75th Anniversary of D-Day, Normandy Beaches & Lourdes
Spiritual Director: Fr. Eugeniusz Grytner
June 8 - 19, 2019
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located First Class hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 2 Nights: Pullman Hotel, Paris
- ~ 4 Night: Mercure Caen Centre Port de Plaisance, Caen
- ~ 1 Night: Hotel Mercure Rouen Champ de Mars, Rouen
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Tips to Hotel Staff and Restaurants
- Mass Daily with a *Special* Mass at the Chapel of the Normandy American Cemetery
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Tips to your guide and driver.
Sun, June 9: Depart for Paris
Make your way to your local Airport where you will board your overnight flight. Your meals are served on board.
Mon, June 10: Arrive in Paris
Upon arriving to Paris airport, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall where you will be greeted by your driver, who will transfer you to meet your Spiritual Director, Tour Escort and fellow pilgrims. Attend Mass at the magnificent, Sacre Coeur Basilica that stands atop Montmartre Hill. The Basilica that is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was originally built in 1914, as an act of penance for infidelity that France was experiencing during that time. While on your visit, in addition to the extraordinary artwork and architecture that forms the Basilica, you will see the beautiful mosaic of the Risen Christ, the remarkable Grand Organ. Celebrate Mass at the Crypt that contains the Tombs of many notable Cardinals. Time permitting you may have the opportunity during your free time to ascend a staircase to the Dome where you will take in a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Paris. Make your way to your Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Tue, June 11: Paris: Full Day Tour
Today, you will enjoy a full sightseeing tour of Paris. After breakfast, you will visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where you will view the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure. The Saint's guardian angel led her to the chapel where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. During apparitions, Our Lady repeatedly instructed the making and purpose of the Miraculous Medal as well as, the green scapular. According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, those who wear the Miraculous Medal and scapular will receive special protection and abundant graces. Following your prayerful and reflective experience at this elegant chapel, you will begin your sightseeing tour of Paris. After Mass we will walk to Saint Vicent de Paul Church. Continuing our day with a visit of the Notre Dame Cathedral, a perfect example of Gothic art. Our panoramic sightseeing tour via motor coach continues on to the most recognizable symbol of the city of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Historically, the Tower's original intent was to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution but, later assisted in meteorology, telegraphy of World War I, radio, and television. Pass by the L'Arch de Triomphe, a monument that symbolizes gratitude for those who fought for France. This monument stands at the West end of the Champ-Elysees, one of the world's most famous boulevards and another one of our stops on the sightseeing tour. You will see the ever famous, Louvre Museum. This Museum is one of the finest in the world and contains a number of pieces that truly emanate not only French art but also, European culture. Your fun-filled, busy day ends with a lovely meal and a very comfortable overnight.
Wed, June 12: Paris - Lisieux - Caen
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast and then depart for Lisieux. According to Pope Pius X, St. Therese of Lisieux was the "greatest saint of modern times." Her extraordinary love for God and service to humanity will come alive as you walk in the great Saint's footsteps. During your visit, you will see the beautiful Basilica of St. Therese, and the magnificent mosaics and stained glass that are contained within. From there we will continue on to Caen, one of the oldest university towns in France - final resting place of William the Conquerer, and home to Cateau de Caen, one of the largest medieval complexes in Europe. We will arrive in time for dinner and overnight.
Thu, June 13: Caen - Utah Beach - Sainte Marie du Mont - Carentan - Pointe du Hoc - Caen
Following breakfast, you will board your bus and make your way to the Utah Beach Landings. This is the stretch of the Normandy coastline where the song of President Teddy Roosevelt came ashore, leading the first assault wave. This invasion beach saw the least casualties of all the five invasion beaches on D-Day. Continue on to Sainte Marie "Of The Hill" - standing on the edge of the pleateau and overlooking the Douve river mouth. The tall bell tower of the medieval church offered an incredible observation post to the German Army. Four miles away from the Utah Beach, this became a priority for the 101st Airborne. It was here that General Taylor himself, and his troops managed to prevent attacks from the south. Make a short drive to Carentan, a little town that became a top strategic move for both sides of World War II, as it was the main bridge, railway, and roads to get in or out of the Cherbourg Peninsula. From there, we will end todays tours with a stop at Pointe du Hoc - the best introduction for D-Day. One of the largest German coastal batteries, that was conquered by scaling a 100 foot cliff. This German battery will put you right in the atmosphere: the beach, the cliff, the bunkers, and the bomb craters. Led by Sgt. Lomell and S/Sgt Kuhn, this mission was completed in approximately two (2) hours. Return to Caen for dinner and overnight.
