French Shrines II

DAY 1 MADRID – LYON Meeting in the Madrid-Barajas Airport to leave on a flight to Lyon. Arrival. Lunch. Panoramic tour of the city crossed by the Rhône. It has 28 bridges that cross the river. Between its historical buildings we will be able to contemplate the Cathedral, from the 12th to the 15th century, the Basilica of Notre Dame of Fourviere and Saint Peter’s Palace. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 2 LYON – ARS – PARAY LE MONIAL Breakfast. Departure for Ars, small city that has become famous thanks to the life and works of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, known as the “curé d’Ars.” He was born near Lyon in 1786 and he had to overcome many difficulties finally to be ordained as a priest. He was conferred the parish of Ars in the Belley diocese, and the saint governed it for 41 years with active preaching, mortification, prayer and charity, and he admirably promoted its spiritual advancement. He was gifted with extraordinary qualities as a confessor, which caused the faithful to come to him from all over to hear his holy advice. He died in the year 1859. His body remains incorrupt in the Church of Ars. Tour of the house of the holy priest and the Basilica. Also we will visit the “way of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney” going to the Monument of the Encounter (a statue that evokes the arrival of the saint to Ars). Lunch. Continuation to Paray le Monial, city that was born around a monastery around the year 970. In the 11th century, the abbott of Cluny began the works in the Church that today we know, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This essential monument in Burgundy represents the the most successful model of romanesque architecture of Cluny. It was in Paray-le-Monial where Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), revealing to her his burning Heart of love for humankind. Jesus requests the establishment of the feast of the Sacred Heart, which was to take place every year in june. In the wake of these appearances, the spirituality of the Sagrado Heart has extended throughout the world. Tour of the Convent of the Visitation, site of the appearances. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 3 PARAY LE MONIAL – NEVERS – CHARTRES – PARIS Breakfast. Departure for Nevers and tour of the Convent of Saint Girard that guards the incorrupt body of Bernadette Soubirous, who was born in Lourdes but lived for 13 years in Nevers, and where her relics are found. Nevers also has splendid emblematic buildings, like the Ducal Palace and the Cathedral of Saint Cyr-Sainte Juliette. Continuation to Chartres, city of medieval splendor, with its old town, its streets and alleyways borderd of old houses, staircases that descend to the lower city, etc. Tour of the Cathedral, whose blue-colored windows glow, capturing all eyes. Lunch. Continuation to Paris. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 4 PARIS Breakfast. Full day tour of Paris, with Lunch. We will take a panoramic tour of the “City of Light”, one of the most beautiful, richest and remarkable cities in the world, due to its monuments, splendid buildings, magnificent museums and very active commerce. We will pass through The Champs-Élysées , the Place de la Concorde, the large boulevards, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, etc. Tour of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The Cathedral not only is an emblem of the city of Paris, but also is the place from which the kilometers of the large French highways are measured. It is situated on Île de la Cité, where a city already existed in the time of the Gauls and the Romans. The Existing basilica there was destroyed by the Normans in the 9th century, and after successive reconstructions, in the year 1163 the Gothic work was begun. The Cathedral was basically finished in the first half of the 14th century, although later it suffered various modifications, some negative, between the 17th and 19th centuries. When Napoleón was crowned there, the deteriorizaton was such that a large part of the temple was covered with cloth, tapisteries and banners. The reconstruction was done following the designs of Viollet-le-Duc, and supported by the public opinion and the French intelligentsia. Tour of the Sainte Chapelle, a Chapel of small dimensions in a pure style, destined to receive the crown of thorns of Christ. The building is nestled in the Palace of Justice, old Royal Palace, on the Île de la Cité. Its origin goes back to the 13th century, when the emperor of Constantinople sold the relic to obtain money. Bought by Louis IX, he took charge of the contruction of a Reliquary-Chapel, which was finished in the year 1284. Then, a ride on Bateaux Mouches on the Seine where we will see the old and beautiful bridges that cross the river, como the Pont Neuf, near Notre Dame, the Alexander III, and many of the celebrated monuments of Paris that are situated on the banks of the river. Ascent to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, myth and symbol of the city, built in commemoration of the centennial of the French Revolution, and inagurated March 31, 1889. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 5 PARIS – EXCURSION TO LISIEUX Breakfast. Departure to take a full day excursion with lunch to Lisieux, one of the most enchanting places in Normandy that extends betwee Deauville – Trouville to the north and Vimoutiers and Orbec to the south. Lisieux was the city where Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus lived and died. Born in Alençon on January 2, 1873, she entered Carmeliate Monastery at the age of 15. In 1897, at the age of 24, she fell gravely ill and died the 30th of september after agonizing for two days. In 1923 she was beatified and in 1925 canonized. In 1927 she is proclaimed patron saint of mission despite the fact that she never left the convent, but she always prayed for the missionaries and it always was her ardent desire to become a missionary. In 1997 she is declared Doctor of the Church, the third woman to achieve that designation. Previously Saint Teresa of Jesus, also a Carmelite, and Saint Catalina of Siena had been declared doctors. We will visit the Carmelite Monastery, where the mortal remains mortales of the saint are found. Return to Paris. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 6 PARIS – MADRID Breakfast. Free time until the time to transfer to the airport to embark on flight to Madrid. Arrival and END OF TRIP