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Independent Paris: People, Places, Culture

Program Number: 10034RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/10/2014 - 10/18/2014; 4/2/2016 - 4/10/2016; 4/16/2016 - 4/24/2016; 4/30/2016 - 5/8/2016; 5/13/2016 - 5/21/2016; 5/14/2016 - 5/22/2016; 5/20/2016 - 5/28/2016; 5/21/2016 - 5/29/2016; 5/28/2016 - 6/5/2016; 7/16/2016 - 7/24/2016; 7/30/2016 - 8/7/2016; 8/13/2016 - 8/21/2016; 9/2/2016 - 9/10/2016; 9/3/2016 - 9/11/2016; 9/9/2016 - 9/17/2016; 9/10/2016 - 9/18/2016; 9/16/2016 - 9/24/2016; 9/17/2016 - 9/25/2016; 9/23/2016 - 10/1/2016; 9/24/2016 - 10/2/2016; 10/1/2016 - 10/9/2016; 10/8/2016 - 10/16/2016; 10/15/2016 - 10/23/2016; 10/22/2016 - 10/30/2016; 10/29/2016 - 11/6/2016; 11/5/2016 - 11/13/2016; 12/3/2016 - 12/11/2016; 12/10/2016 - 12/18/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $2,199.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Independent City Discoveries Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 10; 7 Breakfasts, 0 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

From a table at a street-side café near the Sorbonne, you watch students excitedly discoursing, mothers shepherding children along the sidewalk, the life of a Parisian neighborhood unfolding before you. It’s just one moment in your independent exploration of the Paris behind the postcards. Stroll the grand boulevards, meet local experts who illuminate the city’s most marvelous treasures, compare the city’s diverse quarters and savor every new experience that crosses your path.


• A local Road Scholar expert introduces you to life as a Parisian as you explore Ile de la Cite, the center of Paris.
• Examine and discuss the art of Paris at museums, gardens and an open-air market.
• Enjoy ample free time for independent discoveries or choose to follow the group leader to intriguing corners of the city.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to five miles per day. Extensive use of the Paris Métro system, often accessed by stairs.

Activity level is based on included program elements.

Looking for the same great program but Moderate activity level? Check out program #22235 At Your Pace Paris: Art & Culture in the City of Light

Included in the Program Only Price: Seven nights hotel accommodation, six-day Métro and museum passes, all breakfasts, five lectures by a local expert, six escorted field trips and an option to join any of six additional escorted excursions at no additional charge. Not included: Airport transfers.

Date Specific Information

10-10-2014, 4-2-2016, 4-16-2016, 4-30-2016, 5-14-2016, 5-21-2016, 5-28-2016, 7-16-2016, 7-30-2016, 8-13-2016, 9-3-2016, 9-10-2016, 9-17-2016, 9-24-2016, 10-1-2016, 10-8-2016, 10-15-2016, 10-22-2016, 10-29-2016, 11-5-2016, 12-3-2016, 12-10-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

5-13-2016, 5-20-2016, 9-2-2016, 9-9-2016, 9-16-2016, 9-23-2016

This departure features an upgraded hotel in the Marais district, closer to the city center.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Independent arrival Paris, 7 nights; independent departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Paris
7 nights

Paris has been a center of European trade and culture since the 10th century. Combining expert guidance with inspired independent adventures, this quest introduces the Paris of Parisians. Begin in Ile de la Cite to trace the history of Paris from its early days as an island in the Seine. Explore Notre Dame and experience the vibrant Latin Quarter as the nearby Sorbonne students do. This intellectual, bohemian neighborhood bustles with cafés and secondhand bookstalls. Explore the Luxembourg Gardens or investigate medieval history at the Musee de Cluny. Experience the splendid Louvre, enjoy a presentation on Picasso and the life of the Parisian artist and take part in excursions to the Carnavalet Museum, Musee d’Orsay and Orangerie Museum. Assemble a lunch of fresh foods at the Parisian open-air market and perhaps venture to the Invalides, Eiffel Tower or the nearby Musee Rodin.


The epicurious and the curious find much to admire in Western Europe’s largest nation, whose agricultural riches and terrain of beaches, mountains and fertile fields have drawn residents for thousands of years. The northern region hosts the nation’s Parisian capital, as well as unique Breton culture, while the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast sports the chic beach-goers and the terraced vineyards of the interior.

