On the morning of June 6, 1944, “Operation Overlord,” history’s largest military operation, commenced as 6000 ships and boats landed on Normandy’s northern beaches. 135,000 soldiers from the USA, UK, Canada and elsewhere began to recapture French soil from the clutches of the Nazi occupation. History would record this as D-Day. Come explore this small section of France that changed the course of history.
As you land in France you will enter into Europe’s fabled land of good food, iconic landmarks and hidden landscapes. On your pilgrimage, live in at a monastery in the western borderlands of Normandy. Your home will be a magnificent green setting typical of Normandy. In quiet and silence, this community welcomes us for a time of retreat, recollection, and rest on our missions trip. Finish your trip in the magical city of Lights, Paris, and partake of some of history’s greatest icons.
- Spend some time singing with the monks in an ancient abbey.
- Think on what courage and sacrifice truly is as you visit the D-Day beaches.
- Visit one of the greatest Christian sites in the world, Mount Saint Michel.
- Take a dip in the Atlantic on a beautiful beach.
- Relive history and learn how Normandy has been on the hinges of history.
- Visit several iconic sites instead of just seeing them in pictures.
- Serve at a monastery and learn a different rhythm of life.
- Help with homeless ministry in the bustling city of Paris.
- Work on an environmental beautification project.
Every Wonder Voyage itinerary (mission trip and/or pilgrimage) is personalized
to the desires, direction and personality of each group. This itinerary is only a
description of the kind of journey we can create for your unique team.
Day 1 – Bienvenue en France!
Welcome to France, Europeʼs fabled land of good food, iconic landmarks and hidden landscapes. We will be heading north to our first home in Normandy. This area of France has been the launching pad and the landing point for several of historyʼs greatest invasions. After our first French lunch and a bit of exploration we will arrive at our Monastery, a magnificent green setting typical of Normandy. We will spend the afternoon exploring the grounds, engaging in orientation and exploring the themes of our pilgrimage. In quiet and silence, this community will welcome us for a time of retreat, recollection, and rest.
Day 2 – Sacrifice
On the morning of June 6, 1944, “Operation Overlord,” historyʼs largest military operation, commenced as 6000 ships and boats landed on Normandyʼs northern beaches. 135,000 soldiers from the USA, UK, Canada and elsewhere began to recapture French soil from the clutches of the Nazi occupation. History would record this as D-Day, and the beginning of the 76-day battle of Normandy, which would see over 400,000 Allied, German and civilian casualties. Today we explore another small section of Normandy that changed the course of history. We will learn about that fated day by visiting some of the beaches, such as Omaha and Utah. It is a day to contemplate sacrifice and the cost of freedom. We finish the day at Arromaches to take in a 360-degree view of the Norman coast.
Day 3 – Sabbath
Sundays are quiet in France, but we’ll be on the move as we drive into the Cotentin Penisula. We will visit the Norman town of Coutance before we come to our next retreat center which happens to sit near the sea. The afternoon will be filled with hiking and maybe even a bit of horseback. We will enjoy an evening of rest and rejuvenation.
Day 4 – Mont St-Michel
Today we visit the iconic and holy sanctuary of Mont St-Michel. This small mountain island was originally known in Celtic mythology as a sea tomb for the souls of Celtic heroes. In 708, Bishop Aubert of Avranches built a devotional chapel after receiving a vision from the Archangel Michael. The Benedictines occupied the property in the 10th century and a hundred years later the ecclesiastical fortress was built. We will spend the day exploring this Unesco heritage site.
Day 5 – Chartes
We have a few hours of driving after we leave the Star of the Sea, but exploration is never far away. On our way into the city of dreams we will take time to stop at one of Franceʼs most beloved holy sites: Chartes Cathedral. This 13th century sanctuary dominates the medieval town that surrounds it. This is a must-see for any visitor to France. If we have any extra time we’ll explore the surrounding town. By late afternoon we will reach our home for the next three days in the heart of Paris.
Day 6 – Ah, Paris!
Ah, Paris! We will have two days of exploration in the City of Lights. We’ll start from our hostel and take a walking tour to the Arc de Triomphe, and enjoy the buzz and beauty of Paris. Later that morning, we will partake of a Eucharist service at the American Cathedral. And in the afternoon, we visit the world’s greatest art museum: the Louvre. More surprises wait as we roll into the evening.
Day 7 – Paris Your Way
You have much to see in your last full day in Paris. We will start at Ste. Chapelle, to get an idea of how Notre Dame would have looked. From there, we will visit the world-famous Notre Dame. Look out for the gargoyles: they are always watching! The afternoon will be left open for independent exploration. Will you visit the Latin Quarter, shop or visit a small cafe? We regroup in the early evening at the Eiffel Tower and then go out for our Celebration Meal. Finally back at our retreat center where we will Pass the Candle and share our moments of wonder from our week.
Day 8 – Un Pèlerin de Départ
Our team has engaged in the adventure of a lifetime. Our week in France has been a pilgrimage filled with wonder, laughter and love. We have learned about this amazing country, worshipped God in ancient sanctuaries and visited world icons. Now it is back to our home, where the real pilgrimage of our faith has just begun.