Bonjour! Bienvenie en France—Hello, welcome to France!
Have you ever dreamed of hearing those words? Have you ever imagined riding through the lush greeneries of Provence, where you’ll find the village of Cotignac—the site of the Holy Family’s appearance? Have you ever thought of whispering your prayers in the serene Basilica of St. Thérèse in Lisieux, the quaint town of the beloved saint?
You better turn those daydreams into reality soon, as this year is proving to be a very special one to France, especially to the town of Lourdes. In honor of the 175th anniversary of her birth, 2019 is considered to be the Year of Bernadette after St. Bernadatte Soubirous, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in 1858. A musical will also be staged in Lourdes about the saint’s life. It is produced by an international team that brought to the world Cirque du Soleil, Mozart Opera Rock, and the Ten Commandments, among others. The musical will only be in Lourdes—a first in the history of French musicals as they are usually staged in Paris.
Arts and music festivals and other attractions are in store for Filipino travelers who wish to go to France: Walk around the town of Alençon, the birthplace of St. Thérèse, and admire the exceptional handiwork of lace and garments for which the town is famous for. Or perhaps you wish to visit Avignon, once the seat of popes, and enjoy the city’s rich culture and art scene. From medieval streets to Renaissance mansions to dining options with Michelin-starred chefs, you will surely get your fill of wonders in this part of the world. Also make it a point to tour the Pope’s Palace, an important structure for Catholics around the world, and see first-hand the popes’ private apartments.
All these and more will be within arms’ reach as soon as the Embassy of France partners up with different travel agencies in the Philippines for awesome tours and packages for the Filipino traveler.
“This mission will highlight the beauty and diversity of the religious sites in France. Many are UNESCO World Heritage landmarks and are very dear to Filipinos, as have shown the numerous heartfelt messages we received at the embassy after the tragic fire that engulfed parts of the iconic 850-year old Notre Dame Cathedral, for which we are very grateful,” said Ambassador of France to the Philippines Nicolas Galey.
Just in case you think it’s hard to secure a French visa, on the contrary, it only takes two days for it to be processed and delivered to you! That is, provided that you have submitted all the necessary documents to VFS Global (France), the external service provider for Schengen visa applications since 2017. This fast-tracking of services is the French Embassy’s effort to help make traveling to France easier and more effortless to Filipino visitors.
Plan your itinerary and get ready for an adventure in France!
À bientôt —see you soon!