Pilgrimage in France may immediately bring to mind Lourdes and St Bernadette but nearer to home are regions which boast both saints and medieval cathedrals, whilst offering the full range of France's culinary and cultural attractions.
“Each small task of everyday life is part of the total harmony of the universe”
Therese of Lisieux
Besides Lourdes, there is much of interest to the pilgrim in France. Chartres has its magnificent Gothic cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady. Besides numerous other Marian Shrines, many other saints have made their mark on France. Lisieux of course is associated with St Therése, undoubtedly a saint for our times. Dax, in southwest France was the birthplace of St Vincent de Paul. Even St James, whose shrine is on the other side of Spain, made his mark here. Many pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago began their journey in Paris and the route can still be followed today, through such great towns as Orleans, Poitiers and Tours.
Avignon provides a tour of great contrasts. On the one hand it was the centre for the Avignon Papacy in the middle ages. On the other, its Protestant presence is of great significance.
Besides the spiritual feast on offer, France has much to offer the hedonist, be it fine architecture, good food or superb wines. It is perfectly possible to combine elements of both secular and sacred on the same tour, perhaps by taking the theme of Shrines and Vines.
Whether you choose a spiritual or secular theme, an ancient pilgrimage route or modern shrines, you are bound to be well satisfied with what France has to offer.