Tour ItineraryDay 1: Departure from the USA A pilgrimage is a journey toward holiness (Scott Peck, In Search of Stones). Our tour begins with an overnight flight to Paris, France Day 2: Paris (D) So this is a culture that has really determined my personal theological and human development. I love France and the great French culture. (Pope Benedict on his visit to Paris) Upon arrival in Paris we meet our Faith Journeys tour manager who will accompany us on a panoramic tour of Paris where we’ll see such thrilling sights as the Eiffel Tower, the L’Arc de Triomphe (the triumphal arch honors those who have fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars and World War I.), and one of the most famous streets in the world: the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. We’ll also see the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacré-Cœur), where we will celebrate Mass, located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, at the highest point in the city. Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone which constantly exudes calcite and ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, is among the largest in the world. Before dinner and another overnight stay in the “Illuminated City”, we’ll explore the quaint area where many famous artists had studios or worked such as Salvador Dali, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Tonight enjoy a sumptuous welcome dinner with your fellow pilgrims. Dinner and overnight in Paris. Day 3: Miraculous Medal, St. Vincent de Paul & Notre Dame (B,D) God has plans for you (The words spoken by St. Vincent-de-Paul in St Catherine Labouret’s dream). A day in “The Illuminated City” awaits us! We’ll first celebrate Mass at The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, site of three apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1830. Just around the corner on rue des Sevres is the Chapel of the Vincentians where we visit the Tomb of St. Vincent de Paul, a shining example of love for the poor. We continue our tour with a visit to Notre Dame, a beautiful cathedral begun in 1163 and mostly completed by 1250. Next we visit Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel), a 13th-century Gothic chapel on the Île de la Cité, in the heart of the City of Light. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure to explore Paris’ many interesting sites on your own. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Paris. Day 4: Beauvais & Amiens (B,D) Let us pray to see the “big picture” and with “eyes of faith” today. “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. (Luke 24:31) Today we will visit two of France’s grandest cathedrals. Northeast of Paris lays the small town of Beauvais where we visit the incomplete Cathedral of St. Peter of Beauvais. Our journey continues to Amiens. Amiens Cathedral, in the heart of Picardy, is one of the largest classic 13th-century Gothic churches. We’ll celebrate Mass in the Amiens Cathedral. After lunch on your own there will be ample time to explore the old town on your own before we travel to Lisieux to check-in to our hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 5: Therese of Lisieux & Chartres (B,D) In May 1887, Thérèse approached her 63-year old father, Louis, recovering from a small stroke, while he sat in the garden and told him that she wanted to celebrate the anniversary of “her conversion” by entering Carmelite Convent. Louis got up, gently picked a little white flower, root intact, and gave it to her, explaining the care with which God brought it into being and preserved it until that day. Therese later wrote: “while I listened I believed I was hearing my own story.” To Therese, the flower seemed a symbol of herself, “destined to live in another soil.” Known as The Little Flower of Jesus. Therese felt an early call to religious life and at the early age of 15 became a nun in the enclosed Carmelite community of Lisieux. We begin our day by celebrating Mass at the Tomb of St. Therese in the Chapel of the Carmelite Monastery. We’ll also visit the family house and the great Basilica of Saint Therese. Later this morning we drive south to Chartres to visit its magnificent cathedral. Chartres Cathedral has been a major pilgrimage destination since the early Middle Ages and has a spirit of holiness that impresses even the most resolute of nonbelievers. We’ll check-in to our hotel in Chartres for dinner and overnight. Day 6: Bourges Cathedral & Paray-le-Monial (B,D) “One cannot love without suffering. He [Jesus] showed us this very clearly upon the cross, where He was consumed for love of us. And it is still the same every day in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar… Since love makes lovers one in likeness, if we love, let us model our lives on His.” (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque) On our way to Paray-le-Monial we stop in Bourges to visit its magnificent 13th century cathedral which is dedicated to St. Stephen. William of Donjeon was the Archbishop of Bourges from 1200 until his death in 1209 and was canonized by the Pope in 1218 as St William of Bourges. By the middle of the afternoon we arrive in Paray-le- Monial, home to St. Margaret Mary and the shrine of the Sacred Heart, and visit the Church of St. Claude de Colombière and the Chapel of the Visitation where St. Margaret Mary received her visions. We’ll check-in to our hotel in Paray-le-Monial for dinner and overnight. Day 7: Cluny & Ars-sur-Formans (B,D) “The soul hungers for God, and nothing but God can satiate it. Therefore He came to dwell on earth and assumed a Body in order that this Body might become the Food of our souls.” (St. John Vianney). This morning we make our way to Cluny to visit the Benedictine monastery. The Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy was the center of a major monastic movement in the Middle Ages. We take a tour of the remains of the great abbey and then continue our pilgrimage to the town of Ars, home of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests. We visit the basilica that houses St. John Vianney’s incorrupt body, and then continue to the Chapel of Our Lady of Ars, one of the favorite devotions of St. John, where we will also celebrate Mass. In the afternoon we journey through the beautiful countryside and wine country of Burgundy to the shores of Annecy and check-in to our hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 8: St. Francis de Sales (B,D) “You lean to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so you learn to love God and man by loving. Begin as a mere apprentice and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master of the art.” (St. Francis de Sales) This morning we’ll visit Annecy Castle, which was built between the 12th and 16th centuries and served as the residence of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours. Our spiritual focus in Annecy is St. Francis de Sales, who believed that whatever God had in store for him was good, because “God is love”, as the scriptures attest. While in Annecy, we’ll tour the Monastery of the Visitation & Basilica, co-founded by St. Francis de Sales along with Chantal. Many miracles have been reported at his shrine. In the afternoon we take a short drive to the village of Thorens, where we’ll celebrate Mass at the De Sales Chapel and visit Chateaux Thorens, the ancient family residence of the De Sales family. After a full day of sightseeing and much to contemplate, we’ll return to our hotel in Annecy for dinner and overnight. Day 9: The French & Swiss Alps (B,D) “There can be no ecumenism worth of the name without a change of heart. For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity toward them…” (Saint John Paul II) We’ll drive through the picturesque Arve Valley from Annecy to Chamonix, one of the most famous mountain villages at the foot of the remarkable and majestic Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak at 15,771 feet above sea level. Explore on your own or take a cable-car to the peak of the Aiguille du Midi or the electric railway to the Mer de Glace vantage point. Later, we’ll travel via the Mont Blanc Tunnel into Italy to the ski village of Courmayeur. At the top enjoy amazing vistas of the surrounding mountains before descending into the valley and returning to Annecy for our final dinner together and overnight at our hotel. Day 10: Return Home (B) We will let the power of the holy shrines and priceless relics settle over us, then like other pilgrims of other times, go back to our lives with renewed faith and readiness. With hearts full of gratitude and memories for a lifetime, we transfer to the Geneva, Switzerland airport for the return flight home to the USA
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a rare and privileged event. Every person of faith should make such a trip a priority in one's life. However, great care is needed to make sure the experience reflects the intent of the traveler. Without careful planning, advanced preparation and attention to details while in the Holy Land, the pilgrimage can fall short of expectations. Faith Journey's is a trusted, experienced partner who can make sure your journey is a critical step towards a deeper communion with Our Savior and his people.