Day 1. Friday, October 16: Transatlantic flight to Lyon, France
Day 2. Saturday, October 17: Lyon
Welcome to France! Upon arrival into Lyon, embark on a sightseeing of this third largest city of France. Your first stop will be at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, dedicated to Our Lady, to whom is attributed the salvation of the city of Lyon from the bubonic plague that swept Europe in 1643. She is also credited with saving the city several other times, such as from a cholera epidemic in 1832, and from Prussian invasion in 1870. Next, visit the Lyon’s Cathedral, dedicated to St. John the Baptist and founded by St. Pothinus and St. Irenaeus, the first two bishops of Lyon. Continue to your hotel to enjoy a welcome dinner. Overnight in Lyon. (WD)
Day 3. Sunday, October 18: Lyon: Excursion to Paray-le-Monial and Ars
Head to Paray-le-Monial to visit the Chapel of the Visitation, where Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and promised “I make you the heir to My Heart”. Her body is in a side chapel to the right of the main altar. Then, visit the Chapel of St. Claude de la Colombiere, to venerate the saint who helped spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was the confessor, friend, and confidant to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. A short drive will take you to the charming town of Ars to render homage to St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests. Visit the old 12th-century church where the saint preached and the confessionals where he spent most of his time. In the Basilica, pray before the glass reliquary containing his incorrupt body. His incorrupt heart is in the Shrine of the Cure’s Heart just outside the Basilica. Return to Lyon for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 4. Monday, October 19: Lyon – La Salette – Laus – Aix-en-Provence
This morning, travel to La Salette, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in 1846 to two shepherds, Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud. A spring forever marks the spot where She appeared. Visit the Valley of the Apparition, where the children saw the vision and heard the message, and the Basilica built to honor Our Lady. Afterwards, time for private devotions in this beautiful shrine in the French Alps. Afterwards, journey to Laus. Although little known to most Roman Catholics, Laus ranks among the great Marian sanctuaries where pilgrims continue to heed Our Lady’s timeless call to conversion, prayer, and penance. The Virgin Mary began appearing to Benoite Rencurel, a poor shepherdess in 1664, and continued visiting her throughout the rest of her life. Benoite also had a very special relationship with her Guardian Angel, to whom she confided all her pain and troubles. Continue to Aix-en-Provence for dinner and overnight. (BB, L, D)
Day 5. Tuesday, October 20: Aix-en-Provence: St. Mary Magdalene’s Cave – Cotignac – Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume
Begin the day with a visit to St. Mary Magdalene’s Cave, with the last part uphill, where St. Mary Magdalene spent her last days in prayer and penance. Afterwards, drive to Cotignac for a visit to the Shrine of St. Joseph, where, on June 7, 1660, a young shepherd named Gaspard Ricard had an apparition of St. Joseph where the saint revealed a spring, a surprisingly copious water supply in a place where no water had ever been before. The source pointed out by St. Joseph has abundant healing qualities and attracts people from many countries who come to wash, drink, and find healing remedies. Your next visit is to the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces, where on August 10 and 11, 1519, the Blessed Virgin appeared on Mount Verdaille to Jean de la Baume, a logger. She was holding the Child Jesus in her arms. Beside her, were St. Michael the Archangel and St. Bernard. She delivered this message to Jean: “I am the Virgin Mary. Go and tell the clergy and the Consuls of Cotignac to build me a church on this place in the name of Our Lady of Graces, and that they should come in procession to receive the gifts which I wish to bestow.” Last stop is at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume to visit the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene. Venerate the relics of St. Mary Magdalene, and in the crypt, pray before her skull and the relics of St. Cedonius, the man born blind and healed by Our Lord. Return to Aix-en-Provence for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 6. Wednesday, October 21: Aix-en-Provence: Excursion to Marseille
Journey to Marseille to visit St. Mary Major Cathedral to see the skull of St. Lazarus. Next, visit St. Victor Abbey where St. Lazarus preached and heard confessions. Afterwards, visit the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde, commonly referred to by the locals as “La Bonne Mère” (the Good Mother). This Neo-Byzantine basilica rests on the highest point in Marseille and is the destination of an annual pilgrimage on the Feast of the Assumption. Return to Aix on Provence for a leisure afternoon with dinner on your own. (BB)
Day 7. Thursday, October 22: Aix-en-Provence – Apt – Frigolet – Tarascon – Montpellier
On your way to Montpellier, stop in Apt to visit the Cathedral of St. Anne, believed to have been built on the site where St. Auspice was buried. Tradition holds that St. Auspice became the custodian of a relic of St. Anne, which it is said he placed in a subterranean grotto to protect from desecration by the barbarians. Drive to Frigolet to visit the Monastery of St. Michael, dedicated to the Archangel; it was founded in about 960 by Conrad I of Burgundy on one of the numerous hills which lie between Tarascon and Avignon. It was initially occupied by Benedictine monks from Montmajour Abbey. Afterwards, visit St. Martha’s Collegiate Church in Tarascon where St. Martha is buried. Continue to Montpellier for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 8. Friday, October 23: Montpellier – Carcassonne – Lourdes
Leave Montpellier, and on the way to Lourdes, stop at the impressive fortified city of Carcassonne. Here, St. Dominic of Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order, was Vicar General and preached to convert many heretic Cathars. Enjoy free time in Carcassonne to browse this beautiful medieval walled city. Afterwards, journey to Lourdes for dinner and overnight. Tonight you may participate in the candlelight procession. (BB, D)
Days 9, 10 and 11. Saturday, October 24, Sunday, October 25, and Monday, October 26: Lourdes
Attend the international celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Society of St. Pius X in Lourdes. (BB, D)
Day 12. Tuesday, October 27: Homebound flight
Transfer to Toulouse airport for your flight home.
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For more information or to register, please contact Regina Pilgrimages.