Small Parisian hotel in the heart of the historic Faubourg Saint-Antoine, near the Bastille and Marais districts. See date notes for some variation.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Jennifer Burdon

Born and raised in York, England, Jennifer Burdon has been living in Paris for many years. She holds a master’s degree from Durham University where she specialized in 19th century French literature and art history. Jennifer leads educational excursions all over Paris, specializing in Impressionism, the French Revolution, the experiences of African Americans in Paris, Ernest Hemingway and private museums. She has also written for a small British paper focused on the Parisian art scene. Jennifer is the group leader and lecturer for Road Scholar, and enjoys sharing her knowledge of the city with charm and a subtle British wit.
Meals and Lodgings
   Streets Hotel
  Paris, France 7 nights
 Streets Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Streets Hotel is located in the heart of the fashionable district Le Marais, just a few steps away from the Place de la Republique. The hotel offers high tech and unique services.
  Contact info: 13 Boulevard du Temple
Paris,  75003 France
phone: +33 1 42 71 20 00
  Room amenities: The rooms include a smart T.V. with Miracast.
  Facility amenities: Streets Hotel offers free WiFi, a fitness center, a patio, a business center, and a restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for details 3 pre and 3 post nights.
  Additional nights after: Call for details 3 pre and 3 post nights.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins at the program hotel in Paris with an orientation meeting at 5:30 p.m. Hotel check-in begins at 2 p.m. You will be staying at Streets Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast at the program hotel in Paris. Hotel check-out is at 12 p.m. You will be staying at Streets Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: We do not recommend that participants take the train; this is often difficult to manage with luggage. There are Air France buses available, which will take you to the Gare Montparnasse (about 1 kilometer from the hotel).
To Start of Program
  Location:  Paris
  Nearest city or town:  Gonesse
  Nearest highway: A1
  Nearest airport:  Charles de Gaulle Airport
  Transportation to site: This is an independent program and there are no group airport transfers. Paris Shuttle, a third party service, offers a discounted shared shuttle and private transfer rates to Road Scholar participants. The rate they offer is about 10% discount off their published rate. Use the website below to take advantage of these rates and book your transfers for arrival and departure from Paris. You will need to pay in advance with a credit card to confirm reservations and print your own voucher. (Please note when using this link that the website does not indicate that the prices are discounted.) The most convenient, although not the cheapest, means of transportation to your hotel is to take a taxi. The cost should be between 40 and 80 euros depending on traffic and the amount of luggage you have. After collecting your luggage at the airport follow the signs to Taxis. A third option is to take an Air France bus. Buses labeled LES CARS AIR FRANCE are available to all passengers regardless of your airline. There are several different bus routes, but you should take LINE 4. You can purchase a ticket either at one of the Air France counters in the airport or directly from the driver. One way fare is 16.50 euros or you can purchase a round trip ticket for 27. Travel time is about one hour but varies depending on traffic. Buses depart approximately every 30 minutes from four different places at Charles de Gaulle Airport: Terminal 1 - Exit 34 (Arrivals level) Terminal 2A-2C - Exit C2 Terminal 2D-2B - Exit B1 Terminal 2E-2F - Gallery level, Exit 3 Get off the bus at the first stop at the Gare de Lyon. From here you can take a taxi to your hotel (2 kilometers away) or take the metro to the Nation stop, either on the RER A red line toward Boissy St Leger or Marne La Vallee, or on the yellow line #1 toward Chateau de Vincennes, and then it's a 10 minute walk to the hotel on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
  From End of Program
  Location: Paris
  Transportation from site: Follow the directions to the hotel in reverse order to return to the airport.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: 500 feet is the highest elevation.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures from the U.S.
(Friday, October 10)
 In Transit: Overnight flights from the U.S.

