Are you a believer looking for a spiritual journey? Do you want to explore the spiritual sites of France? If so, these religious tours in France are for you! We’ll take you on an unforgettable tour of France’s religious landmarks, from cathedrals to shrines, pilgrimage sites, and beyond.
France is a country of diverse landscapes and cultures. But one thing that unites the French people is their Catholic faith. Almost 85% of French people identify as Roman Catholics. With more than 5,000 churches and cathedrals in the country—not to mention countless religious shrines—France has no shortage of places for devout pilgrims to visit.
There are plenty of opportunities for excursionists who want to see where some of Catholicism’s most famous sights are located. From Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris. Read more to discover the best religious tours in France.
Table of Contents
- Best Religious Tours in France
- 1. Skip-the-Line Ticket to Sainte Chapelle
- 2. Notre Dame Cathedral Outdoor Walking Tour with Crypt Entry
- 3. Private Day trip to Mont Saint-Michel, Monastery & Abbey
- 4. Shrines of France Pilgrimage Tour
- 5. From San Sebastián: Sanctuary of Lourdes Private Day Trip
- 6. Chartres and Its Cathedral: 5-Hour Tour from Paris with Private Transport
- 7. Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre Tour with Expert Guide
- 8. From Paris: Mont Saint Michel Guided Day Trip
- 9. Reims: Cathedral of Notre Dame Entry Ticket and Guided Tour
- 10. Paris: Basilique Saint-Denis Entry Ticket
- 11. Paris: Best Churches in the City Private Walking Tour
- 12. Paris City Center “The History of Paris” Exclusive Guided Walking Tour
- Best Religious Sites in France
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Mont St-Michel Abbey
- Chartres Cathedral
- Paray-le-Monial Pilgrimage
- Sacre-Coeur of Paris
- The Abbaye de Royaumont
- Reims Cathedral
- The Abbey of Saint-Denis
- Archbishopric of Lyon and the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre
- Cluny Abbey Museum – National Museum of Sculptures
- Lourdes Sanctuary
- Which is the most famous church in Paris?
- How many churches can you find in Paris?
- Can you attend a mass in the Cathedral of Notre Dame?
- How many days do you need in Lourdes, France?
- Which town in southern France is a popular pilgrimage site?
Best Religious Tours in France
This skip-the-line ticket lets you take a self-guided tour of Sainte Chapelle in Paris. You can admire more than 1,000 stained glass windows in this Gothic-era gem.
This tour allows you to explore the Gothic style and stunning stained glass artistry of Paris’s Sainte Chapelle Cathedral. You can admire this jewel of the French Gothic aesthetic at your speed. And you can also get a hand with a self-guided tour brochure.
You can study the magnificent stained-glass windows that have contributed to Sainte Chapelle’s fame. The stained glass panels show 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments spread across 15 windows.
Using your tour brochure, learn more about these glass portrayals. Learn about sacred relics and artifacts preserved here, such as the Crown of Thorns and the Image of Edessa.
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On this daytime tour, visit the archaeological crypt of Paris and the foundations of the old city. It is an indispensable stop when visiting Paris. See the remains of this famous church’s history, tragedy, and hopeful future.
Learn about Notre Dame’s decades of development and the fire that nearly erased history. Get your tickets to the Paris archaeological crypt and see the foundations of the old city. And marvel at one of Paris’ most iconic and historical structures.
Learn how the building began in 1163 and took over a century to complete. Relive the night people watched in horror as the cathedral filled the sky with ash. And discover what was lost along with what was spared.
Share in the survivor’s narrative and recovery efforts of first responders. Walk around the fire area with a guide as they tell first-hand accounts of this momentous event.
You can admire the well-known facade’s iconic features, such as the towers and famed gargoyles. And recall the moments when their existence was doubtful.
Get as close to Point Zero as possible. The geographic center of Paris, sometimes considered a lucky location is steps from the iconic cathedral. The 45-minute walking trip concludes at the entrance to the archaeological crypt beneath Notre Dame.