Fri, June 14: Caen - Omaha Beach - American Cemetery - Overlord Museum - Caen
Today is a day you will have in your heart and mind for many years. After breakfast, we will make our way to Omaha Beaches. Four miles long, it was by far the hardest place to land on D-Day. On June 6th, 1944, American troops were given the mission of securing this beach, in an effort to land Allied troops along five points on the coast of Normandy. Due to the extreme forces from the tide, mixed with a German defense that was stronger than anticipated, America suffered massive losses - to the extent of 2,400 casualties in one day. After time, this landing became a success with the help of 34,000 troops securing the area for the Allies. It was from this moment, that World War II began to come to an end. From here, we will make our way to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial - the most visited cemetery in the world (next to Arlington.) It is the final resting place of nearly 9,000 soldiers. From the Memorial, Reflecting Pool, the Chapel, and the Visitor Center. The American flag flies here, as France conceded the land to the Americans, and it is considered U.S. soil. Continue over to the Overlord Museum, which chronicles the period of the Allied landing until the liberation of Paris. Return to Caen for dinner and overnight.
Sat, June 15: Caen - Saint Mere Eglise - Airborne Museum - Caen
Start the day with breakfast, and then board your bus to Saint Mere Eglise - the Memorial to John Steele, the American paratrooper who was caught on this Church steeple the night of June 6th, 1944. To this day, his parachute still hangs from that steeple. This sets the tone, as we continue on to the Airborne Museum. This museum takes you into the very heart of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions in the early hours of June 6th. One of the biggest features, is the life-sized scene depicting a stick of paratroopers belonging to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. We will return to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Sun, June 16: Caen - Rouen
Following breakfast, we will make our way to Rouen, located between Paris and Sea. It became the second richest city of the kingdom of France. Rouen Cathedral, crowned the highest spire in France, is a work of gothic art. Monet was so fascinated by the facade that he painted it about thirty (30) times, in different types of weather, and at different hours of the day. Walk along the cobblestone streets of the city, that haven't changed all that much since the middle ages and Renaissance times. See the Big Clock, which is an emblem of Rouen, and the Market Square where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake by the English during the Hundred Years War. Visit the modern St. Joan of Arc Church, built as a shrine for the beautiful stained glasses of the destroyed St. Vincent Church. You will have some free time before we check in to our Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Mon, June 17: Rouen - Paris to Lourdes
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to the Charles de Gaul Airport for your flights to Lourdes, Toulouse, or Pau. Upon arrival, you will make your way to baggage claim, and then exit to the Arrivals Hall where you will be met by your Guide/Driver. As you board the bus, you will make your way to Lourdes. Take in the spectacular view of the Pyrenees Mountains. Upon arrival in Lourdes, you will check-in to your hotel and enjoy a splendid dinner and peaceful overnight.
Tue, June 18: Lourdes
Over the next two days, you will wake up in a small town that is nestled within the Pyrenees Mountains. During your time in Lourdes, you will pray and meditate in yet another site of Our Lady's apparitions. Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in 1858, and announced herself as "The Immaculate Conception", near the Grotto of Massabielle. At the first two apparitions, little Bernadette prayed the Rosary with Our Lady and left without any exchange of words. During the following apparitions, Our Lady emphasized God's love for us, penance and the necessity of performing acts of penance for sinners. Throughout your time in Lourdes, you will have the opportunity to attend Mass at the Grotto of where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette; watch a video presentation that explains, in detail, the story of Lourdes; drink water from the miraculous spring that has healed many; and submerge yourself in the healing baths. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to experience Christ's unconditional love as you meditate upon the "life size" Stations of the Cross that overlook the Grotto of Massabielle. Also, while in Lourdes, you will walk in and meditate upon the footsteps of St. Bernadette. You will have the opportunity to see Boly Mill, the birthplace of St. Bernadette; and the "Cachot," an abandoned prison where Bernadette's impoverish family lived. In the evening, you will have free time to attend the Blessed Sacrament Procession before dinner. Following dinner participate in the candle light procession and the Rosary. Return to hotel for a restful night of sleep.
Wed, June 19: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to Pau Airport (Toulouse or Lourdes) for your return flights home.