13 Days / 10 Nights – Paris to Lourdes
Journey along the pathways of some of the Church’s greatest Saints on this blessed pilgrimage route through the glorious countryside and most sacred regions of France.
Paris (2) / Notre Dame – Sacre Coeur – Rue du Bac / Rouen – Joan of Arc / Lisieux – St Therese / Mont Saint Michel (2) / Chartres Cathedral / Nevers – St Bernadette / Paray le Monial (2) – Sacred Heart / Taize / Cure de Ars / Rocamadour Shrine (1) / Toulouse / Lourdes Pilgrimage (3) / Return flight to Paris & Beyond
B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner
DAY 1: DEPART FOR FRANCE
DAY 2: ARRIVE PARIS
On arrival at Paris airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure.
While Paris is renowned for housing some of the world’s greatest treasures, we will come to discover too the spiritual riches on offer to pilgrims in this amazing city of contrasts.
Paris overnight (D)
DAY 3: PARIS
This morning we will visit and celebrate Mass in the awesome Sacre Coeur, built from 1875 to 1914, and one of the most imposing Basilicas in the Christian tradition. We continue on our pilgrimage through Paris with a special visit to the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
We come, then, to the Daughters of Charity in the Rue du Bac. This is the site where Our Lady appeared to Catherine Laboure in 1830, with the first Miraculous Medal being struck in 1832. Her incorrupt body lies under the altar of Our Lady, here in the chapel and adjacent to the altar of St Vincent de Paul displaying his incorrupt heart. Finally we stroll to the nearby Vincentian Fathers to pray in the chapel housing the bones of St Vincent de Paul.
This afternoon we commence our sightseeing tour of Paris including a visit to the Eiffel Tower, viewing the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees. Enjoy some time at leisure to take in the atmosphere of this beautiful city or for shopping.
Paris overnight (BD)
DAY 4: VIA LISIEUX TO MONT-SAINT-MICHEL
After breakfast we travel west to Lisieux, one of the world’s premier pilgrimage sites and home to St Therese, the ‘Little Flower’, whom Pope Pius X called ‘the greatest saint of modern times’. On arrival we enjoy a pilgrimage tour of Lisieux visiting the family home of Les Buissonets, the Carmelite Convent Chapel with its reliquary of the saint and St Therese’s Basilica.
We depart Lisieux, travelling on to the lovely island of Mont-Saint-Michel. According to legend, the archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, in 709 and instructed him to build a chapel on the rocky islet. Soon after, he sent a group of monks to live on the island (since replaced in 966 by the Benedictine Order who soon after constructed the Abbey). From the Middle Ages people have flocked to the abbey and were so struck by its beauty that they called this place “The Wonder Island”. Today it continues to be a major cultural and pilgrimage centre.
Mont-Saint-Michel overnight (BD)
DAY 5: MONT-SAINT-MICHEL
What looks like a castle out of a fairy tale is actually one of Christianity’s major pilgrimage sites. Surging from an infinite expanse of sand and waves, Mont-Saint-Michel is a marvellous work of both nature and mankind. In 1979 it was the first location in France to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today more than two million pilgrims and visitors travel to behold this awesome work of the Middle Ages, the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel.
This morning we will meet our guide for a tour of the island.
A climb up the steep narrow flight of steps called the Grand Degré is a prelude to the tour of the abbey. Once we have admired the construction, we can contemplate the incomparable beauty of the bay by going back down via the rampart walk.
A highlight of our visit here will be the Benedictine Abbey, which during the French Revolution was turned into a prison. We plan to join the community here for an inspiring chanted Mass. During our tour we will also see the Chapelle de Notre Dame sous Terre (Underground Chapel of Our Lady). It was built in the late 10th century in the very place that St Aubert erected the oratory in the 8th century.
Enjoy some free time this afternoon.
Mont-Saint-Michel overnight (BD)
DAY 6: VIA CHARTRES & NEVERS TO PARAY-LE-MONIAL
This morning we farewell Mont-Saint-Michel as our pilgrimage takes us on to the great Cathedral city of Chartres where we enter inside the magnificent 13th century Chartres Cathedral, a medieval architectural wonder and home to the Holy Veil, said to be worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. Pilgrims too will see the most famous labyrinth in the world, built around the year 1200 and sometimes called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem.
From here we continue our journey east to the town of Nevers nestled within the picturesque Loire Valley. Here we will celebrate Mass and visit the Convent of St Gildard where St Bernadette’s incorrupt body reposes and may be viewed. After she was blessed with the 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, St Bernadette retired to Nevers where she died at the age of only 35.
We continue our French immersion travelling on to Paray-le-Monial, the place where St Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the 17th century. In revealing His Heart to her, Jesus said:
"Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing but has been poured out totally and consumed as proof of its love”.