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Mont Saint Michel is a distant medieval abbey erected on a tidal island in the middle of a vast expanse of land and sky. This location is so distinctive that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And it is one of France’s most gorgeous attractions.
Go with your driver and guide from your hotel through this Private Day Trip to Mont Saint-Michel, Monastary & Abbey. Drive through the lovely French countryside of Normandy and Brittany. You can go to the northwestern coast of France and the famous medieval monastery of Mont Saint-Michel.
You can wander inside the magnificent Mont St Michel Abbey. And take in the awe-inspiring views from the parapets. You can walk up the historic Grand Rue and take in the medieval old-world aura that still exists today.
Enter the catholic church, which houses a sacred shrine to St Michael the Archangel, and prepare to climb, as the citadel is built on a mound!
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4. Shrines of France Pilgrimage Tour
The Shrines of France Pilgrimage Tour takes you to France’s most renowned cathedrals, old churches, and pilgrimage sites. This Shrines of France Pilgrimage Tour arrive in Lourdes – the great shrine is known across the globe as a place for physical and spiritual healing.
You have ample time to pray at the Grotto, where Our Lady appeared to Saint Bernadette in 1858. It is named “the Immaculate Conception” and bathes in the Miraculous Water.
It will go to the Boly Mill and the Cachot – the jail where Bernadette’s family used to live. And you can join in on the nightly Candlelight Procession.
In Toulouse, you can visit the Eglise des Jacobins, where St. Thomas Aquinas is buried. You can stop there before going to Rocamadour, the clifftop shrine of a Christian hermit named Zaccheus. He was the “tax collector” of Jericho. He came to the land known as Gaul with St. Veronica and St. Mary Magdalen to spread the good news.
You can celebrate Mass and visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Rocamadour. It is where the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary and the tomb of St. Zaccheus are.
You can also visit the Chapel of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial. It is where Jesus exposed His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. And the Taize Community, where people meet for prayer, Bible study, and community work. You can reflect on what it means to live a life according to the Scriptures.
In Nevers, you can visit the convent chapel where St. Bernadette’s impoverished family lived until she died in 1879. You can witness her preserved incorrupt body.
You can also visit the famed Chartres Cathedral. And witness the spectacular “Rose Window” constructed of stained glass at Chartres.
The highlight of the Shrines France Pilgrimage Tour is the visit to Mont St.Michel. It is the spot where St. Michael the Archangel appeared three times.
It was built as a sanctuary and consecrated in 709. But it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is claimed to be the most photographed site in France.
The Shrines of France Pilgrimage Tour will stop in Lisieux to visit the Shrine of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. St. Therese, sometimes known as “the Little Flower,” demonstrated how to become a saint by “doing modest things with enormous love.”
On this tour, you can visit the Basilica dedicated to the Saint Pope Pius X called “the greatest patron saint of contemporary times.” And “the Carmel,” the Convent where she lived, “Les Buissonets,” her family home, and St. Peter’s Ancient Cathedral.
You can celebrate Mass at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. It houses St. Catherine Laboure’s body and St. Vincent de Paul’s incorrupt heart. Her guardian angel escorted her, where the Blessed Virgin revealed the miraculous medal and the green scapular.
The Shrines of France Pilgrimage Tour will not be complete with a panoramic sightseeing trip to the City of Lights. Also, the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, L’ Arc de Triomphe, and Champs Elysees.
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On this day trip from San Sebastián, explore the pilgrimage destination of Lourdes in France. Experience the healing powers of the sanctuary and take a guided tour of the basilicas.
Don’t miss out on the spiritual experience of being surrounded by the love of the Lady of Lourdes. It has been one of the world’s holiest places since the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.
