France with the Avila Institute

July 25 – August 6th, 2019


July 25 Our pilgrimage begins as we depart the United States on an overnight flight to Paris, France.

July 26 Morning arrival at Charles DeGaulle Airport then transfer to our flight or TGV Train to Lourdes. This afternoon, we will visit the Grotto of Massabielle where the healing waters flow. Evening candlelight procession. Overnight Lourdes

July 27 Following breakfast, we continue our visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858 when Bernadette was just 14. We’ll attend the International Mass concelebrated by our spiritual director in the underground Basilica of St. Pius X. After Mass, we’ll have a guided tour of St. Bernadette’s home, the basilica, and her environs that will give us a deeper understanding of St. Bernadette’s life and her relationship with Mary, the Immaculate. This afternoon we walk and pray in the Eucharistic Procession. Overnight Lourdes

July 28 This morning following breakfast we visit the Carmelite Monastery in Lourdes, built over the spot where the Blessed Virgin had appeared a final time to St. Bernadette, who described her as “more beautiful than ever.” We see the Cave of Apparitions and the Basilica of Our Lady of The Rosary where we’ll have Mass. In the afternoon we’ll have free time to participate in the ceremonies of the Sanctuary and bathe in the miraculous waters, where many have been healed. After dinner, we participate in the Candlelight Rosary Procession. Overnight Lourdes

July 29 Following morning Mass, we bid farewell to Our Lady, but with the consolation that she’s always with us as we continue our pilgrim way, for no pilgrim ever leaves Lourdes untouched by Mary. We set off for Saints-Maries-le-mer, a coastal town in the south of France which served as a refuge from pirate invaders from the 9th-12th century. We stop for lunch in the beautiful walled city Carcassonne, famous for its medieval fortress, and continue on our scenic drive. We check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together. Overnight Saints-Maries-le-mer

July 30 Following breakfast at the hotel we head out for Ars, France. On our way, we stop in Avignon for lunch and a visit to the Ponte-de-Avignon, a medieval bridge that was declared a World Heritage Site, due to being a route for thousands of pilgrims over the centuries making pilgrimage to Italy and Spain. On arrival into Ars we will visit the places connected with the life of St. Jean Vianney, who revitalized the faith in Ars back in the 1800’s. During the last years of his life he spent the majority of his days hearing the confessions of thousands. We will celebrate Mass at the Basilica where his incorrupt body lies above the altar. Overnight in Ars

July 31 Following breakfast and morning Mass in Ars, our first stop of the day will be in Paray-le-Monial where The Sacred Heart of Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary of Alacoque. We’ll visit the Sacred Heart Basilica where St. John Paul II had prayed, as well as the Chapel of Apparitions where St. Margaret Mary is entombed. It was here in 1675 that Jesus told her, as He exposed his Sacred Heart: “Behold this Heart which has loved everyone so much that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love.” Overnight Paray-le-Monial

August 1  After Mass in Paray-le-Monial, we begin our way to Dijon, the home of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity who was just canonized in 2016. We stop to participate in midday prayer at Taize, an ecumenical community of over 100 monks, then on to Dijon to overnight to visit some of the sites associated with Saint Elizabeth. Dinner. Overnight Dijon

August 2 This morning we will make our way to the Carmelite Monastery in Flavignerot and the Church of Saint Michel – near the home of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. We enjoy time for Mass and lunch before heading off to Paris, the City of Light. Upon arrival we have a tour of the city, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the Champs-Elysees. Our final stop before dinner is the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal on the Rue de Bac. Here Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Labouré and asked her to have a medal made with the inscription Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”. Overnight Paris

August 3 We begin today with Mass at the Sacré-Coeur Basilica on top of Montmartre Hill, where there has been perpetual Eucharistic adoration for over a century. We then visit Saint Peter’s of Montmartre (where the Society of Jesus was formed), and the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We will enjoy lunch on our own, and finish out the afternoon with a visit to the Place de la Nation where the Carmelites of Compiegne were martyred. We’ll see Cimitiere Picpus where their remains are in a mass grave, followed by dinner and the remainder of the night at leisure. Overnight Paris

August 4 This morning we have an opportunity to visit Pontoise, the 1st reformed Foundation of France and then Rouen where we will see where St. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake on May 30th, 1941. Late this afternoon we arrive in Lisieux, the home of St. Therese, who is also known as “The Little Flower”. We celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Thérèse. Overnight Lisieux

August 5 Following breakfast, we spend the morning in Lisieux, visiting the places where St. Thérèse, the daughter of St. Louis and St. Zelie Martin, lived during the majority of her short life of 24 years. We’ll see her family home, lovingly called “Les Buissonnets”, and the Carmelite convent she entered at just 15 years old. This is where she wrote her well-known autobiography entitled “Story of a Soul”, which was influential in the decision to declare her a Doctor of the Church. We’ll celebrate Mass and visit a museum of numerous relics relating to St. Therese. We then make our way back to Paris where we share a farewell dinner and see the beautiful city from the Bateaux “Mouche” on the River Seine. Overnight Paris

August 6 With a deeper love for Mary and the Saints, gratitude to God, and wonderful memories of our pilgrimage, we’ll make our way to the Paris airport this morning and board our plane for our flight home.

What's Included

  • 4-Star hotel accommodations
  • Breakfast & Dinner daily
  • Wine with some dinners
  • Air-conditioned motorcoach
  • Professional tour manager
  • Local Catholic guides
  • Sightseeing & admissions fees as per itinerary
  • Daily Mass & Spiritual activities offered along the Pilgrimage route
  • Wireless headsets with some tours
  • Tips for hotel staff & restaurant

For an additional cost: 

  • Round-trip airfare from ATL, JFK, or LAX ($999)
  • Travel Insurance (price is age-based)


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