The life of Saint Martin, one of the most famous Saints in Europe, is full of adventures: Born in Pannonia around 316, he converted to Christianity at a young age. As a soldier in the Roman army, he travelled through Europe and evangelized the countryside. In Amiens he shared his coat with a beggar, became a monk in Ligugé near Poitiers and finally the third bishop of Tours. When he died in Candes in the Loire Valley, the inhabitants of Tours recovered his remains and developed a pilgrimage around this Saint whose name is on more than 500 French towns and villages!
THE HIGLIGHTS OF THE TOUR
- Visit of Tours and Saint Martin Basilica
- Visit of the Saint Martin Abbey in Ligugé
- Candes Saint Martin visit
- Visit of the Loire castles: Chenonceau and Amboise
- Dinner in a troglodyte restaurant in the Loire Valley
THE TOUR in detail
step by step
DAY 1 : Arrival in Tours
Dinner and overnight in Tours for 4 nights
DAY 2 : Tour „On the path of Saint Martin’s life“ Abbey of Marmoutier
City visit of Tours: Even though Martin, the bishop of Tours, died in Candes-sur-Martin, his grave is located in Tours, which throughout the years has developed into a crucial pilgrim site. You will visit the Saint Gatien Cathedral, with its magnificent glass windows, which narrate the history of Saint Martin and date back to the 8th century. Afterwards, you will visit Chateauneuf de Saint Martin district, often known as Martinopole, with the two towers. However, the most famous building of the area is the Basilica St. Martin, which was consecrated in 1925 in place of the original basilica. Here, is located in the crypt, the Grave of St. Martin.
Visit the Saint Martin’s Museum, where you will find a variety of relicts, texts, maps and illustrations.
The next stops will take you from the city walls to the remains of Marmoutier’s monastery, which was built in the year 372 by St Martin, shortly after his appointment as bishop von Tours. On one hand, this place served as a retreat, on the other hand St. Martin spent here his time teaching to other monks, by following the Ligugé’s model. Half-board in Tours.
DAY 3 : Poitiers - Ligugé - Candes St Martin
St. Martin was baptized at the age of 36 by St Hilary, with whom he worked in Poitiers from the year 360. According to the legend, this happened, after he had cut his cape in two to give it to a homeless man in front of Amiens gates and retired from the military service. Visit of the Baptistery of Saint Jean, one of the oldest Christian building in Europe and St. Hilary’s Church, where Martin’s mentor and teacher Hilary operated. Here, there is a chapel dedicated to St. Martin. Afterwards, drive to Ligugé and visit the Abbey of Saint Martin of Ligugé: after living for a long time in Italy, St Martin returned to Gallien, where he built the Abbey of Ligugé, the first monastery of the Occident. Then, he built a hermit cell but soon joined other 60 monks. Some sources report that St Hilary donated the monastery to Martin. In fact, there, is where he obtained his priestly ordination and worked as an abbot until 370. The Abbey is today still inhabited by about 25 monks.
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