Learn about the Lourdes signs: the rock, the light, the water, the crowd, the sick people, and so on. You will learn about Bernadette Soubirous’ life and tale. And the apparitions that occur around the town of Lourdes.
You will also see the entire sanctuary and a few more locations.
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On this tour, you can see towering spires and medieval houses along the Eure River. It’s a 5-hour excursion from Paris to Chartres with a private driver and guide.
Explore the rich symbols and artwork that adorn the awe-inspiring interior of Chartres Cathedral. And discover why it has been a pilgrimage site since the 12th century.
Enjoy the freedom of a private tour, allowing you to explore the cathedral and surrounding the old city at your leisure. And you will have plenty of time to view the places that most interest you.
An expert tour will take you into Sacré-Coeur, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Be amazed at the world’s giant mosaic before meandering through Montmartre.
Delve into the exterior of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, built between 1874 and 1914. And you can take to Paris’ artistic and scenic villages.
The tour begins outside the Sacred Heart. Your experienced guide will teach you about the Basilica’s exterior and interior. You can see Christ in Majesty, the world’s giant mosaic representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was honored by the Virgin Mary, Jeanne d’Arc, and St. Michael the Archangel.
After the Basilica, your guide will take you to Montmartre. Montmartre has always stood out from the rest of Paris. It’s a big hill in the city’s northern 18th Arrondissement.
And it is the home of artists, revolutionaries, and outsiders who have played a significant role in the city’s unique history.
Around every corner, these alleyways carry amazing stories and a distinct perspective. And the Place du Tertre is one of Paris’ most famous squares. There is no more wonderful neighborhood than Montmartre.
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Explore the magic of Mont Saint Michel with this tour, followed by checking out the hilltop abbey with an informative audio guide. And you can have some free time to explore the picturesque neighborhood.
Book this guided day trip from Paris to Mont Saint-Michel. Discover the attractions with your guide before heading to Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey. After that, take some time to explore on your own.
Take a private carriage from Paris to the island of Mont Saint Michel. Listen as your guide tells you stories about the abbey’s history.
On an orientation trip, follow your guide to explore the most crucial monuments, including the mountaintop Abbey of Mont Saint Michel. Spend a few hours exploring the abbey. Or you can soak in the splendor of its interior and meander through the beautiful avenues.
Lunch selections range from primitive beef dining rooms to upscale eateries. And it has bay-view terraces that specialize in seafood. Visit one of Mont Saint Michel’s creperies and pair galettes (buckwheat pancakes) with Normandy cider.
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On this guided tour, you’ll see the majestic statues, gothic architecture, and beautiful stained-glass windows of Reims Cathedral.
You can see the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims. It’s a landmark of French Gothic art and architecture where many of France’s kings were crowned, transporting you back in time.
Admire the cathedral’s stunning façade, which dates back to the Middle Ages. And venture inside to uncover the church’s many secrets.
Inside, you can marvel at exquisite tapestries and stained-glass windows from the 13th to the 20th century. Learn more about the church’s history from your licensed guide. And find out which kings were crowned there.
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On this exciting tour, visit the beautiful Basilica of Saint-Denis in Paris’s northern suburbs, the last abode of the French kings. Explore this magnificent medieval abbey church. And see the fine religious architecture and rare Gothic artworks.
Take a short drive to the northern outskirts of Paris. And see the beautiful Basilique Saint-Denis. The royal abbey, built on the grave of Saint-Denis, was the final resting place of 43 monarchs, 32 queens, and ten royal servants. In 1966, the Basilica was elevated to the status of a cathedral.
Discover the Basilica’s most extensive collection of funeral sculptures—Amble through the building’s interior and exterior to see outstanding Gothic art and architecture. Discover how the architect’s emphasis on light as a symbol of divinity was groundbreaking at the time. See the Kings of France’s final resting place. And the unique collection of 70 sculpted monuments.
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On this private walking tour in Paris, visit Saint-Chapelle. And venture outside of the famed Notre Dame Cathedral. Discover the city’s most famous churches and learn about their history.
