11 Day Belgium, Germany and France
*** DAILY MASSES INCLUDED ***
DAY 01 – USA / BELGIUM. Depart the U.S.A for Brussels Belgium. Dinner and breakfast will be served aloft.
DAY 02: BRUSSELS / BRUGES. Arrival at Brussels airport and meet with our Tour Escort to transfer to Bruges, the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders. Upon arrival we have a city tour (with English-speaking local guide) to include the historic centre that was added to the Unesco’s World Heritage List. See our Lady's Church and explore the Market Square and the Town Hall Square. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 03 - BRUGES / GHENT / BRUSSELS. After breakfast we depart to Ghent where we'll have a panoramic tour (with English-speaking local guide) including the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece, the belfry, the Gravensteen castle, and the splendid architecture along the old Graslei harbour. On to Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the capital of the European Union (EU). It is also the largest urban area in Belgium, comprising 19 municipalities, including the municipality of the City of Brussels. On arrival, we visit (with English-speaking local guide) the world renowned Grand Place, the main attraction in the city centre and the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other landmarks in the centre include the St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral, the Royal Palace and the Palace of Justice. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 04 - BRUSSELS / LEUVEN / TREMELO / BANNEAUX / AACHEN. After breakfast we depart to Leuven where we'll have a walk with our Tour Escort seeing the St. Peter's Church with its 50-metre-high tower, home to a carillon (a set of bells in a tower). The tower was included in UNESCO's list of Belfries of Belgium and France in 1999. On to Tremelo, famous for having been the hometown of Father Damien, SS.CC. who Pope Benedict XVI canonized on October 11, 2009, as Saint Damien of Molokai. On to Banneaux where occurs the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Mariette Beco, an adolescent girl living in this place. Here we'll visit the Shrine of of Our Lady of Banneux. Depart to Aachen to visit the famous Cathedral. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
DAY 05 - AACHEN / COLOGNE / TRIER / STRASBOURG. After breakfast we depart for Strasbourg with a stop in Cologne and Trier. Cologne has been the center of influence since the Roman times. Its importance as a center of pilgrimage grew after its acquisition in 1194 of the relics of the Three Magi, the wise men who brought gifts to the infant Jesus. For a time it was a pilgrimage destination second only to Rome. The relics still remain today in the Kolner Dom, the Gothic Cathedral worthy of the huge reliquary, worked in silver and gold in which the gifts were originally displayed. On to Trier Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church that dates back to Roman times and is home to the Holy Tunic, a garment with a recorded history back to the 12th century, in Catholic tradition said to be the robe Jesus was wearing when he died. It is exhibited only every few decades, at irregular intervals. Depart to Strasbourg for dinner and overnight.
DAY 06 - STRASBOURG / BEAUNE / ARS SUR FORMANS / CLERMONT-FERRAND. This morning we depart for Beaune in amazing Burgundy wine country in the heart of Burgundy’s famous vineyards. Pommard, Corton-Charlemagne, Romanée-Conti, Meursault, Santenay and Savigny-les-Beaune can bring a twinkle to the eyes of wine lovers. Beaune is famous for the Hospice de Beaune (Hôtel-Dieu). one of the most important sites in Burgundy and a symbol of the region. Built as a hospital for the poor in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Guigone de Salins, it actually provided care until 1971, when a new hospital was built. Then to the Basilique Collégiale Notre Dame, best known for its collection of 15th century tapestries that illustrate the life of the Virgin Mary. Continue to Ars Sur Formans where we'll visit the Tombs of St John Vianney, patron saint of all priests. Then to Clermont-Ferrand, famous for the string of extinct volcanoes which surround the town. Dinner and overnight in our hotel.
DAY 07 – CLERMONT-FERRAND / ROCAMADOUR / LOURDES. After breakfast we see the large bronze statue of Vercingetorix in the Place de Jaude, the city's most famous public square. Two famous sons are Pope Urban II who launched the first crusade and famed mathematician Blaise Pascal. See the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, a black gothic cathedral started in 1248 and was not finished until 1902. It was built out of black volcanic rock, giving it a somber and ominous mood from the outside. Just south of the cathedral halfway across Place de la Victoire is a statue honoring Pope Urban II. Then we drive to Rocamadour situated on top of a rocky plateau, with its beautiful architecture and amazing views of the Alzou Valley. Tradition says this is the home of St. Amadour, Zaccheus of the New Testament, the husband of St. Veronica who wiped the face of Jesus. On to Lourdes where, after arrival in the evening, we can take part in the Candlelight Procession. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
DAY 08 – LOURDES. Today is dedicated to the visit (with a guide of the Shrine) of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes: the Basilica, the Crypt, the Apparation Grotto, the healing baths, the Esplanade, the family home of Bernadette Soubirous "the Boly Mill", where at the ground floor it is possible to see the room where Bernadette was born. In the evening, we can take part in the Candlelight Procession. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
DAY 09 – LOURDES / PARIS. After breakfast we transfer to Pau for our flight to Paris. Upon arrival in the “City of Lights”, you will be met by your tour guide and enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of Paris. On your tour you will see the famous sights of Paris including the Champs Elysees, LArc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Celebrate Mass at a local chapel. Stop for a ‘photo op’ at the Eiffel Tower before dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 10 – PARIS. We begin the day with a morning drive, viewing the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, Avenue des Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower. We then visit the splendid Sacre Coeur (AKA the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.) This afternoon, we visit the incomparable Notre Dame Cathedral, followed by a visit to the breathtaking Sainte Chapelle. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 11 - PARIS / DEPARTURE. After breakfast we transfer to the Paris airport for our flight home – the end of a memorable pilgrimage.