Portals to the Sacred Pilgrimages .... exploring sacred portals


Burgundy 2019

You are invited to participate in a 14-day pilgrimage crossing ancient Portals to the Sacred that pilgrims have traversed for centuries. These external thresholds invite interior exploration as you enter liminal space. You will join the footsteps of some of the early monks of medieval France as you experience and encounter passageways to the Holy. Your pilgrim guides — Jeff Gaines, John Griffin, Tom Glenn and Maggi Henderson — will provide opportunities to explore sites held sacred by the faithful down through the centuries.

We will travel by vans from Paris to Vezelay — a 12th century village perched on a hill in Burgundy — from which many a pilgrimage began. Our focus, Portals to the Sacred, will take you from there to some of the sites sacred to the Benedictine and Cistercian monastic movements in Burgundy: Cluny, Fontenay and Brancion. With Cluny as a home base, we will worship with the community at Taizé, a portal through which many pilgrims today encounter God. At Taizé — we will gather for Prayer Around the Cross on Friday, September 27, the Service of Light on Saturday, September 28 and the Feast of the Resurrection on Sunday, September 29.

From Cluny, we will make our way to the heart of Burgundy staying in Dijon and exploring the delights and wonder of this ancient city as we gain glimpses of life in Medieval times as well as satisfy our senses with the cuisine of this region.

Then onto Chartres where we will explore one of Europe's most well-known Cathedrals as well as the delightful city in which it is located. With other pilgrims, we will pray/walk the ancient labyrinth — a different portal to the sacred — located in the nave of the cathedral.

From Chartres, we will return to Paris on Saturday, October 5, allowing you to be a pilgrim in the "city of light" where wonderful museums, churches, architecture and boulevards await your discovery.

Portals to the Sacred Pilgrimages is a member of the family of ministries of Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church located in San Francisco, CA.

Dates and Cost: This 14 - day pilgrimage will take place from September 24 – October 7, 2019 and is limited to 16 people.  It both begins and ends at Hotel St. Jacques on the Left Bank. We will meet in Paris, Tuesday, September 24, leaving from Hotel St. Jacques at 10 a.m. The pilgrimage ends with breakfast on Monday, October 7.

Cost is $3995¤, plus airfare. This includes comfortable double rooms with toilet and bath (a single supplement is an extra $850**), all breakfasts & dinners; presentations on the lives of certain mystics, monastic communities, religious art and history, along with prayer experiences, liturgies and rituals; guided tours; museums; cultural events; wine and cheese tastings and a concluding banquet.  You will be expected to cover your own costs for lunches, tips, snacks, alcohol+, souvenirs, expenses during free time; and transportation to and from airports.  Special dietary needs will be difficult to meet since the French diet depends heavily on cheese, dairy, breads, fish and fowl. Vegan diets will not be able to be accommodated.

¤ If there is an increase in the exchange rate, above 1.20 €uros an exchange supplement will be assessed.

** If a suitable roommate is not available, you will be asked to pay the single supplement.

The pilgrimage will provide 2 glasses of wine with each dinner. Wine over this will be the individual's responsibility.  

Note: If we don’t have a full pilgrimage by March 15, 2019 it will be postponed until 2020.

Deposit/Payment Information: A deposit of $850 toward the $3995 is needed initially, in addition to a non-refundable $780 processing fee, to reserve your space. Since the group size is limited, we urge you to send in your deposit as soon as possible with the balance of the payment due by March 15, 2019.

For an application please contact Jeff Gaines at:

An itinerary, plus other helpful information, will be sent upon receipt of your application and deposit. 

Cancellation/Refund Policy: If you should have to cancel prior to 120 days before departure, an administrative charge of $800 per person will be applied against any refund. Within 119-100 days of departure, an additional cancellation charge of $600 per person will apply. Within 99 days of departure, we will base refunds upon monies recoverable subject to the rules and regulations of the hotels, land operators, etc.  In most cases, monies are not recoverable and forfeiture will be 100% of payment.

Air Travel: If you choose to arrive earlier or stay longer on your own, please let us know when you send in your application, with deposit, so we can plan accordingly.

Since you will be making your own flight arrangements, you will need to be in Paris (at Hotel St. Jacques on the Left Bank) by Tuesday, September 24 at 10 a.m. It is essential that you arrive in Paris a day or so earlier to help with the adjustment to jet-lag and the time change. This will also allow us to leave for Vezelay at 10 a.m. on September 24.