Paris’s churches and cathedrals are great examples of Parisian architecture and art. They witness France’s complex religious history, from the fall of the Roman Empire through the French Revolution and its aftermath. A 5-Star Expert Guide will take you to the most prominent sacred monuments in the City of Lights.
The 2.5-hour tour includes Old Town Paris sightseeing and visits to two cathedrals. The journey begins with checking out Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, a magnificent 12th-century Gothic church across the street from the Louver Palace. You’ll see stained glass, stone sculptures, and a Flemish altarpiece.
Your Local Guide will entertain you with historical facts about religion in France. At the same time, you explore the church interiors, including the relationship between the King and the Pope. And the reasons for the later separation of the Catholic Church and the State.
Amble down the Seine River to visit the Saint-Jacques Tower, the last surviving component of a 16th-century church demolished during the French Revolution. Visit the Ile de la Cité island to see one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Although the cathedral has been closed, you may still view some of the Gothic exterior’s beautiful elements. Saint-Germain-des-Prés is another wonderful church along this route. This medieval monastery, built in 506, was the focus of intellectual life before the French Revolution. The tombs of Rene Descartes, Merovingian kings, and other significant figures can be found inside this magnificent Gothic chapel.
Choose the 3.5-hour option to visit another revered Paris icon, the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel). Skip-the-line tickets to a royal chapel within the medieval Palais de la Cité. It’s a former house of the Kings of France included in this extended trip.
Bypass the crowds and enter a small but ornamented chapel, regarded as one of the pinnacles of Rayonnant Gothic architecture. Admire its exquisite interiors and learn about the royal chapel’s significance in King Louis IX’s and his successors’ political and cultural objectives.
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On this walking tour of Paris, you can tick off some of the city’s most iconic attractions. You’ll visit one of Paris’ oldest districts, Île de la Cité. And explore the immaculate Tuileries Gardens with your guide.
Visit the world’s first guillotine at Place de la Concorde. Enjoy the majesty of Fontaine Saint-Michel. And delve into Paris’ dramatic past as you amble along the Champs Elysees. It is the world-famous boulevard that sides the River Seine.
As the undeniable heart of Paris, your journey should begin outside Notre Dame Cathedral. You’ll meet your private guide here and tour the famed landmark’s exterior. After receiving a historical overview of the Gothic marvel, cross Pont Neuf, the city’s oldest bridge.
The Tuileries Gardens are your next stop before delving into Paris’ dark history. And see the Place de la Concorde, the site of Paris’ notorious guillotine.
Before ending your historical trip, visit the famed Louvre museum and Fontaine Saint Michele.
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Best Religious Sites in France
Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral is a Gothic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris. And it is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The building was started in 1163 and completed in 1345.
Notre Dame is famous for its stained glass windows. It includes those on all sides of its slender tower called La Flèche (“the arrow”).
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Mont St-Michel Abbey
Mont St-Michel Abbey is a historical monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located on an island off the coast of Normandy in France.
It’s a Benedictine monastery founded in 966 by Saint Aubert, Bishop of Avranches. The abbey has been occupied since then.
The buildings were constructed beginning in the 10th century. Structural additions are made throughout the centuries until 1789. It was when revolutionary forces occupied Mont St-Michel during the French Revolution.
In 1874 it became part of an order of nuns called “Sisters of Our Lady.” And the buildings were restored between 1845 and 1864.
Chartres Cathedral is a magnificent Gothic cathedral in Chartres, France, built from the 12th to 15th centuries. It’s located about two hours southwest of Paris, making it an ideal day trip from the city.
The cathedral itself is certainly worth visiting for its architectural and historical significance. And this is special because it’s home to one of only three perfect rose windows in France.
When you arrive at Chartres Cathedral, you’ll be surrounded by tiny stained-glass windows. It depicts scenes from both Christianity and ancient Egypt.
