Abbeys and Great Women Saints of France

A 12-Day Pilgrimage to Northern France
September 1-12, 2019

Fr Dwight LongeneckerFr. Dwight Longenecker is the pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. A former Evangelical and Anglican priest, he is a popular blogger, author and conference speaker. Learn more about Fr. Longenecker at his website: dwightlongenecker.com.

 

 

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Itinerary:*

 

Day 1. Sunday, September 1: Transatlantic flight to Paris

 

Day 2. Monday, September 2: Paris

Welcome to France! Upon arrival into Paris, enjoy a panoramic view of this marvelous city. First, visit the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal and pray before the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Labouré, to whom Our Lady appeared in 1830 with a vision of the miraculous medal. Also pray before the incorrupt body of St. Louise de Marillac, co-founder, with St. Vincent de Paul, of the Daughters of Charity. Nearby, render homage to St. Vincent de Paul, patron saint of all charitable associations and father of those in misery. Afterwards, visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Montmartre, built on the site of the martyrdom of St. Denis and his companions. Continue to your hotel for a welcome dinner and overnight. (WD)

 

Day 3. Tuesday, September 3: Paris

Today’s sightseeing begins with a visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral, where Our Lord’s crown of thorns is now kept and exposed once a year on Good Friday, as well as a fragment of the true cross and a crucifixion nail. Admire the Sainte Chapelle, built by King St. Louis IX as a reliquary to house Our Lord’s crown of thorns and fragments of the true cross (now kept at Notre Dame). The rest of the day is free with an optional tour of the Musee d’Orsay. (BB)

 

Day 4. Wednesday, September 4: Paris – Vezelay – Nevers

Travel to Vezelay to visit the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene. With the saint’s relics, in the 11th century Vezelay became one of the most important holy places of the Christian world and a departure point for the Way of St. James pilgrimage. Then, head to Convent of St. Gildard in Nevers to pray before the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette of Lourdes, miraculously preserved since her death in 1879. She lived here for 12 years as a member of the Congregation. Throughout her life, she suffered from and eventually died of asthma at the age of 35. Afterwards, continue to your hotel for dinner and overnight in Nevers. (BB, D)

 

Day 5. Thursday, September 5: Nevers: Excursion to Autun & Paray-le-Monial

This morning, journey east to the Cathedral of St. Lazarus in Autun, built to house the relics of St. Lazarus of Aix, which were believed to be those of Lazarus of Bethany, who was raised from the dead by Our Lord. Head to Paray-le-Monial, home of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our Lord gave her the Twelve Promises of His Sacred Heart and the devotion of the nine First Fridays. Visit the Monastery of the Visitation, which houses her relics. Then, in the Chapel of St. Claude de la Colombiere, venerate this saint, who helped spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart and was the confessor, friend, and confidant to St. Margaret Mary. Overnight in Nevers. (BB, D)

 

Day 6. Friday, September 6: Nevers – Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire – Chartres

On your way to Chartres, stop in the town of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, renowned for the Fleury Abbey, its Benedictine abbey founded in the 7th century. The crypt contains the relics of St. Benedict of Nursia, founder of Western monasticism and patron saint of Europe. Continue to Chartres to see its majestic Cathedral, which holds the Veil of Our Lady, miraculously preserved during a fire in 1194. Visit the crypt and admire the glorious collection of over 150 stained-glass windows, illustrating biblical passages and daily life in the 13th century. Dinner and overnight in Chartres. (BB, D)

 

Day 7. Saturday, September 7: Chartres – Mont-Saint-Michel

Journey to Mont-Saint-Michel, encircled by the sea, and one of the most enchanting sights in France. In 709, St. Michael the Archangel appeared to the bishop of Avranches, St. Aubert, and told him to build a chapel in his honor on the island. Walk along the Grande Rue, the pilgrims’ route followed since the 12th century, now crowded with shops and restaurants. Visit the church, La Merveille, and the Cloisters. The rest of the day is free with an independent dinner. Overnight in Mont-Saint-Michel. (BB)

 

Day 8. Sunday, September 8: Mont-Saint-Michel – Coutances – Caen

Head north to Coutances to visit its Cathedral, erected during the early 13th century and one of the most famous jewels of Gothic art in Normandy. Continue east to Caen to visit the Ladies’ Abbey, a Benedictine abbey founded by William the Conqueror’s wife Matilda. William, in turn, founded the Men’s Abbey, a masterpiece of Norman-Romanesque architecture. The 11th-century monastic buildings are now home to the headquarters of the Lower Normandy Regional Council. Queen Matilda is laid to rest in the Church of the Holy Trinity in the Women’s Abbey. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy this beautiful city. Dinner is on your own. Overnight in Caen. (BB)

 

Day 9. Monday, September 9: Caen: Excursion to the Normandy Beaches & Bayeux

Visit the Normandy beaches where the Allied forces invaded France during WWII. See Omaha Beach; Pointe du Hoc, the German battery attacked by US rangers; and the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, where 9,387 Americans soldiers are buried. After a short drive, reach Bayeux, home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066. According to the legend, the tapestry was made by Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror. Finally, visit the Norman-Romanesque and Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, consecrated in 1077, and the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry. Return to Caen for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 10. Tuesday, September 10: Caen – Lisieux

Leave Caen and travel east to Lisieux, home of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, whom Pope St. Pius X called “the greatest saint of modern times.” Visit the Cathedral of St. Peter, where St. Therese made her first communion and confession. Pray before her relics and those of her saintly parents at the Basilica of St. Therese. Visit Les Buissonets, her family home, and the Carmel Chapel where her relics are enshrined. Dinner and overnight in Lisieux. (BB, D)

 

Day 11. Wednesday, September 11: Lisieux – Rouen – Paris

Travel along the charming French countryside to Rouen. The city tour includes the Place du Vieux Marche where St. Joan of Arc was burned alive at the stake by the English in 1431. Then, visit the medieval Cathedral housing many tombs of Norman Dukes and Cardinals of Amboise, and the Jeanne d’Arc Museum. Continue to Paris for a farewell dinner and overnight. (BB, FD)

 

Day 12. Thursday, September 12: Return to USA

Transfer to Paris international airport for your homebound flight.

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

* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.

For more information, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours.

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