French Saints Pilgrimage – Harvest Journeys Catholic Pilgrimages

French Saints Pilgrimage

Journey through mountainous villages and holy shrines on the footsteps of some of the greatest French Saints. From Paris and on into Lourdes, we weave a pilgrim trail south through the glorious countryside and most sacred regions of France.

Mont Saint-Michel, France

Itinerary

Paris (2 nights) • Rouen • Lisieux (2) • Mont-Saint-Michel (2) • Chartres • Nevers (1) • Taize • Paray le Monial (2) • Ars • La Salette (1) • Avignon (1) • Lourdes (3) • Montserrat (1) • Barcelona (1). Optional Rome extension (3 nights)

  • 18 Days / 16 Nights
  • Paris to Barcelona
  • Accompanied by Fr Dan Ryan
  • Daily Mass
  • Optional Tour ExtensionRome (3 nights)

Itinerary

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner

DAY 1WEDNESDAY 15 MAY 2024 – DEPART AUSTRALIA

DAY 2THURSDAY 16 MAY – ARRIVE PARIS

After our group arrival into Paris, we will be transferred to our hotel, with the remainder of the day a leisure.

Paris overnight (D)

DAY 3FRIDAY 17 MAY – PARIS

This morning we will visit and celebrate Mass in the Sacre Coeur built from 1875 to 1914, and one of the most imposing Basilicas in the Christian tradition, and Church of St Pierre du Montmartre, the second oldest surviving church in Paris.

We will visit 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 in the chapel here and adjacent to the altar of St Vincent de Paul displaying his incorrupt heart. Continue on to visit the Eiffel Tower, viewing the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees, Le Sainte-Chapelle, and a special visit to the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Finally, we stroll to the nearby Vincentian Fathers to pray in the chapel housing the bones of St Vincent de Paul.

Paris overnight (BD)

DAY 4SATURDAY 18 MAY - PARIS TO LISIEUX

After breakfast we travel to Rouen where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in the marketplace on 30 May 1431. We will celebrate Mass here at Rouen Cathedral and reflect upon her faith and courage before continuing 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’.

Lisieux overnight (BD)

DAY 5SUNDAY 19 MAY – LISIEUX

We set off today for a half day 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.

Mass should be celebrated in the Crypt of the Basilica before an afternoon of rest and reflection wandering the shrine and the township.

Lisieux overnight (BD)

DAY 6MONDAY 20 MAY – LISIEUX TO MONT-SAINT-MICHEL

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 7TUESDAY 21 MAY – 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 8WEDNESDAY 22 MAY – VIA CHARTRES TO NEVERS

This morning we depart Mont Saint Michel and travel to the great Cathedral city of Chartres where we enter inside the magnificent 13th century Chartres Cathedral, a medieval architectural wonder and home of the veil worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. The Holy Veil is exposed for all to see and venerate.

Inside we gaze upon stained glass majesty with more than five thousand figures depicting biblical stories and the lives of the saints, presenting to every pilgrim a vision of the heavenly city that awaits us. 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.

We then continue this afternoon to the town of Nevers nestled within the picturesque Loire Valley. We 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 eighteen apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, St Bernadette retired to Nevers where she died at the age of only 35. We will celebrate Mass here on arrival before checking into our hotel.

Nevers overnight (BD)

DAY 9THURSDAY 23 MAY - NEVERS TO PARAY LE MONIAL VIA TAIZE

Set off this morning to the Abbey of Cluny founded in 910 and once the centre of a monastic empire of 10,000 monks!

We journey to nearby Taize, the tiny hillside community in which young people from all over the world are drawn. Pope 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 this afternoon to Paray Le Monial, the place where St Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the 16th century.

Paray-le-Monial overnight (BD)

DAY 10FRIDAY 24 MAY - PARAY LE MONIAL & ARS

After breakfast, we begin our time here with a visit to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.

Highlights of our visit include the Chapel of Apparitions (for a special Mass), the room of the relics of St Margaret Mary, the Diorama of St Margaret and the Eucharist Museum.

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 11SATURDAY 25 MAY - PARAY LE MONIAL TO LA SALETTE

Departing Paray we set forth via Lyon and Grenoble along scenic beauty as we ascend high into the spectacular alpine pastureland on to the Shrine to Our Lady of La Salette. This is where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared weeping to the children Melanie and Maximin in 1846.

