Catholic Shrines from Paris to Brussels
From the bustling city of Paris to the serene countryside of northern France and then into Belgium’s charming towns, this Catholic pilgrimage tour takes you through some of Europe’s most important shrines and holy sites.
Day 1: Transatlantic flight to France
Depart today on a journey to Paris. Meals will be served during the international flight.
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. Overnight in Paris. (WD)
Day 3: Paris
Today, visit centralParis:
* Notre Dame, 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 inParis, 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.
Dinner and overnight inParis. (BB)
Day 4: Paris
Enjoy a morning in Paris visiting the sites related to the Miraculous Medal on the Rue du Bac:
* St. Louise de Marillac, whose waxed body is kept in the chapel. She established the Daughters of Charity along with St. Vincent de Paul.
* The Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, where Our Lady directed St. Catherine Labouré to have a medal made in her honor.
* Saint Vincent the Paul, whose incorrupt body lies in the Chapel of the Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Mission. 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 the place of burial of most French kings, and where they were crowned. 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 5: Paris – Vezelay – Fain-les-Moutiers – Abbaye de Fontenay – Dijon
Depart Paris this morning toward Dijon, with three stops along the way. First, visit 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 Fain-les-Moutiers, a little town which boasts the privilege of having been the birthplace of St. Catherine Laboure, visionary and recipient of the Miraculous Medal. Last stop is the Abbaye of Fontenay, a magnificent complex of buildings which was one of the monasteries built by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Complete the last leg of the trip to Dijon, known for its half-timbered houses. Visit the Ducal Palace, a magnificent building which was the seat of the Dukes of Burgundy in the 14th and 15th C. Overnight in Dijon. (BB, D)
Day 6: Dijon – Ars – Paray-le-Monial – Nevers
Early departure from Dijon to head south to Ars-sur-fromens, where St. John Marie Vianney’s incorupt body can be venerated inside the church dedicated to him. Ars is a quiet town which nonetheless strongly impacts those who visit and learn about this holy man whose dedication to his parish and priestly life earned him the title of patron of Priests. Visit also the simple and barren room where he lived. Switch directions and head west to Paray-le-Monial, where St. Margaret Mary received the visions 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. Finally, travel to Nevers, where St. Bernadette, the visionary of Lourdes, spent 12 years of her religious life. Her incorrupt body is venerated there. Dinner and overnight in Nevers (BB, D)
Day 7: Nevers – Chenonceaux – Amboise – Tours
Continue your journey westward to Tours, with two of the most renowned and stunning castles on the Loire river on the route. Begin at Chenonceau, the iconic castle which bridges the river, hovering above it on graceful arches. Then, the Castle of Amboise, perched above the river and overlooking it and the town, it is a sight to behold. Inside, in the Chapelle Saint Hubert, is the tomb of Leonardo Da Vinci, who lived just below the castle, in a manor house connected to the castle by an underground passage, until his death. Travel the short distance to Tours where, upon arrival, you will visit the Basilica of St. Gatien, the first bishop of Tours, and where his relics are kept. Afterward, see the Basilica of St. Martin, who succeeded St. Gatien. This Basilica was an important stopping point for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. There, in the crypt, his remains are sheltered. St. Martin is known for introducing the monastic life in Gaul and laying the foundation for a profoundly Catholic country. This great saint is also known for the episode in which he shares his cloak with a poor man, who later appears to him in a dream being Jesus Christ himself. Dinner and overnight follow in Tours. (BB, D)
Day 8: Tours – Alencon – Pontmain – Mont Saint Michel
