Highlights of Provence, Lourdes and Barcelona
visit Nice, St. Paul de Vence, Avignon, Carcassonne, Lourdes, Montserrat, Barcelona and more!
12 Days ~ September 22 - October 3, 2024
Program Cost from Chicago
$5,689.00 - per person, twin occupancy
$1095.00 - supplemental cost for single room
Rates are based on a minimum of 27 passengers
$500.00 per person - due with reservation
$1500 per person - due by November 15, 2023
Balance due by May 20, 2024
Round trip air transportation from Chicago
10 nights accommodations in first class (3 & 4 star) hotels
Buffet breakfast daily; 6 dinners
Transportation by deluxe private motor coach
Professional tour manager in Europe
Comprehensive sightseeing as noted, including applicable entrance fees
Baggage handling at all hotels (where available) - 1 bag per person
Travel Documents, baggage tags, etc.
Sunday, September 22, 2024 - Chicago Departure: Today we depart from O’Hare Airport to begin our journey to Europe. Meals will be served aboard our overnight flight.
Monday, September 23 - Arrive Nice: Upon arrival in Nice we will meet our professional tour manager and coach driver. As we motor to our hotel in Nice, our tour manager will share information about our tour and details of today’s schedule. Dinner is included this evening. Welcome to France! (D)
Tuesday, September 24 - Nice / St. Paul de Vence / Nice: As the place where the Alps begin, Provence is famous for its perched villages. Today we will visit St. Paul de Vence, whose spectacular location and medieval atmosphere attracted some of the most vibrant artistic minds of the 20th century – Chagall, Picasso, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand. There will be time to absorb the unique atmosphere before we return to Nice for free time and an evening at leisure. (B)
Wednesday, September 25 - Nice / Vence / Grasse / Avignon area: This morning we will depart Nice to continue our journey into the heart of Provence, where through the ages Greeks, Romans and Saracens made their mark, leaving a wealth of cultural treasures. We’ll take the breathtaking drive into the mountains above the Cote d’Azur to visit the Chapel of the Rosary outside of Vence. Regarded by Henri Matisse himself as his masterpiece, it is seen as his gift to a young nurse who looked after him following cancer surgery and later became a Dominican nun. The chapel, its architecture and its contents, from stained glass windows to murals and vestments, are original works of the great artist. Following our visit, we will continue the short distance to Grasse. Worlds away from the wealth and opulent luxury of the coastal towns, this traditional Provencal town is the centre of French perfume manufacturing today. We will visit one of the perfume factories and there will be free time for lunch, before we continue to the Avignon area for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Thursday, September 26 - Avignon (Pont du Gard Excursion): Situated on the River Rhône, Avignon was home to seven Popes in the 14th Century. Our walking tour this morning will concentrate on their fortress residence and the Palace of the Popes, as well as the broken bridge of St. Benezet, made famous by the children’s song ‘Sur le Pont d’Avignon.’ This afternoon we will visit the Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct regarded as the supreme example of engineering 2000 years ago. We will return to our hotel for an evening at leisure. (B)
Friday, September 27 - Avignon / Nimes / Carcassonne: This morning we will depart Avignon and travel through the vineyards of Languedoc to Nimes, also rich in its Roman heritage. Our walking tour will focus on the perfectly preserved amphitheatre, another example of Roman engineering expertise. There will be free time for lunch and further sightseeing, before we continue to Carcassonne for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Saturday, September 28 - Carcassonne / Lourdes: The old town of Carcassonne is a medieval jewel, still completely surrounded by its medieval fortifications, where time seems to have stood still for 500 years. We’ll take a step back in time as we explore the old world charm of the impressive chateau, narrow alleyways and massive battlements with our local guide. There will be free time for lunch, shopping and further exploration, before we continue to Lourdes for the next two nights. (B, D)
Sunday, September 29 - Lourdes: The whole day will be dedicated to visiting the Shrine and following in the footsteps of the life of St. Bernadette, from the Boly Mill where she was born, to the Grotto of the Apparitions, to the Basilica dedicated to her name. We will celebrate Mass in one of the Chapels and the afternoon will be free to bathe in the healing waters, walk the Way of the Cross or take advantage of the shopping opportunities. We have the chance to join the Candlelight Procession during our free evening. (B)
Monday, September 30 - Lourdes / Montserrat / Barcelona: This morning we depart Lourdes to head south through some of France’s most spectacular mountain scenery, created by the mighty peaks of the Pyrenees. This natural barrier eventually forms the political boundary between France and Spain and the breathtaking panoramas continue as we drive to the spectacular location of the Benedictine Monastery at Montserrat, one of the most spectacular natural sites in Spain. The monastery was founded to house a carving of the Virgin Mary, which according to tradition was made by St. Luke and brought to the caves by St. Peter himself. Following our visit, we continue the short distance to Barcelona for the last two days of our tour. (B, D)
Tuesday, October 1 - Barcelona: Today we will explore one of Europe’s most vibrant cities - from the harbor area to the authentic Las Ramblas, from the Gothic Quarter with the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia to Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. The formal sightseeing with our local guide will be dictated by the appointment time for Sagrada Familia, with the remainder of the day and evening free to explore individually and sample the local restaurants. (B)
Wednesday, October 2 - Barcelona: The whole day is free to continue exploring this fascinating city, from the legacy of the 1992 Summer Olympics, to the treasures of its great artists at the Picasso Museum, the Joan Miro Foundation and the Park Guell masterpiece of urban architecture by Gaudi. We will celebrate our final Mass of the tour and enjoy our farewell dinner in the evening. (B, D)
Thursday, October 3 - Barcelona / Chicago: This morning we will transfer to Barcelona Airport to begin our journey home. We arrive in Chicago later today. Welcome Home!
B - Breakfast; D - Dinner