Day 1 Arrive in Paris, France.
Welcome to Paris! Check into your hotel. In the late afternoon, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions.
Day 2 Paris.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Champs-Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower (ticket not included). Visit the Basilica of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre Hill. Later, the architectural wonders of Notre Dame Cathedral, where the relics of the Passion of the Christ can be seen on the first Fridays of the month (April 03 & July 31 departures only). (B)
Day 3 Paris. Lisieux Excursion
. Travel to Lisieux and visit Les Buissonnets, family home of St. Therese. Attend Mass (French only) at the basilica. St. Therese was also known as “The Little Flower” and for her charming autobiography The Story of a Soul. Next, visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, where her family attended Mass, and the Carmelite Convent, where she lived as a nun. Return to Paris. (B,D)
Day 4 Paris.
A special visit has been included to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Shrine, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830. Then, visit the St. Vincent de Paul Shrine, where you can see the reliquary of the saint who has inspired thousands of charities and volunteers. (B)
Day 5 Paris–Poitiers.
This morning, travel south to the cobblestone city of Poitiers, strategically perched atop a rocky outcrop and surrounded by two rivers. Settled by the Romans and then residence to early Christians, the city is a showcase of historical Romanesque architecture, and is home to the second-oldest university in the country as well as the oldest surviving church in France. Enjoy a visit to the 4th-century baptistry of St. John with its ancient frescoes, baptismal fonts, and intricately carved sarcofagi dating from the 5th to the 7th centuries. Poitiers was also site of two pivotal military battles, making its role in French history significant. It was here in 732 AD that the Franks halted and turned back Muslim expansion into Europe, while in 1356 during the Hundred Years' War, French forces suffered a major defeat at the hands of skilled English archers. (B)
Day 6 Poitiers–Lourdes.
Travel to Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Visit the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. Join this evening’s memorable rosary and candlelight procession, held every night. (B,D)
Day 7 Lourdes.
Start the day attending the international Mass at the Basilica of St. Pius X. Then, join a Local Guide for a walking tour including visits to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine and St. Bernadette's birthplace and family home. You may wish to experience the powerful healing baths or attend the “Blessing of the Sick.” (B)
Day 8 At Leisure in Lourdes.
Full day at leisure to further explore Lourdes on your own or join an optional excursion to the nearby Pyrenees. (B,D)
Day 9 Lourdes–Carcassonne–Avignon.
First stop is Carcassonne, a medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, continue to Avignon. Enjoy a walk to the Palace of the Popes (entrance not included), residence of the papacy in the 14th century. (B,D)
Day 10 Avignon–Paray-Le-Monial–Nevers.
Following morning Mass in the Cathedral of Avignon (French only), travel to Paray-le-Monial, home to the Chapel of the Apparitions and where Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Also visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Continue to Nevers. (B,D)
Day 11 Nevers–Chartres–Paris.
Visit St. Gildard in Nevers, where St. Bernadette spent her life as a nun. See the beautiful and miraculously incorrupt body of St. Bernadette. Continue to Chartres and visit the Cathedral—a masterpiece of gothic architecture, one of Europe’s most celebrated shrines, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return to Paris for an overnight. (B)
Day 12 Paris.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)