Day 2: Arrival in Paris: Welcome and Orientation
(Saturday, October 11)
 Morning: Arrivals at Charles de Gaulle airport and independent transfers to the program hotel in Paris. Please note that rooms are not generally available until early to mid-afternoon, so you should plan to drop off your luggage at the hotel and then take some time to explore Paris or relax and have a leisurely lunch. There are Paris maps available at the hotel, and your Group Leader will be present to provide recommendations and directions.
 Afternoon: Check in at your hotel and take the afternoon to unpack and relax. At 5:30 p.m., we will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: L'Île de la Cité
(Sunday, October 12)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Meet this morning with your group for a lecture focusing on the origins of Paris from Roman development through the Middle Ages. Then, enjoy a panoramic overview by coach of Paris' monuments and most famous sites, while your Paris Expert continues a discussion of the city's history and its architecture throughout the ages.
 Lunch: On your own near Notre Dame Cathedral.
 Afternoon: Explore Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame cathedral to learn more about medieval art and architecture on the Ile de la Cité, the historic heart of Paris.
 Dinner: On your own.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: The Latin Quarter and the Left Bank
(Monday, October 13)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: Your Paris guide will help you to experience the Latin Quarter as the students do. An area dominated by the Sorbonne, this special area is generally associated with intellectuals, artists and a bohemian way of life.
 Lunch: On your own in the Latin Quarter.
 Afternoon: You may remain with your group leader and continue exploring the Left Bank with visits to St. Germain des Prés and St. Sulpice. Alternatively, you can take the opportunity to head off on your own and discover the Jardins du Luxembourg with its puppet show and botanical garden with fruit trees and beehives.
 Dinner: On your own.
 Evening: Your group will reconvene for an evening cruise along the Seine to view the magnificent illuminated monuments lining the river.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Parisian Market / The Marais Quarter, the Vosges Royal Square and the Carnavalet Museum
(Tuesday, October 14)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of a traditional Parisian open-air market. Here you will truly be able to experience the Paris of Parisians.
 Lunch: Create a picnic lunch from the specialties you've gathered at the market or enjoy a meal at a nearby café.
 Afternoon: Take this opportunity to explore the neighborhoods of the Marais district including what was historically the Jewish quarter, and perhaps browse Europe's largest collection of modern art at the Pompidou Center. Those who wish to remain with the group can enjoy a brief exploration of the Jewish quarter followed by a guided discovery of the Carnavalet Museum.
 Dinner: This evening we divide into two groups for dinner. Group B will have dinner on their own. Group A will meet with a culinary artist-in-residence in her shop/studio where she will prepare dinner for the group. The next evening Group A will enjoy dinner with the culinary artist, and Group B will have dinner on their own.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Palais Royal / The Louvre
(Wednesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at your hotel
 Morning: Independent Excursion: This morning is a wonderful opportunity to head off on your own to discover the Champs Elysées or walk the famed Rue St-Honoré and see haute couture. On-site Lecture/ Field Trip: Alternatively, explore the Palais Royal area with your Paris guide, discovering covered passageways, hidden courtyards, and learning about Paris through the centuries.
 Lunch: On your own near the Louvre.
 Afternoon: Free time to continue your explorations of Paris or join the group for a self-guided visit of the Louvre using an audioguide created exclusively for Road Scholar participants, containing informative commentary by lecturers sharing their passion for highlights of the Louvre.
 Dinner: This evening we divide into two groups for dinner. Group B will have dinner on their own. Group A will meet with a culinary artist-in-residence in her shop/studio where she will prepare dinner for the group.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: 19th Century Art in Paris
(Thursday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: At the Musée d'Orsay you will discover one of the most extensive collections of Impressionist art in the world. Your local guide will discuss the importance of the works by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and many others as you walk through the galleries of this former railway station.
 Lunch: On your own at or near the Musée d'Orsay. The museum itself has three options for dining, or you may choose to eat at a nearby brasserie.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is a wonderful opportunity to further explore this area of the Left Bank known as St. Germain des Prés, or if you prefer you may linger at the museum. Optional In-depth Exploration: Those who wish to remain with the group will continue on to a discovery of Les Invalides and Napoleon's church / tomb. Then conclude your afternoon's exploration at the Rodin Museum and sculpture garden where you will learn more about 19th century Impressionist masterpieces.
 Dinner: On your own.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Montmartre and the Orangerie Museum
(Friday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: Led by your local expert, explore the collections of the Musée de l'Orangerie and view Monet's magnificent Nymphéas (Water Lilies).
 Lunch: On your own in Montmartre.
 Afternoon: In Montmartre you will study the lives of artists in Paris and learn about Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in the community. Independent Exploration: Take this opportunity to explore Place du Tertre, the tourist center of Montmartre, or visit Sacré Coeur Basilica. You may also take this opportunity to simply walk around the neighborhood and discover the streets that inspired so many artists.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Departures from Paris
(Saturday, October 18)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel (depending on your departure time).
 Morning: Individual departures to Charles de Gaulle Airport for return flights to the U.S. Your group leader will give you helpful information on getting to the airport and be available to assist you with arrangements if needed. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Moveable Feast