La Salette overnight (BD)

DAY 12SUNDAY 26 MAY - LA SALETTE TO AVIGNON

This morning we will enjoy a guided tour to the site of the apparitions marked by statues. Witness the spring that began to flow after the apparition occurred and later enjoy a video presentation telling the story of La Salette.

Continue onto Avignon for our overnight stay.

Avignon overnight (BD)

DAY 13MONDAY 27 MAY – AVIGNON TO LOURDES

We will enjoy a morning tour of Avignon featuring the Palace of the Popes who lived here from 1309 to 1377 (then, just outside the border of Southern France) due to the vulnerability of Rome. Among other sites we visit Petit Palais with it’s massive array of paintings and sculptures mostly 13th to 15th century Italian (including Botticelli).

This afternoon we continue onto Lourdes, set amidst the majestic Pyrenees. It was in this small town that Our Lady first appeared to St Bernadette in 1858.

Lourdes overnight (BD)

DAY 14TUESDAY 28 MAY – LOURDES

This morning we will celebrate a group Mass at the Grotto before meeting our guide for a walking tour of Lourdes including the Sanctuary area: Upper & Lower Basilicas, the Grotto, the Baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place.

Continue our visit of the main sites associated with St Bernadette including the Boly Mill where she was born in 1844, the original parish church and the Cachot (prison) where the family were forced to live due to misfortune during the time of the apparitions.

Free time this afternoon for a visit and prayers for the sick at the Baths where you may choose to submerge yourself in the healing waters. 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 an evening Torchlight Procession after dinner.

Lourdes overnight (BD)

DAY 15WEDNESDAY 29 MAY – LOURDES

We should celebrate an International Mass (date permitting) this morning with pilgrims worldwide in the immense Underground Basilica of Pius X followed by a visit to Bartres, 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 after a visit to the Lake for lunch (at own expense).

Enjoy a peaceful afternoon to rest or wander at your own pace or take the time to pray the life-sized copper Stations of the Cross overlooking the holy Grotto.

Optional Blessed Sacrament Procession and evening Torchlight Procession.

Lourdes overnight (BD)

DAY 16THURSDAY 30 MAY - LOURDES TO MONTSERRAT

We farewell Lourdes early this morning as we again journey through the Pyrenees, crossing the border back in to northern Spain.

Continue on to the town of Manresa for Mass where St Ignatius came on retreat for 11 months between 1522 and 1523. Each day he spent seven hours in prayer in a cave and then helped the sick in the village with the time he had left over. Here too, Ignatius began to develop the method for seeking God’s will and where he wrote his renowned Spiritual Exercises. We come as pilgrims to this amazing place with St Ignatius and pray in the actual cave where his life and spirituality developed.

We then arrive into stunning Montserrat. The renowned 11th century sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat lies at the top of a 4,000-foot-high mountain and is one of Spain’s most popular pilgrimage destinations. The shrine is home to a 12th century miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lovingly known as the “Black Madonna”, discovered in the Santa Cova or Holy Cave. Here at Montserrat, St Ignatius kept vigil with a coarse sackcloth and a pilgrim staff.

Time permitting, before dinner we will have an opportunity to join the Benedictine monks in the Basilica for the beautiful sounds of evening Vespers.

Montserrat overnight (BD)

DAY 17FRIDAY 31 MAY - MONTSERRAT TO BARCELONA

The spirit of Montserrat is a unique blend of the mountain, the sanctuary, and the life of monasticism. Around the sanctuary you will find many different banners and emblems representing various religious, cultural, social, financial and even sporting organisations.

Those who wish may rise early this morning to enjoy a walk down the sacred path passing modernist sculptures of the Mysteries of the Rosary (all worked on by Llimona and Gaudi among others). Almost hanging from the rock’s edge at the end of the route is the Chapel where the image of Our Lady of Montserrat was found by young shepherds in the 13th century after seeing a bright light which led them to the grotto.

Our spectacular day of pilgrimage includes a visit and Mass in the Basilica, the construction of which began in the 16th century, and a viewing of the beautiful Holy Image of Our Lady of Montserrat, known affectionately as the “Black Madonna.”

Continue on for a private guided tour of the museums.

