Created: 22.10.2015

DAY 1 - DEPART - We depart Chicago to connect with our overnight flight with dinner arriving the next day. We are served complementary beverages, in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft. DAY 2 ??? PARIS ??? Arrive in Paris. This morning we arrive in Paris where we are met and tour the sites of Paris including driving along the River Seine and pass by the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and travel down the famous Champs-Elysees.  We continue to our hotel for dinner and overnight.  DAY 3 ??? PARIS ??? This morning, we drive to Mont Martre and take the funicular up to Sacré Coeur where we celebrate Mass.  Afterwards, we will have a visit to the most enduring symbol of the French capital, the Notre Dame Cathedral on the Ile de la Cité. While here, we also make a stop at the Holy Chapel believed to hold relics, including nails and pieces of wood from the Cross of Calvary.  We will walk around the beautiful gardens of the Rodin Museum.  Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. DAY 4 ??? PARIS ??? This morning, we go to the Eiffel Tower which we will ride to the second level where we enjoy a spectacular view of Paris.  Afterwards, we will enjoy a delightful boat ride on the Seine River passing Notre Dame and other wonderful sites.  This afternoon, will be free for shopping, personal adventure or optional excursions.  We will have the opportunity to enjoy the culinary delights of Paris as dinner will be on our own. DAY 5 ??? VERSAILLES/CHARTRES/LOIRE VALLEY ??? This morning, we board our motor coach and make our way to Versailles and visit the Palace, which was the official residence of three Kings of France including Louis XVI who, with Marie-Antoinette, lived there during the first days of the Revolution in 1789.  We will also tour the Gardens there.  This afternoon we visit Chartres, former pagan sanctuary that was evangelized in the fourth century and became a pilgrimage site in 876. In this year, Charles the Bald gave the town the tunic that tradition says was worn by the Virgin Mary while giving birth to Jesus. The 13th century cathedral dominates this idyllic town, surrounded by wheat fields. The church building itself is literally a Bible in stone, with over 4,000 sculpted figures and 5,000 figures in the stained glass windows, illustrating the Bible and lives of the Saints. We continue south to the Loire Valley for dinner and overnight. DAY 6 ??? LOIRE VALLEY - We begin our day here at the wonderful Castle of Chenonceau also known as the Ladies' Castle.  The castle is an outstanding site from the French Renaissance period featuring remarkable furnishings and decorated with rare tapestries and old paintings.  Next we explore the delightful village of Amboise and following lunch on our own, we visit the house and grounds of Leonardo da Vinci???s Chateau de Clos Luce.  We continue on to our hotel for dinner and overnight. DAY 7 ???NORMANDY - Today we drive northwest to Colleville sur Mer and visit the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, the site of the Allied landing in 1944. We will celebrate Mass at the outdoor chapel on the cemetery grounds.  On to Mont St-Michel.  This Benedictine Abbey in the Diocese of Avranches, Normandy, France, is unquestionably the finest example both of French medieval architecture and of a fortified abbey.  The buildings of the monastery are piled round a conical mass of rock that rises abruptly out of the waters of the Atlantic to the height of 300 feet. We continue south to Pontorson near to Mt. St. Michael for dinner and overnight.   DAY 8 ??? MONT-ST-MICHEL/LISIEUX ??? This morning we visit Mont-St-Michel.  Built on a stalwart island, we will visit this wonderful abbey, which took nearly 500 years to build. We will have a tour of the Abbey. Afterwards we drive north to Lisieux, the home of St. Therese the Little Flower, where we celebrate Mass in the village convent. We also visit the Basilica dedicated to St. Therese.  The Basilica is the objective for pilgrims from the world over who come to kneel in solemn prayer to St. Therese.  Here we visit Les Buissonnets, where St. Therese lived as a child. Dinner and overnight at our hotel  Day 9 ??? GIVERNY/PARIS ???We depart Lisieux and drive to the villages of Giverny, made famous by the painter Claude Monet where it was his home. In 1883 Monet found a house here and moved in with his lover, his two sons, and her six children remaining until his death in 1926. Monet initially painted the countryside, but after 1890 when he bought the house and began transforming the gardens, he created his famous water lily paintings. He had a water-garden constructed, diverting the local river to his vision. We return to Paris where we will have free time to revisit places of interest or locations, last minute shopping or just sit and enjoy taking in the life of Paris. Dinner will be on our own tonight. Day 10 ??? PARIS ???We drive to Rue du Bac where we celebrate Mass at the Miraculous Medal Shrine of St. Catherine Laboure.  We continue for a visit to nearby Shrine of St. Vincent de Paul to view his burial place. We continue to the Louvre where we will enjoy lunch (on our own) followed by a tour of this wonderful museum including a view of the Mona Lisa. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. DAY 11 - RETURN - We transfer to the airport for our flight home to beautiful Chicago after a dream trip to France.

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