Menu

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

NORMANDY: SEPTEMBER 9 - 21, 2020 ITINERARY & COSTS

You are invited to participate in a 13-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 (see pilgrimage definition, below). Your pilgrim guides — Jeff Gaines, John Griffin, Tom Glenn and Maggi Henderson — will provide you opportunities to walk sites held sacred by the faithful down through the centuries.

We will travel by vans from Paris to Rouen — a 12th century city once the historic capital of the ancient Duchy of Normandy which in the Middle-Ages was one of France’s largest and most prosperous cities.

Our focus, Portals to the Sacred, will take you from there to one of the sites sacred to the Benedictine monastic movements in Normandy: Jumieges.  Although now a ruin, one can still experience its glorious architecture and feel the serenity in the beautiful grounds that surround it. With Bayeux as a home base, we will travel to the Normandy Beaches including the American Memorial Cemetery above Omaha Beach. This place best known for the Normandy Landings in WW2 may seem like an odd container for the sacred, and yet, we have found it to be among one of the most moving experiences of our lives. In Bayeux, we'll also have the opportunity to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry woven to commemorate the Norman conquest of England in 1066 – all 250 feet of it still preserved!

From Bayeux, we will make our way to one of the marvels of the middle ages: Mont Saint Michel. While there, we'll have the delight of wandering through and experiencing the wonders of this walled island hamlet on the coast of France.

Then onto Chartres where we will encounter one of Europe's most well known Cathedrals as well as the delightful city in which it is located. With other pilgrims, we hope to be able to 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, 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 13-day pilgrimage will take place from September 9 ending Monday, September 21 following breakfast. Our pilgrimage is limited to 12 people.  We will meet in Paris, Wednesday, September 9, leaving from Hotel St. Jacques on the Left Bank at 10 a.m.

Cost is $3995, plus airfare, plus fees (a deposit of $850 toward the $3995 is needed initially, in addition to a non-refundable $500 processing fee along with a $500 reservation fee [refundable]). This includes comfortable double rooms with toilet and bath  (a single supplement is an extra $850**), all breakfasts & main meal of the day; 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; 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, breads, fish and fowl.

¤ If there is an increase in the exchange rate above 1.25€uro 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 January 20, 2020 it will be postponed until 2021.

Deposit/Payment Information: A deposit of $850 toward the $3995 is needed initially, in addition to a non-refundable $500 processing fee along with a $500 reservation fee [refundable] is required to reserve your space ($1850 total deposit). 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 January 15, 2020. For an application please contact Jeff Gaines: jgaines@seventhavenuechurch.org

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 Wednesday September 9 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 Rouen at 10 a.m. September 9.