Before lunch, we will take our place among the privileged to hear the heavenly sounds of the Montserrat Boys Choir (The Escolania), one of the oldest and most renowned in Europe.

In the afternoon we will travel to Barcelona, a city synonymous with art, culture and faith.

Barcelona overnight (BD)

DAY 18SATURDAY 01 JUNE - DEPART BARCELONA

Dates & Prices

TOUR DETAILS
Tour Code PV2445
Starts Wednesday, 15 May 2024
Finishes Saturday, 01 June 2024
Air & Land Cost AUD $11,890* Twin Share
Single Room AUD $2,330 Supplement
Prepaid Tips $306 Per Person
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* Costs are based on prices as at November 2023 and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, airfares, hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions for more details.

ROME EXTENSION
Starts Saturday, 01 June 2024
Finishes Tuesday, 04 June 2024
Cost Add-On AUD $2,190 Twin Share
Single Room AUD $690 Supplement
Prepaid Tips AUD $72 Per Person
INCLUSIONS

Airfares: Cost includes return economy class airfare Brisbane to Paris and return from Barcelona to Brisbane.

Accommodation & Meals: Based on Superior Standard / 4-Star accommodation throughout with breakfast and dinner daily. Wine with dinner.

Miscellaneous Inclusions: Fully Escorted by Priest Chaplain • Porterage at hotels • Harvest Backpack, Pilgrim Journal and Travel Wallet. Deluxe Air Conditioned Coach touring • Professional Local Guides • Sightseeing and Entrance Fees.

4 Day Post-Tour Optional Extension

Rome Extension

Roman Forum, Rome
St Peter's Basilica Vatican
Colosseum Rome

DAY 18SATURDAY 01 JUNE - DEPART BARCELONA FOR ROME

Today we will be transferred to the airport for flight connections to Rome. Upon arrival, we will enjoy an orientation drive through Rome to our place of accommodation. Before dinner, we shall celebrate our first group Mass together in the Eternal City, rich in the traditions of our Church.

Rome overnight (BD)

DAY 19SUNDAY 02 JUNE - ROME PILGRIMAGE

This morning we enter into the most visited attraction in Rome – the Colosseum. In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV declared the Colosseum a sacred site, as it was a place where early Christians had been martyred. View also the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum en route. Journey this afternoon out to the majestic Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. Originally consecrated in 324, the saint’s tomb is visible now under the Papal Altar. We will celebrate a wonderful Mass here as a special tribute to the Church’s greatest evangelist.

Continue then to the ancient Catacombs for a memorable guided tour to marvel at these underground burial tunnels for Christians and Hebrews. Return to our hotel for some free time.

This evening we will set out early to the lively Trastevere district and visit the lovely Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Stroll on to enjoy a wonderful Italian evening of food and traditional music at the infamous Da Meo Patacca restaurant.

Rome overnight (BD)

Day 20MONDAY 03 JUNE - ROME

We start our pilgrimage this morning with a spectacular Mass at St Peter’s Basilica before coming to the nearby Vatican Museums. Wander the spectacular chambers leading to the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo’s masterpieces, including the magnificent fresco of the Last Judgment. Continue through to the awe-inspiring St Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world for an informative exploration. Our guided tour will feature among other highlights Michelangelo’s stunning Pietà, the tomb of Pope St John Paul II, the great Confessional and the Crypt containing the tombs of several Popes.

Continuing on we visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica.

Onwards to the Basilica of St John in Lateran (First Papal residence) and the adjacent Holy Stairs brought from Jerusalem to Rome in 326AD by St Helena (as a favourite of pilgrims, these steps may only be ascended on the knees). Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme with its extraordinary collection of relics from the Holy Land. Enjoy a special dinner tonight at L’Eau Vive Restaurant – Meaning Living Water (from the Biblical scene of Jacobs Well). This fabulous French Restaurant is run by Carmelite Missionary.

Nuns who will actually sing the Ave Maria to us between courses!

Rome overnight (BD)

Day 21TUESDAY 04 JUNE - DEPART ROME (B)

  • “Words simply cannot describe the pilgrimage – you just have to go and experience it for yourself.”

    Anne Burrows-Jung
    Saints of France
  • A great deepening of faith, seeing and hearing of the lives of the saints and celebrating Mass in many special places”

    Stella Teg
    Saints of France

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