But there are only three rose windows that were created during roughly the same period. Chartres’ other famous works are Notre Dame de Paris (1163), La Sainte-Chapelle (1248), and Amiens Cathedral (1310).
Chartres Cathedral is the most famous among these three rose windows containing over 8000 pieces of glass! More than 5 million dynamic colors flood through its intricate patterns and designs. You can view it up close on a sunny day with plenty of shadows casting its interior illumination.
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The Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion is practiced in Paray-le-Monial. God chose St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to be the instrument that would lead the world back to Christ through devotion to his Sacred Heart.
This devotion was intended to fight the frigid and austere Jansenism heresy. It hinders French people from receiving the Eucharist and becoming closer to Christ. The Jesuits chastised the Jansenists for focusing on sin, depravity, and predestination.
The A6 connects to Paray-le-Monial, about a two-hour drive northwest of Lyon. Paris is also a four-hour journey away from Paray (230 miles). Every day, many trains run between Lyon and Paray-le-Monial. It is only a two-hour ride, so you can certainly drop by and visit!
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Sacre-Coeur of Paris
The Sacre-Coeur of Paris is a Roman Catholic basilica. It’s a national shrine on the top of Montmartre in Paris, France. And it is the second most visited monument in Paris after the Eiffel Tower.
It was designed by Paul Abadie, who also designed the Basilica of Saint-Denis. And he managed to complete it before he died in 1884. The structure took 26 years to complete, with construction starting in 1875 and ending in 1914.
The exterior design resembles that of Notre Dame de Paris. Its Gothic-style spires, flying buttresses, and carvings are on the facade. But don’t be fooled by its grandeur, as it only has an internal seating capacity for 2,000 people. So don’t be surprised if you wait outside during your visit!
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The Abbaye de Royaumont
The Abbaye de Royaumont is a monastery located in Oise, France. It was founded in 1030 by Saint Robert of Molesme and was the first Cistercian monastery in France.
The abbey contains many medieval artworks. It includes sculptures and frescoes from the Romanesque period. And the famous tombs such as King Philip Ist of France and his family.
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Reims Cathedral is a Gothic cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Reims. It is located on the city’s highest point, near the old town’s north end.
The cathedral began in 1211 to replace an older structure destroyed by fire in 1194. It was dedicated in 1260, 50 years after construction began. But it was completed only in 1321 when its famous spires were added (destroyed during World War I but rebuilt after).
The two towers date from about 1490, replacing the original ones damaged during another war with England.
French architect Eugène Viollet-le Duc redid the interior from 1849–79. The only significant changes were stained glass windows added a range of times during those years. And there are some minor alterations during later restorations.
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The Abbey of Saint-Denis
The Abbey of Saint-Denis is located in Saint-Denis. It’s a Benedictine abbey in the commune of Saint-Denis in the northern suburbs of Paris.
Saint Denis Basilica is a crucial pilgrimage and worship place for Roman Catholics. It is the burial site for French kings and queens. It includes all but two monarchs, from Philip II (1060–1108) to Louis XVI (1774–1792).
The Basilica was also where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake on May 30, 1431. And Martin Luther preached before King Charles V on December 10, 1540.
The abbey has been under restoration since only 2012. But this magnificent building still attracts visitors from across the globe every year. They come here to admire its architecture while learning more about its history. The guided tours are conducted by monks who live there today!
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Archbishopric of Lyon and the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre
If you desire a religious tour combining the best history and architecture, then Lyon is the place to visit. The Archbishopric of Lyon is a Roman Catholic archbishopric in France.
It was established in 2002, along with the Archdiocese of Tours and Poitiers reorganization. And it had been part of the ecclesiastical province before that year.
Lyon is one of only three archbishoprics in France not immediately subject to the Holy See. Its archbishop is more independent than most French bishops.
