit the Cathedral of Saint Denis, the burial place of this patron of France, who was martyred nearby. It is also where most French kings were crowned, and their burial place. The relics of Saint Louis, king of France, are kept here. Enjoy Paris on your own the rest of the day, with independent dinner. (BB)

 

Day 4: Paris – Fain-les-Moutiers – Vezelay – Nevers

Depart Paris this morning toward Nevers, with two stops along the way. First, visit Fain-les-Moutiers, a little town which boasts the privilege of having been the birthplace of St. Catherine Laboure. Continue to Vezelay, where the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalen, also known as the Abbey of Vezelay, shelters some of her remains in a singular reliquary. Here, St. Bernard preached the 2nd Crusade. It is one of the most beautiful and among the 8 most visited churches in France. Continue to Nevers for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 5: Nevers – Paray-le-Monial – Ars – Lyon

After breakfast, head to the convent of the Sisters of Charity where St. Bernadette, the visionary of Lourdes, spent 12 year of her religious life. Her incorrupt body is venerated there, in the Chapel of St. Bernadette. Continue to Paray-le-Monial, site where St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque received the apparitions and promises of the Sacred Heart. Visit the place of the Apparitions, the Chapel where her relics are kept, and the chapel of St. Claude de la Colombiere, where the Saint’s relics are kept, whose mission was to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart and who was the confessor, friend and defender of St. Margaret Mary. Continue to Ars, the town of the Holy Curé of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney. Visit the church where he preached, the confessionals where he spent most of his time, and the Basilica with his incorrupt body. His house, which has been maintained as it was since the day he died, is a visit which will make an impact. Continue to Lyon to arrive in time for dinner. (BB, D)

 

Day 6: Lyon

A full day in Lyon, a beautiful and historic city dating from Roman times and the spring of Catholicism in France. Start at the Amphitheater des Trois Gaulles, built in 19 BC, where many saints suffered martyrdom, including the famous Saint Blandina, patroness of France. Continue to the Cathedral of St. Jean which features magnificent stained glass, an astronomical clock and the chapel of the Bourbons. Finally, the Basilica of Our Lady of Fourviere, where St. Pothin was martyred. This church displays not only a magnificent exterior, but more impressive interior with gilding, mosaics and stained glass covering every surface. Afternoon is at leisure in this inviting city, which, being the capital of world gastronomy, of silk, of the Resistance and of printing, offers many attractions to fill your time. Independent dinner, overnight in Lyon. (BB)

 

Day 7: Lyon – La Salette

Early departure for the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, site of the Apparitions of Our Lady to two shepherd children, Maximin and Melanie. In her message, she laments the blasphemies and lack of sanctification of Sundays by Catholics. A spring marks the place of the apparitions. The site is beautiful, quiet and mysterious, overlooking foggy highlands, and the afternoon will be spent there, with dinner and overnight at the Shrine. (BB, D)

 

Day 8 La Salette – Saint Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume – Apt – Avignon

Travel to Saint maximin to visit the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalen, where a reliquary displays her cranium with a segment of flesh is visible on the forehead, which is, according to tradition, where Our Lord touched her the morning of Easter. See also the sarcophagi with the relics of St. Maximin, a miracle worker, priest and nephew of Clovis, St. Marcella, a holy Roman woman, St. Suzanna and St. Sidonius, an irish-born monk. Nearby, visit the cave where St. Mary Magdalen retired to pray and make penance, and where a beautiful shrine is built in the rock. The next stop is Apt where, in the Cathedral of Saint Anne, are a treasury of relics, among which are those of St. Anne, the grandmother of Our Lord. In the sacristy, the treasury displays several precious objects, among which the most important is the veil of St. Anne and a statue of the Child Jesus dating from the 14th C. The last part of the journey will take you to Avignon, city of Popes, for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 9: Avignon – Tarascon – Nimes – Avignon

This morning, visit Avignon: Saint Didier, where the relics of Blessed Peter of Luxembourg, who despite his death at the age of eighteen gave proof of a holy and austere life, and the Palace of the Popes, one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe, then famous bridge of Avignon. Depart Avignon toward Tarascon, where you will visit the Church of St. Martha, where her tomb is located. Finish the day’s visits in the peaceful and lovely Frigolet Abbey, built in the 10th C. for the Benedictine order, now served by Augustinian Canons. Return to Avignon for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 10: Avignon – Carcassonne – Toulouse

Head southwest to the impressive fortified city of Carcassonne; walk around the medieval buildings and visit its cathedral: It is not difficult to picture life in the time of the knights when you walk the narrow streets and climb the double ramparts. Afterward, continue to Toulouse to venerate the remains of Saint Thomas Aquinas, author of the Summa Theologica, student of Saint Albert the Great and one of the greatest doctors of the Church. Then, visit St. Sernin, where the relics of Saint Saturnin, first bishop of Toulouse and martyr, are kept. It is the largest Romanesque church in Europe. Dinner and overnight in Toulouse. (BB, D)

 

Day 11: Toulouse – Lourdes

Travel to Lourdes today, to arrive in time for a full day at the sites related to Our Lady and Saint Bernadette. Visit the Grotto of the Apparitions, the Basilica, the Stations of the Cross, and drink from the miraculous spring. Then, see the “Cachot” where Saint Bernadette lived in absolute poverty with her family and stop in the church where she was baptized. In the evening, participate in the candlelight procession and Rosary. Dinner and overnight in Lourdes. (BB, D)

 

Day 12: Lourdes – Sarlat-la-Caneda – Rocamadour

Board the bus early for departure northward to Rocamadour, ancient pilgrimage site, visited by renowned saints and kings, which shelters a miraculous black virgin and the remains of St. Amadour, who was converted by Our Lord. Admire the ancient buildings which are spectacularly perched on the rock. Durandal, Roland’s sword, was, according to legend, thrust into the rock above the church door by St. Michael, and can still be seen. In the late afternoon, travel the short distance to Sarlat-La-Caneda, a beautifully preserved medieval town, which still boasts period houses and buildings, and whose inhabitants take pride in protecting and beautifying. Dinner is on your own today, overnight in Sarlat. (BB)

 

Day 13 Rocamadour – Bordeaux

Westward to Bordeaux where, upon arrival, a walking tour will take you to the sites related to St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, who founded the order of The Company of Mary Our Lady, whose principal goal is the education of girls. Then, venerate the relics of St. Simon Stock, to whom Our Lady gave the scapular (in England), located in the Carmelite monastery. Free time in Bordeaux this afternoon, possibly to visit the Esplanade des Quiconces and relax at one of the cafes, or to visit the Grand Theatre. This evening, gather together for a farewell dinner and toast. Overnight in Bordeaux. (BB, FD)

 

Day 14: Transatlantic flight back to the US

Transfer to Bordeaux airport after breakfast for your homebound flight. (BB)

 

*(BB) Buffet Breakfast *(D) Dinner *(WD) Welcome Dinner *(FD) Farewell Dinner

 

Call Catholic Heritage Tours today. We’ll show you how we can take your vision for a Catholic pilgrimage and turn it into reality. Take in the rich Catholic history of many centuries across this European cultural hub – call us at (800) 290-3876!

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