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Description: A treasure for anyone interested in Parisian cafe society and its luminaries circa 1925. Hemingway includes sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others who idled on their way to greatness.

A Traveller's History of Paris

Author: Robert Coles

Description: A fast-moving, short survey of French history with a focus on Paris from its foundation, through the heady days of revolution and up to modern times.

Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages

Author: Alain Erlande-Brandenburg

Description: This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.

Eyewitness Guide Paris

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Gorgeous, well illustrated and filled with maps, this compact book provides an excellent overview of the French capital, its history, traditions and sights.

Fodor's Paris' 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This shirt-pocket map and guide includes essential information on the city's history, highlights and sightseeing, ideal for a short visit to the City of Light.

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook

Author: Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet

Description: This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

Murder in the Latin Quarter

Author: Cara Black

Description: The ninth installment in Black's series featuring "adorably punkish" detective Aimee Leduc, who gets around on a pink Vespa. This time, Aimee's investigations lead her through the old university district of Paris -- its colorful streets, schools, museums, cafes and bookstores providing a vivid backdrop to the suspense.

Murder in the Marais

Author: Cara Black

Description: Literate and thrilling, with a strong sense of the geography and flavor of Paris, the first in a series of mysteries starring Aimee Ledoc shows off the French-American detective's wit and wile. The series continues with Murder in Belleville (FRN562), Murder in the Sentier (FRN563) and many more.

Paris Map

Author: Borch Maps

Description: A sturdy laminated map of the city center at a scale of 1:12,000 and all of Paris at a scale of 1:15,000.

Paris Stories

Author: Mavis Gallant, Michael Ondaatje (Introduction)

Description: All written in Paris (where Gallant has long lived), these magnificent stories take place from the Left Bank to the French Riviera, postwar Germany and Franco-era Spain. If you haven’t read her work (many of the stories originally appeared in the New Yorker), you are in for a treat. Gallant is one of the great 20th century short story writers.

Paris in Mind

Author: Jennifer Lee (Editor)

Description: With selections spanning 300 years, this wonderful anthology reflects America's long connection to Paris and the French. The 30 American writers tapped include Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway and David Sedaris.

Paris to the Moon

Author: Adam Gopnik

Description: Gopnik writes with candor and humor about Paris and Parisian ways in these charming reflections on adapting to life in glorious exile.

Paris to the Past, Traveling Through French History by Train

Author: Ina Caro

Description: The infectiously enthusiastic Ina Caro charts 25 day trips from Paris in this marvelously conceived history and guide. From the splendor of Chartres, wonders of Sainte-Chapelle and elegant Place de la Concorde, Caro enchants.

Parisian Chic, A Style Guide

Author: Ines de la Fressange

Description: Icon of chic and quintessential Parisienne, Ines de la Fressange includes her favorite offbeat museums, shops, salons and spas, restaurants, cafes and hotels in this charming guide, jammed with photographs, drawings and hand-written lists.

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong

Author: Jean-Benoit Nadeau, Julie Barlow

Description: This lively, astute examination by two Canadian journalists tackles the contradictions and complexities of the French character, paying particular attention to the question of why the French resist globalization.

The Food of France

Author: Waverly Root

Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, A Pedestrian in Paris

Author: John Baxter

Description: Australian critic and writer Baxter draws on his second career as a literary tour guide in his adopted city for this witty memoir, laced with terrific tales.

The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France

Author: Ina Caro

Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.

The Secret Life of the Seine

Author: Mort Rosenblum

Description: After losing his Paris apartment, Rosenblum, a born storyteller, takes to a houseboat moored on the Seine. The result is this entertaining tour of the places and people he encounters during his explorations along the river.

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