The Archbishopric covers an area larger than all but eight dioceses in France (and two other archdioceses). It is one-tenth of metropolitan France and more petite than Belgium’s Liege Province.
The church itself—the Sacred Heart Basilica or Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre—is located on Place du Cloitre Ste Marie des Batignolles. It is situated off Avenue Junot, near Avenue Trudaine. It was built over a period starting in 1875 and ending some 20 years later. Paul Abadie designed the majestic structure. Construction began during Haussmann’s renovation campaign.
But, it took place during Napoleon III’s reign as Emperor when religious buildings were built throughout Paris at breakneck speed.
Its design incorporates elements from many different architectural styles. It includes the Romanesque Revival style on its facade (inspired by St Denis Abbey). And the Byzantine Revival style found inside by Abadie. He worked under Byzantine architect Constantin Brancusi when building his own home nearby.
Gothic Revival style was used throughout because Abadie wanted a thing similar yet different from Notre Dame Cathedral. Baroque Revival style was found throughout because many parts were completed after Napoleon III lost power. So they weren’t finished until years later when Louis Pasteur became mayor.
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Cluny Abbey Museum – National Museum of Sculptures
Cluny Abbey Museum is a museum in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. It is the former abbey church of Cluny, the largest Romanesque church in Europe. The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981. The abbey church was built from 1088 to 1104 by St. Odo and consecrated on January 6, 1115, by Pope Paschal II.
The Church of Saint Peter (Église Saint-Pierre) started in 1287. It is part of the plan for rebuilding parts of the town after it had been destroyed by fire.
Its first stone was laid on May 23, 1287, with much ceremony attended by King Philip IV. The work continued until 1339, when work stopped because of a lack of funds.
Until 1457, Jean de Montreuil paid for further reconstruction, adding two chapels to either side. And rebuilding its nave, which had fallen into disrepair that previous repairs were no longer visible (this can still be seen today).
The work was finally completed during 1614–1621 when a new organ was installed, along with choir stalls decorated with carved figures. It represents virtues such as faithfulness and charity. These have been removed, but some fragments remain displayed elsewhere within the building).
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Lourdes is a small town in southern France. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a significant place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics and people who want to pray.
Here, the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879. She was sent by her mother to collect water from the nearby river Gave de Pau when Bernadette was 14 years old.
She saw a beautiful lady above the trees on February 11, 1858; this was the first of eighteen visions over six weeks. Later, she became a nun and chaplain at a hospital in Nevers, where she died from tuberculosis at age 35.
The water from this spring has healing properties. But there’s no scientific evidence, so it’s best not to get excited about it curing any illnesses! But you can still visit!
Which is the most famous church in Paris?
Notre Dame Cathedral is Paris’ most famous church. It is referred to as the most beautiful Gothic church in the world.
How many churches can you find in Paris?
In Paris, there are 37 churches with the name Notre Dame associated with them. As of writing, there are 197 churches in Paris.
Can you attend a mass in the Cathedral of Notre Dame?
Yes. Everyone is welcome to attend Mass during the week. The services and Mass are accessible to the public. On weekdays, they are held in the nave or the choir for 8 am and 9 am masses. You must be seated a few minutes before the service begins. Sunday services are all held at the main altar. And it would be best if you were placed at least 10 to 15 minutes before se or any holiday services start.
How many days do you need in Lourdes, France?
You should plan to spend two or more days in Lourdes. You can’t see everything in one day, so allow yourself some time to enjoy the area and relax. But a day or two would be enough if you only want to spend some time in prayer and meditation.
The best time to visit Lourdes, France, is during fall or spring when temperatures are mild, and rain is less likely. Winter brings snow and ice but also shorter lines at major attractions.
Which town in southern France is a popular pilgrimage site?
Lourdes, a small town in southern France, has been a pilgrimage site since 1858. It is when 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous said she had seen the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since then, millions of visitors across the globe have flocked to Lourdes to be healed by its healing waters and divine energy.