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Sacred Sites of France & Italy - Insight Vacations

Sacred Sites of France & Italy

Private Custom Group

Duration: 16 days • Countries visited: FranceItaly
Group trip type: Religious


Day to Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Welcome To Paris

    Welcome to Paris! Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy an orientation of vibrant Paris along the way. This evening meet for a Welcome Drink followed by a sparkling illumination trip in the ‘City of Light’. (D)

  1. Day 2: Highlights of Paris

    Visit the splendid Notre Dame Cathedral in the oldest part of the city - Ille de la Cite – alongside a local guide. Next we visit the 17th century Place des Vogues with its 36 houses retaining their original appearance and steep slate roofs. Then there is time to relax and see Paris from a different perspective on our highlight cruise of the River Siene. Afterwards we drive along the Champs Elysees with its luxury shops and see the Arc de Triomphe, the fabulous Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. This afternoon is at leisure to explore. (BB)

  1. Day 3: Amiens & Lisieux

    After breakfast, we travel north to where the Anzacs fought on the Western Front and visit a War Memorial. We continue to the charming town of Amiens, one of the richest cultural cities in France, where we see the crying Angel, symbol for the Anzacs and beautiful Ste-Cecile – it’s 13th century Gothic at its best. We then continue onto Lisieux, with its closely-packed hedgerows, thatched cottages and old manors. (BB)

  1. Day 4: Sacred Sites Between Lisieux & Nevers

    This morning we visit St Therese Chapel, ‘Les Buissonets” where St Therese lived, the Basilica and the Carmelite Convent. We continue to Chartres and visit the famous Cathedral. This is one of the best preserved medieval Christian monuments in the western world containing more than five thousand figures in its stained glass windows depicting bible scenes and lives of great saints. Then on to Nevers, nestled in the picturesque Loire Valley, we visit the small town of Paray Le Monial where Saint Margaret Alacoque experienced visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (BB)

  1. Day 5: Nevers to the Pilgrimage City of Rocamadour

    We have an early start, as we journey to Rocamadour. Built against the side of a cliff, this sacred city is a spectacular site offering breathtaking views of the valley below. Millions of pilgrims come here each year to pray at the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which has claimed many healings. We will also visit the Chapel of the Black Virgin. (BB)

  1. Day 6: Lourdes & the Pyrenees

    Today we travel to Lourdes, set admist the majestic Pyrenees. Lourdes was just a small market town on 11 February 1858, when Bernadette Soubirous met, along the Gave, the “Lady” that made the town a Marian city. Lourdes now receives 5 million visitors from all over the world every year. (BB)

  1. Day 7: Grotto of Lourdes

    This morning we visit the miraculous Grotto. The rest of the day is free for a visit and prayers for the sick at the Baths. Here you may choose to enter the Baths, or drink the Lourdes water at the taps. Perhaps you’d like to join the emotive candlelight procession this evening for an unforgettable experience. (BB)

  1. Day 8: Van Gogh’s Provence & Chic Nice

    Today via the walled city of Carcassonne and Montpellier, we travel across the Camargue, famous for its wild bulls, horses and flamingos, into the landscapes of Van Gough’s beloved Provence to the fashionable Nice, otherwise known as ‘Queen of the Riviera’, one of the oldest cities on the Cote d’Azur. (BB)

  1. Day 9: Leaning Tower of Pisa & Florence

    Following the sparkling coast, past the famed Monte Carlo, we travel into Italy to Genoa, birthplace of Christopher Columbus, passing the marble quarries of Carrara before arriving at the beautiful city of Pisa where we visit the Field of Miracles. In the centre stands a world-famous sight, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There is time for a unique photo, to admire the beautiful Baptistery and Cathedral. We then continue on to one of Europe’s most important cities in the heart of Tuscany, Florence. If time permits, we will enjoy an orientation Florence. (BB)

  1. Day 10: Wonders of Florence

    This morning we set off alongside a local guide on a sightseeing trip, which includes a visit to Academy Gallery, viewing Michelangelo’s original statue of David, and the Uffizi Gallery housing the world’s greatest collection of Renaissance paintings. We also enjoy a walking excursion, taking in such highlights as the multi-coloured marble Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s belltower, the Gates of Paradise and Piazza Signoria. We are treated to a demonstration of leatherwork around Santa Croce Basilica, where the craft was originally established. Then there is time to shop at Florence’s finest. (BB)

  1. Day 11: Chianti Region & Assisi

    We travel through the vineyards of the Chianti region en route to Assisi. Here we see the Church of St Mary of the Angels and enjoy a guided visit to St Francis’ Basilica, where St Frances lived for most of his life. (BB)

  1. Day 12: Holy Town of Assisi

    This morning we awake to the atmospheric sounds of chapel bells, cobblestone footsteps and a tangible spirit of St Francis preserved within the walls of this holy town. After breakfast our first stop will be St Damien’s Church (San Damiano), built on the site where St Francis heard the voice of Christ speaking through the crucifix, “Go and repair my church which you can see is falling down.” We then visit The Hermitage, an oasis of peace and tranquility in the woods where St Francis often withdrew to spend many hours in prayer. The rest of the day is at leisure to wander through the ancient streets or spend further reflective time at the Hermitage. (BB)

  1. Day 13: Tiber Valley Towards Ancient Rome

    Today we continue along the Tiber valley to the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to relax or explore this ancient city full of historical sights. Spend some time wandering through the vast parklands of the Villa Borghese or perhaps visit the well preserved Pantheon, or soak up the atmosphere in the Piazza Navona. (BB)

  1. Day 14: Highlights of Rome

    This morning we set off on our in-depth sightseeing trip alongside a local guide. We start at the Vatican Museums, the treasure house of the Catholic faith with vast collections of ancient and Renaissance art, continuing to the Sistine Chapel, where we admire the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo and wonder at his emotive ‘Pieta’ inside the magnificent St Peter’s Basilica. We also see Bernini’s ‘Popes Altar’ above the spot where St Peter is reputed to have been crucified. We now cross the river to ancient classical Rome and visit the world’s largest Roman arena, the Colosseum, the scene of many gladiatorial contests. We also look out over the Roman Forum, the centre of ancient public life. (BB)

  1. Day 15: Sacred Rome

    Today we visit the Catacombs where ancient Christians worshipped in secret and escaped to avoid persecution – it was also used as an underground burial place. Next we visit the Basilica of St Paul without the Walls - built on the site of St Paul’s Tomb – and see the interior, celebrated for its great works of art. (BB)

  1. Day 16: Farewell Rome

    After breakfast, our memorable trip ends with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey. (BB)

Meal guide: BB = Buffet Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel Dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch


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