Pilgrimage #4

France

Classic: July 5-25, 2021 (21 days) 

Section 1: July 5-15, 2021 (11 days) 

Section 2: July 15-25, 2021 (11 days)

PILGRIMAGE  OVERVIEW

Paris and Versailles give this pilgrimage a taste of the grandeur of France, Lisieux and St. Therese will show us its spiritual depths, and Mont St. Michel will perfectly combine both. In Southern France, we will hike to the cave of St. Mary Magdalene, bike around an ancient abbey’s lavender fields, kayak to an island monastery in the sea, and more! The saints, the architecture, the food, and the beautiful language will accompany us the whole way and make a lasting impression.

“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 an 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.

Paris and Versailles (Days 1-4)

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, Sainte-Chapelle, and the Chateau of Versailles.

Includes:

  • Louvre
  • Saint-Chapelle
  • Versailles Chateau

Lisieux and the Beaches of Normandy (Days 4-6)

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 6-8)

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:

  • Hiking: 2-3 hours; Amount of elevation change: None
  • Biking: 3-4 hours; Amount of elevation change: Low
  • The Abbey of Mont St. Michel

Rocamadour (Days 8-10)

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. Nearby is the Gouffre de Padirac where we will boat in an underground river– one of the most popular caves in Europe!

Includes:

  • Hiking: 2 hours; Amount of elevation Change: Medium
  • Gouffre de Padirac

Lourdes (Days 10-13)

The small mountain town of Lourdes is 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 head up into the Pyrenees mountains to do some hiking and rafting. Praying with St. Thomas Aquinas in Toulouse will finish off this section.

Includes:

  • Hiking: 3-4 hours; Amount of elevation change: Medium [Classic, Section 2]
  • Rafting: Intermediate [Classic, Section 2]

Carcassone & Avignon(Days 13-17)

Visit the well-preserved medieval town of Carcassone with its solid walls and picturesque turrets. Explore the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, where the popes lived from 1309-1376. Outside of Avignon, enjoy Gordes, one of the most beautiful towns in France, and bike around the lavender fields of the Abbey of Notre Dame du Senaque and pray with the monks.

Includes:

  • The Palace of the Popes
  • Biking: 3-4 hours; Small country roads; Amount of elevation Change: Medium

The Cave of St. Mary Magdalene (Days 17-19)

Follow the footsteps of several of the kings of France who have made pilgrimage to visit the cave where St. Mary Magdalene is said to have spent the last part of her life. The hiking goes through a wonderful forest before ascending to the cliff. Continuing to the top of the mountain, one can see the Mediterranean in the distance. We will also be visiting St. Mary Magdalene’s skull in the town of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.

Includes:

  • Hiking: Two hikes of 3-4 hours each; Amount of elevation Change: Medium

The Island Abbey of Lerins (Days 19-21)

Kayak to the 5th century Abbey of Lerins on the island of Saint-Honorat in the Mediterranean. Experience the stillness of prayer with the monks and the stillness of the sea surrounding the island. It will be an excellent way to end the pilgrimage, giving you time to reflect on your experience, while still having one last incredible experience.

Includes:

  • Kayaking: Two days of 2-4 hours each

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 traveler’s 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.

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.

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 the airport on 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: July 5, 2021, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Section 2: July 15, 2021, Lourdes-Tarbes Airport (LDE)

Departure

The official pilgrimage end time is 11 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: July 15, 2021, Lourdes-Tarbes Airport (LDE)
Classic and Section 2: July 25, 2021, Nice Cote d’Azur Airport (NCE)

Customize

This pilgrimage (Classic or Section 1 only) can be combined with Pilgrimage #3 Italy (Classic or Section 2) or Pilgrimage #4 Switzerland, Italy, France (Classic or Section 1 only). See the respective pages for trip details, and send us a message for the rest of the information.

Contact ALP

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