A Great Light!
Pilgrimage to France
In the Footsteps of St. Joan of Arc
Spiritual Director: Fr. Sean Connolly
November 29 - December 10, 2020
Your trip includes
- Round-trip Airfare
- All Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Accommodation at centrally located first class hotels as follows: (or similar)
- ~ 2 nights: Nov 30 – Dec 02: Hotel de la Paix, Reims
- ~ 1 night: Dec 02 – Dec 03:
Hotel D'Arc, Orleans
- ~ 2 nights: Dec 03 – Dec 05 Hotel Mercure Tours, Tours
- ~ 3 nights: Dec 07 – Dec 10 | Hotel Pullman Paris Bercy Centre, Paris
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Tour Escort throughout
- Assistance of professional local Catholic guide(s) in Reims, Troyes, Orleans, Poitiers, Tours, Mont Saint Michel, Lisieux, Rouen, Paris and Chartres
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Lunches, Beverages unless mentioned. Tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1, Sun, Nov 29: Depart for Paris
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2, Mon, Nov 30: Arrive Paris - Reims
Upon arriving at Paris airport, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage and then proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel. After check in we will visit Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, one of Europe's most important Gothic structures. A World Heritage site, the 13th century Cathedral has characteristics all its own, in particular its lighting, statuary and unity of style.Notre-Dame boasts an exceptionally rich statuary. The Cathedral is adorned with 2,303 statues, including the famous Smiling Angel, whose jovial expression reflects the Champagne School of the 13th century. In French, Notre Dame means “Our Lady”, so the literal translation of the Cathedral’s name is Our Lady of Reims. The pinnacle of Joan of Arc's career occurred on July 17, 1429 when Charles VII was crowned King of France in the Cathedral of Reims. Joan was later described as kneeling before Charles while embracing his legs and through tears of joy looking up at him and saying: "Noble King, now is accomplished the pleasure of God, who willed that I should raise the siege of Orleans and should bring you to this city of Reims to receive your holy coronation, thus showing that you are the true King, him to whom the throne of France must belong." All the kings of France were crowned in Reims Cathedral. Dinner and overnight in Reims.
Day 3, Tue, Dec 1: Reims – Domrémy-la-Pucelle – Vaucouleurs - Reims
After breakfast at your hotel, you will transfer to Domrémy-la-Pucelle which is here St. Joan of Arc (“la Pucelle”) was born in 1412. We will celebrate Mass at the parish Church of Saint-Remy where Joan of Arc was baptized. It is, located in, the heart of the village, near her Birthplace. The tower, attached to the building, to the north, is dated from the 13th century. Classified as Historic Monuments since 1946, it preserves contemporary vestiges of St. Joan of Arc. We will stop in Vaucouleurs, where St. Joan of Arc began her mission enlisting the help of Robert De Baudricourt to take her to the Dauphin of France. We will return to Reims for dinner and overnight.
Day 4, Wed, Dec 2: Reims – Troyes – Orleans
We will enjoy breakfast at the hotel before making our way to Troyes. While Troyes, where the treaty of Troyes was signed, we will visit the Troyes Cathedral, where Joan of Arc escorted the Dauphin to Mass. We will also have an opportunity to celebrate Mass here. Next, we travel to Orleans where St. Joan of Arc is known as “The Maid of Orleans”. The voices of Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret visited her daily telling her to ‘Go into France’ to raise the siege of Orleans. Hotel check in and overnight.
Day 5, Thu, Dec 3: Orleans - Loches - Tours
Following breakfast, we will visit Orléans Cathedral the Cathedral is probably most famous for its association with Joan of Arc, with the stained-glass windows depict her story. Our pilgrimage continues to Loches, to visit Belli Locus, the great abbey dedicated to the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem). The royal lodge, built by Charles VII of France and once used as the subprefecture, contains the oratory of Anne of Brittany. It was here on 11 May 1429 that Joan of Arc arrived, fresh from her historic victory at Orleans, to meet the king. We continue on to Tours for hotel check in, dinner and overnight.
Day 6, Fri, Dec 4: Tours – Poitiers – Chinon – Tours
This morning we travel to Poitiers, it is here that the Dauphin ordered background inquiries and a theological examination to verify St. Joan of Arc’s morality and her claims to be tested by seeing if she could lift the siege of Orléans as she had predicted. We then continue to Chinon castle, this is where the first meeting with King Charles VII took place. We will celebrate Mass at Chapelle Sainte Radegonde. Return to the hotel for dinner and peaceful overnight.
