D1 Paris (20 km)
Welcome on arrival and transfer to Paris. Guided sightseeing tour including the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, La Concorde – the capital’s largest square, the Paris Opera and the Latin Quarter. Take to the majestic River Seine to admire the city’s monuments from aboard one of the popular ‘bateau-mouche’. Dinner and overnight in Paris.
D2 Paris (20 km)
Guided tour of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (mass may be attended), and the ‘Ile de la Cité’, home to the capital’s famous Notre-Dame Cathedral. Lunch at your leisure then free time to explore the historic and colourful Montmartre district and the imposing Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Dinner and overnight.
D3 Paris – Lisieux – Mont Saint Michel (360 km)
Depart for Lisieux to discover the famous Basilica dedicated to Saint Thérèse, consecrated in 1954. Most of the interior of the church and the crypt are decorated with mosaics evoking the spiritual message of the Saint and her confidence in the infinite Love of God. Free time for lunch before leaving for the Mont Saint Michel in time to watch the sunset over the bay. Dinner and overnight in the vicinity of Saint Malo.
D4 Mont Saint Michel – Tours (275 km)
Guided tour of the Mont Saint Michel and Abbey, one of the most visited spiritual sites in France and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Abbey and ‘Merveille’, or monks living quarters, a protected monument in France, were erected on the site where the Archangel Michael appeared before Bishop Aubert of Avranches. Lunch at your leisure before leaving for Tours. Dinner and overnight in the Tours region.
D5 Tours and the châteaux de Chenonceau and Villandry (90 km)
Discover the delights of Tours aboard a Tourist Train with running commentary as you traverse the old town with its half-timbered houses, mediaeval buildings in ‘place Plumereau’, narrow alleys and craft boutiques, the ‘via Turonensis’ – one of the four French pilgrim routes to St James at Compostela, and the Basilica of St. Martin, also known as St. Martin the Merciful (mass may be attended). Free time for lunch and to visit the chateau de Chenonceau, home to the ladies of the Royal Court. A jewel of Renaissance architecture, the chateau is famous for its arched bridge across the river and beautiful French style gardens. Continue to Villandry, one of the last great Renaissance chateau to be built on the banks of the Loire with exquisite ornamental flower and vegetable gardens. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
D6 Tours – Limoges – Rocamadour (370 km)
Direction Limoges to visit the renowned Bernardaud porcelain factory (weekdays only) and experience the creative techniques and gestures used to produce fine Limoges porcelain. Lunch at your leisure then continue to Rocamadour. Guided tour of spectacular Rocamadour – setting off from the Hospitalet atop the cliffs, walk the pilgrim route down to the mediaeval city then climb the grand pilgrim’s staircase to reach the shrines and chapels, home of the famous Black Madonna. Dinner and overnight in the Rocamadour region.
D7 Rocamadour – Toulouse – Lourdes (340 km)
Set off for Toulouse, the ‘pink city’, with its proliferation of red-brick buildings. Your guided coach tour takes in the main city hub – La Capitole square and main avenues, Saint Sernin Basilica, the 16th century Renaissance mansion the hôtel Assézat, the Canal du Midi which runs all the way to the Mediterranean and Saint-Etienne Cathedral. Lunch at your leisure then visit the Saint-Sernin Basilica (mass may be attended). Enjoy some free time before departing for Lourdes for dinner and overnight.
D8 Holy Shrines and Sanctuaries of Lourdes
Guided tour of the Marian city of Lourdes, the Cave of the Apparitions – site of Bernadette’s visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the various different churches. Lourdes is the third most important Catholic place of pilgrimage after the Vatican and Guadalupe in Mexico. Lunch may be taken at your leisure and the afternoon is free for you to explore. After dinner, take part in the Torchlight Marian Procession which sets off from the grotto. Overnight in Lourdes.
D9 Lourdes – Nîmes and the Pont du Gard – Avignon (530 km)
Leave for Nîmes. Lunch at your leisure then a sightseeing tour of Nimes taking in the Roman Amphitheatre, the ‘Maison carrée’ – one of the best preserved Roman temples anywhere, the Great Tower – remnant of the Augustan fortifications, and the delightful 18th century Fountain Gardens. Continue to Avignon stopping en route to admire the spectacular Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge which carried spring water from Uzès to Nîmes, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dinner and overnight in Avignon.
D10 Avignon – Lyon (230 km)
Guided walking tour in the historic centre of Avignon, onetime seat of the Papacy dominated by its imposing Papal Palace. Leave for Lyon with a stop for lunch at your leisure en route. Enjoy a guided tour of this ancient capital of Gaul covering the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière dominating the hill and district of the same name, the heart of the city or ‘presqu’île’ between the two rivers, picturesque old Lyon with its narrow streets, inner courtyards, and ‘traboules’ or corridors linking two streets through a building. Dinner and overnight in Lyon.
D11 Lyon – Ars – Paray le Monial – Nevers (265 km)
Set off for Ars to visit the Shrine of St. John Vianney, beloved parish-priest of Ars and patron saint of parish priests. Then continue to Paray le Monial, much-frequented place of pilgrimage after the visitations of the Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary. Lunch at your leisure then a guided tour of the Basilica and cloister, continuing through Paray and visiting the Chapel of the Apparitions, Chapel of Claude la Colombière, the Renaissance style Town Hall and the Saint Nicholas Tower. Journey on to Nevers for dinner and overnight.
D12 Nevers – Chartres Cathedral – Paris (355 km)
In Nevers, visit the reliquary where the body of Bernadette Soubirous is preserved in the St Gildard Convent. The eldest daughter of a miller from Lourdes whose family fortunes declined with the arrival of steam power, Bernadette is best known for her 18 visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858. Leave for Chartres with lunch at your leisure en route. Guided tour of Chartres old city with its beautiful buildings, cobbled streets, restful riverside setting and religious monuments dominated by the magnificent Cathedral. Continue on to Paris for diner and overnight.
Transfer. End of services.
Local coach for transfers and excursions as per itinerary
Accommodation sharing a twin/double room in 3/4* hotels as per itinerary
12 days Half-board
Guided Tours: Paris (2x3h), Mont St Michel Abbey (1h), Rocamadour (1h), Toulouse (1h30), Lourdes (1h30), Avignon (1h30), Lyon (2h), Paray le Monial (1h), Chartres (1h30)
Entrance Fees: Mont St Michel Abbey, Château de Chenonceau, Villandry Gardens, Bernardaud Factory, St Sernin Basilica, Espace Bernadette Soubirous (reliquary of Saint Bernadette), Chartres Cathedral
Seine River Cruise by bateau mouche (1h)
Tourist Train ride in Tours