Headsets throughout the tourSightseeing: Visits to Lisieux, Poitiers, Carcassonne, Avignon, Paray-le-Monial, Nevers, Chartres
Scenic Highlights: Château Country, Dordogne, BurgundyMass/Religious Service: Lisieux, Lourdes, Avignon
Local Guides for city sightseeing in Paris and Lourdes; services of a professional Tour Director while touring
NOTE: September 29 departure starts on Monday in Paris.
Day 1Arrive in Paris, France
Welcome to Paris! Check into your hotel. In the late afternoon, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Champs-Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower (ticket not included). Visit the Basilica of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre Hill. Later, the architectural wonders of Notre Dame Cathedral, where the relics of the Passion of the Christ can be seen on the first Fridays of the month (April 03 & July 31 departures only). (B)
Day 3Paris. Lisieux Excursion
Travel to Lisieux and visit Les Buissonnets, family home of St. Therese. Attend Mass (French only) at the basilica. St. Therese was also known as “The Little Flower” and for her charming autobiography The Story of a Soul. Next, visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, where her family attended Mass, and the Carmelite Convent, where she lived as a nun. Return to Paris. (B,D)
A special visit has been included to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Shrine, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830. Then, visit the St. Vincent de Paul Shrine, where you can see the reliquary of the saint who has inspired thousands of charities and volunteers. (B)
This morning, travel south to the cobblestone city of Poitiers, strategically perched atop a rocky outcrop and surrounded by two rivers. Settled by the Romans and then residence to early Christians, the city is a showcase of historical Romanesque architecture, and is home to the second-oldest university in the country as well as the oldest surviving church in France. Enjoy a visit to the 4th-century baptistry of St. John with its ancient frescoes, baptismal fonts, and intricately carved sarcofagi dating from the 5th to the 7th centuries. Poitiers was also site of two pivotal military battles, making its role in French history significant. It was here in 732 AD that the Franks halted and turned back Muslim expansion into Europe, while in 1356 during the Hundred Years' War, French forces suffered a major defeat at the hands of skilled English archers. (B)
Travel to Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Visit the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. Join this evening’s memorable rosary and candlelight procession, held every night. (B,D)
Start the day attending the international Mass at the Basilica of St. Pius X. Then, join a Local Guide for a walking tour including visits to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine and St. Bernadette's birthplace and family home. You may wish to experience the powerful healing baths or attend the “Blessing of the Sick.” (B)
Day 8At Leisure in Lourdes
Full day at leisure to further explore Lourdes on your own or join an optional excursion to the nearby Pyrenees. (B,D)
First stop is Carcassonne, a medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, continue to Avignon. Enjoy a walk to the Palace of the Popes (entrance not included), residence of the papacy in the 14th century. (B,D)
Following morning Mass in the Cathedral of Avignon (French only), travel to Paray-le-Monial, home to the Chapel of the Apparitions and where Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Also visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Continue to Nevers. (B,D)
Visit St. Gildard in Nevers, where St. Bernadette spent her life as a nun. See the beautiful and miraculously incorrupt body of St. Bernadette. Continue to Chartres and visit the Cathedral—a masterpiece of gothic architecture, one of Europe’s most celebrated shrines, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return to Paris for an overnight. (B)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Transportation:Scheduled transatlantic flights and airport transfers in Paris if Cosmos issues the air tickets. Touring by private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach.
Buffet breakfasts; 5 dinners
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Years of Experience: 6 years
As you travel with me through France, you will soon realize why I moved here. It is an honor to show you this beautiful and diverse country-from cosmopolitan Paris and the most charming little villages to the historic beaches and through the mountains. And, of course, all along the way we'll enjoy France's amazing regional cuisine!