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Shrines of France

Day 1 – USA…FRANCE
Depart from USA. Dinner and overnight aloft.

Day 2 – PARIS…LOURDES
Arrive at the PARIS airport and connect to your flight for LOURDES where you will be met by your Renaissance Group tour operator who will help transfer you to your hotel.  After resting, your escort will take you on an orientation walking tour of Lourdes.  A Welcome Dinner will be served at your hotel.  Overnight in your hotel.

Day 3 – LOURDES
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be escorted to the Grotto where Mass will be celebrated at the Chapel of St. Joan of Arc.  Lunch will be on your own.  Later you will meet up at your hotel from where you will start on a half-day walking tour of Lourdes, guided by your tour escort.  In the evening you will partake in the famed Candlelight Procession along the grounds of the Grotto.   Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 4 –LOURDES
After breakfast in your hotel, you will spend the day in Lourdes, visiting, praying, shopping, and celebrating Mass.  Lunch is on your own; but you will have dinner together at your hotel where you will also overnight.

Day 5 – LOURDES…PARIS
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will leave LOURDES to board your TGV train for PARIS, arriving in the early afternoon.  Check into your hotel, and enjoy a panoramic visit of the famous sites of the French capital which will include the Place Vendome, the Trocadero, Concorde and Bastille Squares, the Opera House, Champs-Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Pont Neuf, and the Luxembourg Gardens.  A dinner featuring Parisian gourmet dishes will be served at a local restaurant.  Overnight in your hotel.

Day 6 – PARIS…CHARTRES(optional)…PARIS
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be escorted by private coach to Rue du Bac for Mass at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal.  In the afternoon, for those so inclined, an optional tour will be offered to the city of CHARTRES.  Throughout the Middle Ages, the town had been a center for the cult of the Virgin where it was believed that a statue of Mary, reportedly carved by St. Luke, and what was known as the "sacred tunic," supposedly worn by the Virgin at the time of the birth of Christ, were being preserved.  The people of Chartres believed that these sacred relics acted as their protector. When the first "early Gothic" cathedral (as well as much of the town) burned in 1194, the rebuilding was considered futile, since the townspeople believed they had been deserted by their protector. However, a representative of the Pope persuaded the citizens to rebuild the cathedral.  Today, it is considered one of most beautiful cathedrals in France, defined as an exemplar of the "High Gothic" style. The facade, executed earlier (before the fire), is early Gothic.  The church is renowned for its breathtaking displays of stained-glass windows.  Return to PARIS to overnight in your hotel.

Day 7 – PARIS…NEVERS
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven to NEVERS.  Lunch will be waiting for you at a local restaurant after which you will be taken to the church for a viewing of the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette.  Bernadette Soubirous, born in Lourdes in 1844, was 14 when the Virgin appeared to her at the Rock of Massabielles.  In order to fulfill her desire for a religious life, Bernadette left her town for Nevers, arriving at St Gildard, the house of the Sisters of Charity, on July 7, 1866.  She had previously met the sisters at the hospice at Lourdes. She remained at Nevers, living in the congregation's Mother House for 13 years. Her simple and ordinary life was entirely consecrated to God.  Her body was first exhumed in 1909 and discovered to be intact and fresh.  She was exhumed again dozens of years later and found again to be intact.  Since 1925 her body has rested in a shrine within the chapel of St. Gildard where she has been viewed by millions of pilgrims.  She is remembered for having said, "I will not live one moment, unless I can spend it loving God.”  Return to PARIS where you will overnight in your hotel.

Day 8 – PARIS…LISIEUX…PARIS
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up for a full-day excursion to the city of LISIEUX which is the second most important pilgrimage town in France (after Lourdes) and is devoted to St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Admire the architectural edifices and witness a rich past of more than 2000 years of history.  Other stops will include the Cathedral of St. Peter where St. Therese regularly attended Holy Mass. Your Mass today will be celebrated at the Chapel of Mont Carmel followed by a lunch after which you will return to PARIS to overnight in your hotel.  

Day 9 – PARIS…PONTMAIN…PARIS
After breakfast at the hotel you will take an excursion to PONTMAIN the town where Our Lady appeared to little children on the evening of January 17, 1871.  Although two sons of the Barbadette family and several other children were able to see the apparition, the adults could see nothing.  The children described the lady they saw as wearing a blue gown covered with golden stars, and a black veil under a golden crown.  While the townspeople began reciting the Magnificat, the children cried out that a streamer was unrolling beneath the feet of the lady so that eventually the phrase, "But pray, my children," could be read.  As they continued to pray, more words were revealed until the message declared, "God will soon answer you," and “My Son allows Himself to be moved."  Of the Barbadette brothers, Joseph became a priest and Eùgene a secular priest. He was assisted by one of the girls who had seen Mary as his housekeeper, while another, Jeanne-Marie Lebossé, became a nun. A large basilica was built at Pontmain to commemorate the apparition and was consecrated in 1900.  Return to PARIS where you will overnight in your hotel.

Day 10 –  PARIS…USA
Buffet breakfast at hotel. Walk to the nearby Church of St. Roch for Farewell Mass at the Chapel of the Virgin. Back to your hotel for check-out and transfer by private coach to the Paris airport for departure to USA where you will arrive on the same day.

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