La France Catholique
Lourdes, Rocamadour, Le Puy-en-Velay, Avignon, & Paris
This is one of our sample pilgrimage itineraries. These itineraries require a minimum of 10 passengers.
To arrange a pilgrimage like this for your church or group, to this or many other destinations, please call us or email . We'd be happy to put together an itinerary that's just right for your group, including international flights from your home city.
|Itinerary at a Glance
La France Catholique
|5||Lourdes, Carcassonne & Rocamadour|
|7||Rocamadour & Le Puy-en-Velay|
|8||Le Puy-en-Velay & Avignon|
|10||Avignon & Paris|
|11||Paris, Chartres & Paris|
|12||Paris, Chartres & Paris|
|Highlights||Lourdes Shrine, Carcassonne, Rocamadour, Avignon, Chartres, Notre Dame and Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Paris|
France has long played a central role in the Catholic faith, and its holy places are sure to leave a lasting impression on any pilgrim. Be inspired by the miraculous wonders of Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette when she was a young girl. Stand in awe of the dramatic churches and landscapes of Rocamadour and Le Puy-en-Velay. Explore the history of Avignon, once the heart of Christendom. Honor the Sancta Camisa, the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth, in Chartres. Top it all off with a visit to the most sacred sites of Paris, including Notre Dame and the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. Just don’t wait too long to book—a journey this fascinating at prices this low will sell out quickly!
Day 2, Tuesday: Lourdes. Welcome to Lourdes, the oldest Marian shrine in Europe! After going through customs, transfer to your hotel next to the shrine for check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure until meeting other members of the group for a welcome dinner. (D)
Day 3, Wednesday: Lourdes. In 1858, Lourdes was just a sleepy market town. Then the Virgin Mary appeared 18 times to Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl. The apparitions turned the town into the world’s most evocative and popular pilgrimage site, and in 1933 Bernadette was canonized. Start your day by exploring the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, the centerpiece of which is the cave, or Grotto, where the apparitions occurred. Here too are the baths in which 400,000 pilgrims seeking cures immerse themselves each year. You will also visit the underground basilica of St. Pius X, the Basilica of the Rosary, the crypt, and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (the Upper Basilica), all contained within the sanctuary. Afterwards, learn about St. Bernadette’s life at the Moulin de Boly, where she was born; the Parish Church, where she was baptized; the former prison, where she lived during the apparitions; and the hospice where she was a pupil and made her First Communion. Rest of the day is at leisure. After dinner you may wish to join the always stirring Torchlight Marian Procession, starting from the Grotto. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4, Thursday: Lourdes. Day at leisure and for individual activities. You may wish to attend Mass at one of many places of worship in Lourdes, visit St. Bernadette’s Museum, walk the Way of the Cross, attend the Blessed Sacrament Procession in the afternoon, or drink and bathe in the Holy Water that flows from a spring in the Grotto. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 5, Friday: Lourdes, Carcassonne & Rocamadour. After breakfast depart for Carcassonne, the greatest fortress city in France and Europe. After sightseeing and lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Rocamadour for dinner and overnight stay. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 330 miles and take approximately 6 hours.
Day 6, Saturday: Rocamadour. For centuries Rocamadour has been one of the most dramatic pilgrimage destinations, attracting faithful from all over the world who come to pray to the Black Madonna and honor the miracles that took place here. Carved into the face of a cliff, the city looks like it is hanging on the edge of the desolate gorge beneath. After climbing up the weathered Great Staircase, you will reach a cluster of churches that comprise the religious center of the town. The highlight of your day, without a doubt, will be a visit to the Notre Dame Chapel, home to the Black Madonna. You will then have time to explore this breathtaking and mysterious medieval town on your own. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 7, Sunday: Rocamadour & Puy-en-Velay. After Sunday Mass and a delicious lunch, travel to Le Puy-en-Velay, which is the traditional starting point of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Sightseeing en route. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 230 miles and take approximately 4½ hours.
Day 8, Monday: Puy-en-Velay & Avignon. Volcanic spires crowned with Romanesque churches and overlooking medieval buildings on the plain below make Le Puy-en-Velay one of the most thrilling sites in France. This Marian sanctuary holds special meaning for pilgrims about to embark on strenuous journey to Santiago de Compostela, and for that reason it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your sightseeing tour will include the town’s cathedral, built as a shelter and prayer site for these pilgrims. Continue to Avignon, “the City of Popes,” for dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 135 miles and take approximately 3½ hours.
Day 9, Tuesday: Avignon. Once the heart of Christendom, Avignon boasts a treasury of splendid art and architecture, none grander than the immense Papal Palace, which served as the papal seat of power between 1309 – 1377 and as home to the antipopes during the Catholic schism. Begin your exploration of Avignon’s heritage at the Romanesque Notre Dame des Domes, notable for the gilded statue of the Virgin Mary that tops the western tower. Inside the cathedral, the mausoleum of Pope John XXII is a remarkable example of a 14th-century Gothic carving. The cathedral, however, is almost dwarfed by the Papal Palace, your next stop. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the world’s largest Gothic palace, built when Pope Clement V abandoned Rome in 1309. You will see the pope’s apartment, admire the beautiful frescoes that adorn the palace’s chapels and Great Audience Hall, and wander through vast hallways and courtyards. At the end of your tour of Avignon, you can walk around the medieval ramparts that encircle the city. The rest of the day is at leisure. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 10, Wednesday: Avignon & Paris. After breakfast we will board the TGV train, one of the fastest trains in the world, for our journey to Paris. Upon arrival transfer to your hotel. In the evening enjoy a Paris-by-night tour. Breakfast provided.
Our journeys today will cover 463 miles and take approximately 2¾ hours.
Day 11, Thursday: Paris. Today enjoy a tour of historic Paris, with a focus on Catholic sites such as Notre Dame, the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, and the Sacred Heart Basilica and St. Vincent de Paul. You will also visit landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde, and Montmartre. Rest of the day is free for you to explore this great city on your own. Breakfast provided.
Day 12, Friday: Paris, Chartres & Paris. This morning, travel to Chartres, a town nearby Paris made famous by the remarkable Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. Here you will be able to celebrate Mass, walk the Cathedral’s great labyrinth and honor the Sancta Camisa, an invaluable relic said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth. Return to Paris after lunch for an afternoon at leisure. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Our journeys today will cover 120 miles and take approximately 2½ hours.
Day 13, Saturday:Paris/USA. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Breakfast provided.