Before leaving Tours this morning, visit the Shrine of the Holy Face, where an image venerated by Leo Dupont, the Holy Man of Tours, is kept. The oil of the lamp which burns in perpetuity in front of the image is miraculous, and he used it often to perform cures. Afterward, head north to Alençon, the first stop, to see the house where Saint Therese of the Child Jesus was born and to visit the church where her parents, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, were married. Continue to Pontmain, site of Marian apparitions to four children, announcing the end of the Franco-Prussian war. The site is simple and lovely, and the barn near where the apparition took place is now lined with the recounting of the story with images and text on the walls. Stop also at the basilica for a moment of prayer to the Blessed Mother whose title there is Our Lady of Hope. The last portion of the trip takes you to the magnificent Mont Saint Michel. See it at sunset and marvel at the imposing monastery proudly standing guard over the seas. Dinner and overnight nearby. (BB, D)
Day 9: Mont Saint Michel – Normandy beaches – Caen – Lisieux
Visit the awe-inspiring Monastery of St. Michael this morning, perched over the tidal seas onto a rocky outcrop. After lunch, head to the Normandy beaches to spend a moment remembering those who selflessly gave everything for their fellow man. Visit the Museum at Arromanches, overlooking the sea, and the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-mer. Continue to Caen to visit the twin abbeys built by William the Conqueror and his wife, Queen Mathilda. Drive the short hour to Lisieux for dinner upon arrival. (BB, D)
Day 10: Lisieux – Rouen – Amiens – Reims
Visit the sites related to St. Therese of the Child Jesus this morning. Visit the home in which she spent her childhood, the Basilica and the tomb of her Blessed parents, and the Carmel where she lived as a Carmelite and where her remains are kept. In the early afternoon, head east to Rouen, where Saint Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Visit the Church near the place of her martyrdom, and the magnificent Medieval Cathedral of Rouen, which contains many tombs of the Norman Dukes. Continue Eastward for a quick stop in Beauvais to visit the impressive Cathedral of Saint Peter which shelters an amazing astronomical clock. Afterward, stop in Amiens to visit the Cathedral, which is the largest medieval building in France, twice the size of Notre Dame Cathedral, where is housed the cranium of St. John the Baptist, among other relics. Complete the trip to Reims for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 11: Reims
A full day in Reims, a splendid medieval city which has much to offer. Begin today’s visits at the amazing Cathedral where St. Remi crowned Clovis, and thus where almost all subsequent crownings took place, including that for which St. Joan of Arc was responsible, the crowning of Charles VII. The cathedral itself is crowned by 2300 statues and magnificent stained glass. Then, the Basilica of St. Clotilde, who converted her husband Clovis, effectively setting the course for French Catholicism. The crypt contains relics of the most important French saints: Over 120 reliquaries and 2000 relics. The rest of the day is at leisure. Enjoy this beautiful historical city and visit more of the sites it has to offer, or simply shop for souvenirs. Dinner is independent tonight. (BB)
Day 12: Reims – Bastogne – Beauraing – Brussels
Depart Reims early and head to Belgium. Shortly after entering the country, stop in Bastogne, renowned for its role during World War II at the Battle of the Bulge. A moment of prayer in honor of our fallen soldiers at the Mardasson Memorial and a quick visit to the simple museum at what was the American military base before continuing to Beauraing. There, visit the site of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother to five children in 1932 and 1933. Complete the journey to Brussels for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 13: Brussels: Expedition to Banneux
An expedition to Banneux is planned for this morning, to visit the site of the Lourdes of Belgium. Here, in 1933, Mariette Beco, a 12-year old, was the visionary to whom Our Lady, who called herself the “Virgin of the Poor”, showed a spring which is now the source of many miraculous healings. Return to Brussels in the late morning, then, after lunch, visit the main sites of the city: The Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral is a marvel of architecture and art, with stunning stained-glass windows. Then, the central square of Brussels, and the Grand Place, which is surrounded by magnificent historic buildings. Enjoy some free time to shop for souvenirs or relax at an outdoor cafe before a farewell dinner to toast the success of your trip. Overnight in Brussels. (BB, FD)
Day 14: Return to the U.S.
Transfer to the airport after breakfast for your return flight home. (BB)
*(BB) Buffet Breakfast * (D) Dinner * (WD) Welcome Dinner * (FD) Farewell Dinner
Catholic Heritage Tours does all the work of arranging travel, lodging, and Holy Masses. Your job is to enjoy the experience! Call us today at (800) 290-3876, or contact us online.