Paray-le-Monial overnight (BD)
DAY 7: PARAY-LE-MONIAL / TAIZE / ARS
After breakfast, we begin our time here with a visit to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.
We then set off for Taize, the tiny hillside community in which young people from all over the world are drawn. Pope St John Paul II referred to Taize as ‘that little springtime’ as pilgrims join in a common weekly programme of prayer meetings, discussion groups and meals. We join with the community for midday prayer, which is sung beautifully in the large candlelit church.
Continue on to Ars, the little village where St John Vianney known as the Cure of Ars was based and to where pilgrims from all over Europe flocked to see him. We will visit the small church contained within the Basilica that John Vianney built himself, view his incorrupt body and celebrate our group Mass here.
Paray-le-Monial overnight (BD)
DAY 8: PARAY-LE-MONIAL TO ROCAMADOUR
This morning we continue our guided visit of Paray-le-Monial featuring the Chapel of Apparitions for Mass, and the relics of St Margaret Mary. Other highlights include the Chapel of St Claude in honour of St Margaret Mary’s Spiritual Director.
We then farewell the city of the ‘Heart of Jesus’ and journey south-west this afternoon by coach to Rocamadour, the sacred city built stunningly against the side of a cliff.
According to legend, Rocamadour was the home of an early Christian hermit named Zaccheus of Jericho. It is believed that he died in about 70 AD and had conversed with Jesus himself. After the hermit's death and burial in Rocamadour, and even more so after the statue of the Black Madonna was brought here several centuries later, the site became a place of pilgrimage. The shrine is accessible from the town via an elevator or the Grand Escalier, a stairway of 216 weathered steps. From the Middle Ages many pilgrims have made the climb on their knees in penance. Along the way are 14 Stations of the Cross culminating in the Cross of Jerusalem at the top.
Remainder of the day at leisure. You may wish to climb the Grand Escalier or take the elevator from the lower town.
Rocamadour overnight (BD)
DAY 9: ROCAMADOUR TO LOURDES
This morning we will visit the Shrine of Rocamadour. Our group Mass will be celebrated at the Chapel of the Black Virgin where we have the opportunity also to pray before the miraculous Black Madonna statue. Other sites we will see include St Michael’s Chapel with its 12th century frescoes and St Amadour’s crypt.
We depart Rocamadour this afternoon, continuing our French immersion as we journey south to Lourdes. It was in this small town that Our Lady first appeared to St Bernadette in 1858.
Lourdes overnight (BD)
DAY 10: LOURDES
• Visit the village of Bartres where little Bernadette lived
• Participate in the memorable Evening Candlelight Procession
We celebrate an International Mass this morning with pilgrims worldwide in the immense Underground Basilica of Pius X (schedule permitting) followed by a visit to the little village of Bartres, and the farm where St Bernadette was nursed and later returned in adolescence to help her foster mother. We will visit the Sheepfold and the Parish Church where she spent so many hours in prayer.
We will return to Lourdes to enjoy a peaceful afternoon to rest, wander at your own pace or take the time to pray the Stations of the Cross with the life sized copper images which overlook the holy Grotto. Spend some quiet time perhaps reflecting at the Grotto with its chapel built over the place of the apparitions.
Optional Blessed Sacrament Procession and evening candlelight procession.
Lourdes overnight (BD)
DAY 11: LOURDES
• Mass at the Grotto of Apparitions
• Guided walking tour of Lourdes
• Opportunity to immerse in the miraculous Baths
This morning we will celebrate a group Mass at the Grotto – the site where young Bernadette experienced visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We then meet our guide for a walking tour of Lourdes including the Sanctuary area: Upper & Lower Basilicas, and the Baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place. See the Boly Mill where she was born in 1844, the original parish church and the Cachot (prison) where the family lived due to misfortune during the time of the apparitions.
Free time this afternoon for a visit and prayers for the sick at the miraculous Baths where the water has continued to flow since 1858. Pilgrims may choose to submerge themselves in the healing waters, or collect the Lourdes water at the taps. During her ninth apparition to Bernadette, Our Lady said “Go drink and wash yourself at the spring”. Optional afternoon Blessed Sacrament Procession and Blessing of the Sick before a final evening candlelight procession after dinner.
Note: Washing at the baths is a personally rewarding experience and is carried out in a dignified manner and with sensitivity to the privacy of each pilgrim.
Lourdes overnight (BD)
DAY 12: DEPART LOURDES
Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Paris and homebound or onward flight connections.
2017 DATES AND PRICES
Single Room Supplement: $980
NB: An additional mandatory prepaid tipping fund of $15 per day per person will be invoiced in advance by Harvest to avoid regular inconvenience to pilgrims on tour.
Full package based on departure from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth including all airline taxes and levies (subject to change).
Tour Only costs include local internal airfares between Start/End dates. Refer to our full price inclusions and Booking Procedures for more information.