The “Tradition Provencale” tells the arrival in Provence of a boat, on a beach of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. On board were the close companions of Jesus, thrown out of Palestine.
And, among them appeared the most faithful of his followers, Mary Magdalene, first witness of the resurrection of Christ. With her, were Lazarus her brother, Martha, her sister, Maximin, Marie Salomé and Marie Jacobé. After landing on the Mediterranean coast, they gave thanks to the Lord. Each of them left through Provence to convert the Pagans and teach them the Gospel of resuscitated Jesus. Only Marie Salomé and Marie Jacobé, too old, will remain on-the-spot with Sara, their servant.
Then, Lazarus became the first bishop of Marseille. Maximin became that of Aix-en-Provence. Martha went North and converted the inhabitants of the region of Tarascon. Mary Magdalene, having preached in various places, withdrew to Saint Baume, in prayer.
Exceptional pilgrimage of 5 days. Follow the steps of the first founders of the Church in France.
Visit of the Les Saintes Maries de la mer . That is the place where the boat carrying Mary-Magdalene and her companions thrown away of Palestine after the death of Jesus, landed. Discovery of the relics of Marie Salome and Jacobé and Sara, patron saint of the Gypsies. Continuation to Arles, listed on Unesco World Heritage. There, you will discover Roman monuments and the cathedral Saint Trophime (XII) which houses the relics of Saint Cézaire. He was the most important bishop of Gaul in the sixth century. Also, Arles is the city where the painter Vincent Van Gogh stayed. You will discover during the visit, the places where he put his easel.
This day is especially dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Indeed, you will visit the sanctuary of Saint Baume where she spent the last years of her life in the cave. Hike up to the grotto by the Kings’footpath, possibility to attend the mass. At St. Maximin, visit the Mary Magdalene Basilica where are the relics of the Apostle of the Apostles, patron saint of Provence.
The ancient Roman city of Aix en Provence was converted to Christianity by Maximin, its first bishop, assisted by Mary Magdalene. Visit of the Cathedral Saint Sauveur and walking tour in the historic center. In the afternoon, leisurely hike in the Parc de Saint Pons, at the foot of Saint Baume to discover the ruins of the Cistercian convent of women.
Because it is a masterpiece of Cistercian architecture, the Romanesque abbey of Thoronet, nestled in the middle of a forest of oaks, is one of the high light of the tour. Of the three Cistercian sisters of Provence, it is the oldest. Continuation by the shrine of ND de Grâces in Cotignac, the only place in the world where appeared the Holy Family.
Visit Marseille, the oldest city in France, founded by the Phoenicians 600 years BC. Discovery of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Guard who protects the city, the Abbey of Saint Victor whose crypts are the largest pre-Christian necropolis, the Corniche Kennedy and the Old Port, the historic district of the Panier up to St. Mary Major cathedral where are the relics of Saint Lazarus, Mary Magdalene’s brother and first bishop of Marseille.