Day 7, Sat, Dec 5: Tours – Le Mont Saint Michel - Lisieux
After breakfast at the hotel we will travel to Mont St. Michel, where the Monastery of Le Mont St. Michele is located, also known as, "The Wonder of the Western World". It is given this name because the Monastery is surrounded by a magnificent bay, which has one of the greatest tidal ranges in Europe, resulting in a breathtaking view. In 709, this Monastery was built and consecrated by Aubert, Bishop of Avranches at the request of Michael the Archangel. Since the ninth century, the Abbey has been home to a monastic community, in order to ensure the continuation of a spiritual presence. Mont Saint-Michel's resolute resistance inspired the French, especially Joan of Arc. Following this visit we make our way to Lisieux, enjoy some free time before dinner.
Day 8, Sun, Dec 6 Lisieux
After breakfast at the hotel, we will see the beautiful Basilica of St. Therese, and the magnificent mosaics and stained glass that are contained within. St. Therese was heavily influenced by Joan of Arc writing two plays “The Mission of Joan of Arc” and the other, “Joan of Arc Accomplishing Her Mission.” The same passion that drove Joan of Arc to defeat all odds and save France kept alive the flame of love in the heart of Thérèse. We will continue with visit of her family home Les Buissonets as well as the Carmelite Convent, where she entered in 1888, and is currently entombed in with her parents. In the museum of the Carmelite Convent the custom that Saint Therese wore when she played Joan of Arc is on display.
Day 9, Mon, Dec 7: Lisieux – Rouen – Paris
This morning we depart to Rouen. Located less than two hours from Paris, Rouen and the Seine Valley are a haven of peace for locals and foreigners. With its many monuments, the tallest Cathedral in France, its cultural heritage, its gastronomy and local products, its events and its central location, only Rouen could be the capital of Normandy! We can’t talk about Rouen without mentioning its symbolic figure Joan of Arc, who is given the place of honor in the city of a hundred Spires. The Duke of Bedford, John of Lancaster, bought Joan of Arc her liberty from the Duke of Burgundy who had been keeping her in jail since May 1430, she was sent to be tried in the city during Christmas 1430. After a long trial by a Church court, she was sentenced to be burned at the stake. The sentence was carried out on May 30 1431 in the city, and most residents supported the Duke of Burgundy, Joan of Arc's royal enemy.
Day 10, Tue, Dec 8: Paris
In the morning will visit and celebrate Mass at the Saint Joan of Arc Basilica. The Church was first proposed in 1914 as a votive offering for the safety of Paris during the opening stages of World War I, which was attributed to the intervention of Joan of Arc. The new Church was to be built next to the only Parisian Church known to have been visited by Joan, the Church of Saint-Denys de la Chapelle, where Joan prayed one night in 1429. After Mass, we will start the sightseeing tour of Paris. We will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where we 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. According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, those who wear the Miraculous Medal will receive special protection and abundant graces. After the visit we will walk to Saint Vincent de Paul Church where we will find Saint Paul’s incorrupt body. Our sightseeing tour via motor coach continues on to the most recognizable symbol of the city of Paris: the Eiffel Tower, L'Arch de Triomphe, the Champ-Elysees, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral (Due to the tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019, Pilgrims will not be able to enter the Cathedral for the near future but we will still have the opportunity to view the Cathedral from outside). We will end the day with a visit to Montmartre Hill. From the dawn of time Montmartre has been a place of worship: from the Druids of ancient Gaul, through the Romans with their temples dedicated to Mars and Mercury, to the Church of Saint Peter, the oldest in Paris where on August 15, 1534, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and six other young men, including Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope in matters of mission direction and assignment, founding the Company of Jesus. Finally, the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, erected at the end of the 19th century, built as a reaction to the exactions committed during the Paris Commune.
Day 11, Wed, Dec 9: Paris
We depart Paris today as our journey takes us on to the great Cathedral city of Chartres where we enter inside the magnificent 13th century Chartres Cathedral, a medieval architectural wonder and home to the Holy Veil, said to be worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. We will also be able to see the most famous labyrinth in the world, built around the year 1200 and sometimes called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem. 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.
Day 12, Thu, Dec 10: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to the Paris airport for your return flight(s) home.