Pilgrimage #1

France

Classic: May 16-30, 2021 (15 days) 

Section 1: May 16-25, 2021 (10 days) 

Section 2: May 21-30, 2021 (10 days)

PILGRIMAGE  OVERVIEW

This pilgrimage is centered around the Pentecost Chartres Pilgrimages when we will walk from Paris to Chartres in three days with thousands of other pilgrims from around the world. Beforehand, we will visit Lourdes and Paris, and afterward, we will visit the towns where St. Therese of Lisieux lived. After going to the D-Day beaches, we will have the wonderful experience of biking to the Mont St. Michel and hiking in the bay.

“The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ”
– Pier Giorgio Frassati

Itinerary

The cultural sites listed are only those with entrance fees included in the pilgrimage cost– we do not list all of the cultural sites we will be seeing for free. The outdoor adventure information is listed to give you a general idea of the difficulty level of the pilgrimage– please scroll down further for information on possible accommodations to lessen the activity level of the outdoor adventures.

Lourdes (Days 1-3)

The pilgrimage starts in the small mountain town of Lourdes where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette. Bathe in the miraculous waters, attend mass in the grotto, participate in the daily processions, and more. We will also stretch our legs out to get over the jet lag with a little hiking and immediately start getting to know the world-renown French cuisine.

Rocamadour (Days 3-4)

Rocamadour, popular in France but little known elsewhere, has been a pilgrimage site for over 1,000 years. It is a beautiful sanctuary and town built into a cliff in a valley. We will hike the last part of the pilgrimage route which enters the town and ascends up into the sanctuary, and we will stay in a chateau on top of the cliff run by the sanctuary.

Includes:

  • Hiking: 2 hours; Amount of elevation change: Medium

Paris (Days 4-7)

Visit the classic sights of Paris: the River Seine, the Champs-Elysees, the Triumphant Arch, the Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel tower, the exterior of the Notre Dame cathedral (damaged in the 2019 fire), and more. Pray in St. Suplice, St. Germain des Pres, the Sacred Heart Basilica, and other churches. Explore the Louvre Museum and Sainte-Chapelle.

Includes:

  • Louvre [Classic, Section 1]
  • Saint-Chapelle [Classic, Section 1, Section 2]

The Chartres Pilgrimage (Days 7-9)

The Paris-Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage is run by the community Notre Dame de Chretiente and includes thousands of people from all over the world organized into different walking groups. There is transport for your bags which meet you at the camp site each night so you can just walk with a day pack, and there are large tents provided for pilgrims to sleep in. There is a final mass at Chartres once all of the pilgrims arrive. After the mass, those signed up for section 1 only will return to Paris for the night and depart the next morning.

Includes:

  • Hiking: About 20 miles per day; Amount of elevation change: Low

St. Therese and the Normandy Beaches (Days 9-12)

The next couple of days will be more relaxed to recover from all of the walking. Alencon is a beautiful town where the Martin family lived until St. Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s mother, died. In Lisieux, we will attend mass at the Carmel where the body of St. Therese lies and also visit the Martin family home, the Lisieux Cathedral, and the Basilica of St. Therese. We will then head to the quaint town of Bayeux and the D-Day beaches.

Mont St Michel (Days 12-14)

Biking to Mont St. Michel is an unforgettable experience. The trip consists of a bike trail and small country roads until we reach the “Wonder of the West” with its medieval abbey situated on top of a small mountain with a quaint town underneath. Before the construction of the road, Mont St. Michel’s was an island when the tide was high, and when the tide went out, one could walk through the bay to reach it. We will also do some hiking in the bay.

Includes:

  • The Abbey of Mont St. Michel
  • Biking: 3-4 hours. Gravel bike path and small country roads. Amount of elevation change: Low
  • Hiking: 2-3 hours. Amount of elevation change: None

Versailles and Paris (Days 14-15)

Our last stop is Versailles– the home of the kings of France. The Chateau of Versailles and its gardens is an unforgettable experience and the perfect way to end the trip. We will sleep in Paris on the last night and depart the next morning.

Includes:

  • The Chateau of Versailles

SIGNING UP

Step 1. Sign up – Deadline: March 1, 2021. An extra fee may apply to late sign-ups. Max capacity: 30 people

Step 2. Registration – We will e-mail you the supplemental packet to fill out and ask that you complete it by March 1, 2021 or 7 days after signing up– whichever is later. No deposit is required for summer 2021 pilgrimages.

Step 3. Payment & Confirmation– The payment deadline is March 15, 2021. Payment is 100% refundable for COVID-19 cancellation reasons. Please wait to buy your plane tickets until you receive a confirmation from us.

Pilgrimage Details

Eligibility

  • Pilgrims must be at least 18 years old.
  • Pilgrims must be able to carry all their belongings in a backpack.
  • Only a basic level of fitness is required. Accommodations can be made, but you must discuss with the staff before the trip. Some examples of accommodations may include: skipping activities, shortening routes, or taking an alternative mode of transportation like a gondola, train, or taxi.

Insurance

Each pilgrim must have health insurance. We highly recommend purchasing travelers insurance as well.

Spiritual Formation

Daily mass, morning prayer, evening prayer, and the rosary are all part of the trip. There will be a chaplain available for you and a spiritual reading packet provided based on the saints encountered on the trip.
*Mass during the Chartres Pilgrimage will be in Latin.

Intellectual/Cultural Activity

Booklets with information for site visits and short readings will be distributed that will be presented and discussed by staff and pilgrims. The staff will be reading Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis this summer and discussing it informally. If you would like to join the conversation, read it yourself at home, on the plane, or during the pilgrimage!

Lodging in Religious Housing

Usually you will have one or two roommates, sometimes more, and occasionally you may have a single room.

We do not have a standard single supplement fee because it is not always possible considering our unique accommodations in religious houses, but talk to us if this is something you are interested in.

It is possible that some rooms may only have a sink or a shower inside with a bathroom in the hall.

*The Chartres Pilgrimage is an organized event by the French community Notre Dame de Chretiente who set up large tents outside for thousands of pilgrims to sleep on the ground for two nights separated by gender.

Free Time

There is plenty of free time incorporated throughout the pilgrimage to relax, shop, explore, or whatever you might want to do.

Packing List

We will send you a detailed packing list when you are confirmed on the pilgrimage.

Arrival

Staff will be at airport the morning of arrival day to greet you. The official pilgrimage start time is noon– please arrive before then. If you arrive before or after that day, you will need to make your own arrangements.
Classic and Section 1: May 16th, 2021, Lourdes-Tarbes Airport (LDE)
Section 2: May 21st, 2021, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

Departure

The official pilgrimage end time is 7 am on departure day. We will arrange transportation to the airport. If you are staying later, apart from the pilgrimage, or leaving early, you will need to make your own arrangements.

Section 1: May 25th, 2021, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Classic and Section 2: May 30th, 2021, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

Customize

This pilgrimage (Classic or Section 2 only) can be combined with Pilgrimage #2 Italy (Classic or Section 1 only). See the Pilgrimage #2 Italy page for trip details, and send us a message for the rest of the information.

Contact ALP

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