Spiritual Highlights of France - Experience the Traditional Monasteries of France

Escorted by FSSP Chaplain

Join traditional Catholics on this budget-friendly tour through France after the annual 3-day Chartres Pilgrimage to see some of France’s most treasured shrines and places of pilgrimage.  Journey with us through visually stunning regions to experience sites such as the well-known traditional Benedictine Abbey of Fontgombault, the tomb of St. Martin of Tours, the traditional Benedictine monastery of La Garde, the tomb of St. Thomas Aquinas, the castle of Carcassonne, and finally Lourdes, a world renowned pilgrimage destination of healing and miracles.  You will be accompanied by fellow believers on a traditional Catholic tour designed to offer you the experience of a lifetime, a vacation that will stay with you forever.  Daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form. 

For more information and to reserve your spot, click here.

Tentative Schedule*

Day 1 – Tuesday, June 2: Chartres, Orléans, Tours, Fontgombault

We meet at 8:30 am in front of Chartres Cathedral for morning Mass in the crypt.  At 10:00 am we depart by bus, making our way to Tours for a brief visit to the Basilica of St. Martin, a unique shrine rebuilt after it was destroyed by anti-Catholic revolutionaries.  In the crypt is the tomb of St. Martin, a place of pilgrimage.  Short walk to the nearby Oratory of the Holy Face in Tours, where devotions to to the holy face of Jesus became world-renowned in the home of Venerable Leo Dupont.  Lunch at an Autogrill.  Arrival at the traditional Benedictine Abbey of Notre-Dame of Fontgombault, located in the Regional Park of Le Brenne.  Here we rest after the pilgrimage.  Men check into the monastery while women check into neighboring cottages on the property equipped with kitchens.  Dinner and overnight in Fontbombault.

Day 2 – Wednesday, June 3: Fontgombault

Today we bask in the peaceful monastic setting, taking full advantage to rest and relax.  We will have the opportunity to pray the Divine Office with the monks in their chapel as well as to participate in their Conventual Mass.  Experience life in a monastery.  Male guests will have a rage glimpse into the monastic enclosure, visiting the cloister and observing the daily life of the monks.  Female guests may enter the monastic chapel for Mass and the public hours of the Divine Office.  Lunch.  Both male and female guests will participate in the unique experience of “manual labor” activities in the afternoon, followed by a light snack provided by the monks.  Don’t forget to visit the three gifts shops.  Overnight in Fontgombault.

Day 3 – Thursday, June 4: Fontgombault 

Continue the experience of the life of a monk from the inside.  Pray with the monks and explore the outside monastery gardens.  Hear the Gregorian chants of the Roman Church.  Catch a rare glimpse of how and where the monks live and pray.  After lunch, participation in “manual labor.”  Afternoon is open for prayer, rest and hiking.  Take advantage of the opportunity to walk to the nearby caves across the river where the first monks lived 1,000 years ago.  Overnight in Fontgombault.

Day 4 – Friday, June 5: Fontgombault, Saint-Pierre-de-Clairac

We continue our journey through the beautiful French countryside to the traditional monastery of Sainte-Marie de la Garde, a new monastery located amid rolling hills and picturesque rural farm country.  Each year many traditional Catholic families visit here to pray with the monks and to catch a glimpse of their monastic lifestyle, influenced by the spirituality of the Middle-Ages.  La Garde is a foundation of the famous Le Barroux Abbey, located in the south of France.  Both were founded by Dom Gérard Calvet, one of the masters of the spiritual life.  Check-in to the monastery guesthouse, an enchanting 19-century chateau on a farm just down the road from the monastery.  Overnight at La Garde.

Day 5 – Saturday, June 6: Saint-Pierre-de-Clairac

After morning Mass in the chapel one of the monks who speaks English will address our group, showing a video on the history of the monastery and giving a talk on its foundation and growth since 2002.  La Garde, as a newer foundation, is growing at a perfect, slow and steady pace.  All the monks work to support themselves and the they are known for the fine hand-crafted leather sandals they make in their cobbler studio.  These sandals – made for men and women – are available for purchase in the gift shop.  Lunch.  Time to walk in the countryside and pray, admire the wild flowers and French country scenes.  Vespers and Compline in the monastery chapel.  Overnight at La Garde.

Day 6 – Sunday, June 7: Saint-Pierre-de-Clairac, Carcassonne, Toulouse 

After morning Mass in the chapel we will make our way to Carcassonne, a Medieval French fortified city along the border with Spain.  Admire this enchanting walled city, full of history, a Medieval village protected by high walls and 53 towers.  Time for shopping and lunch.  Next we visit Toulouse to see the tomb of St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest scholastic the Church has produced.  Pray in this holy place, located off the beaten path in a former Dominican convent chapel built in 1230.  Today the property is owned by the French government, the sad result of the Dominican Order having been banned in the wake of the French Revolution.  After Aquinas was canonized in 1323, he was transferred here in 1369 on account of this being the mother church of the Dominican Order.  Overnight at La Garde.

Day 7 – Monday, June 8: Saint-Pierre-de-Clairac, Tarbes, Lourdes

Today we enjoy the beauty of the countryside as we journey to Tarbes for lunch.  Visit the Cathedral, where Saint Vincent de Paul was ordained a deacon in 1598.  The church is known for its large, 18th century baroque marble canopy that covers the main altar, a feature that even garnered the attention of Napoleon, who spared it from plunder.  Arrival at the picturesque town of Lourdes, a renowned place of international pilgrimage, located on a beautiful river at the base of the Pyrénées.  Check-in to hotel.  Evening candlelight procession to the apparition site.  Overnight in Lourdes.

Day 8 – Tuesday, June 9: Lourdes

After morning Mass, time to bathe in the healing waters and drink from the stream.  Explore the basilica and shrine where Our Lady appeared eighteen times to St. Bernadette in 1858.  The day is open for a personal retreat.  Optional hike up the hill overlooking the shrine to pray the Stations of the Cross.  Free time for lunch and souvenir shopping.  You may wish to climb to the top of the castle to enjoy the majestic mountain views from the medieval towers.  Walk along the river.  Explore the apparition site and see where the pilgrims pray and shop.  Evening candlelight procession.  Overnight in Lourdes.

Day 9 – Wednesday, June 10: Lourdes

After morning Mass, free day to rest, relax, pray and shop.  Evening candlelight procession.  Overnight in Lourdes.

Day 10 – Thursday, June 11: Lourdes, Pau

This morning we drive to the airport to depart on flights home from Pau Pyrénées Airport.

NOTE:
Itinerary is subject to change.