10034
France

Independent Paris: People, Places, Culture

Celebrate the grand culture of Paris on expert-led walks and independent excursions, reveling in architecture, world-class museums, famed cuisine and traditional open-air markets.
Rating (4.82)
Program No. 10034RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,749
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
725
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9 days
8 nights
10 meals
7 B 0 L 3 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Paris, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Paris
D
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Independent program. It is designed for participants who want high-level Road Scholar instruction, a few group activities, and who are capable and comfortable setting out on their own for a significant part of the day/night. There will be several hours each day of educational content. Most meals will be on your own (excluded from the program cost) to enjoy what you like, and there will be substantial free time for personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The program is staffed with an instructor — a licensed professional “Guide-Conférencier” in Human & Social Sciences — who will give lectures, accompany field trips, and provide expert commentary as well as a Group Leader who will deal primarily with logistics. The program also provides each Road Scholar with a Paris Visite Pass (5-day pass for unlimited travel by public transportation in Paris and the Île-de-France region) and a Paris Museum Pass (entry to 60+ participating museums for 2 consecutive days). They will make your free time and personal independent exploration easier and more rewarding. For further information on the Museum Pass, please visit: http://en.parismuseumpass.com/; for the Paris Visite Pass: https://www.ratp.fr/en/titres-et-tarifs/paris-visite-travel-pass Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal featuring traditional French food, plus a glass of wine; other beverages available for purchase. French restaurants take pride in creating a relaxed atmosphere where patrons expect to take their time, savor every bite, and set the pace of the meal, requesting “l’addition” — the check — only when they are ready. Meals are accompanied by complimentary “pain” (bread) and “eau” or “l’eau” (water), so you need not ask for them. When wine is offered, it is customary to fill your glass only half way so the wine can breathe and to be sure everyone has a share. Servers wait until everyone at the table has finished their dish before clearing and bringing the next course. To indicate that you have finished your meal, place your utensils together on the right hand side of your plate.

Evening: At leisure. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In addition to free time suggestions from the Group Leader, you can find information on local events at: https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/major-events/what-to-do-in-paris NOTE: Due to ecological regulations in France, new motorcoaches do not have restrooms on board, and older models have restrooms, but they are not available for use; rest stops will be made for rides that are over 90 minutes. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Paris Origins, Île de la Cité, Sainte-Chapelle, Notre-Dame
Paris
B
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; afternoon field trip via Paris Métro, accessed by walking up/down flights of stairs; elevators/escalators not available in most stations; be prepared to stand on Métro if seats are not available. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the days, standing up to 2 hours at a time; pavement, cobblestone streets, potentially crowded conditions.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers hot and cold choices such as eggs, breads and pastries, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will gather with our instructor for a lecture on the origins of Paris from Roman development through the Middle Ages. Archaeologists estimate that the area has been inhabited for about 9,000 years. What eventually became Paris began in the 3rd Century BCE when members of the Parisii tribe settled on an island in the Seine River. We will then board a motorcoach for a panoramic view of some of the most famous monuments and sites as our instructor continues to present aspects of the city’s history and architecture through the ages. We will also stop for photos as permitted in approved areas. Our motorcoach exploration will conclude on the Île de la Cité in the vicinity of Notre-Dame.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We will regroup at a designated time and place for a walking field trip to the Sainte-Chapelle and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. The Sainte-Chapelle, one of the glories of Gothic architecture, was begun in 1239 and completed less than a decade later, an achievement in itself almost miraculous given its structure and decoration. Originally part of the royal palace of Capetian monarchs, it was built by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) to house religious relics he acquired from the Holy Land — including the Crown of Thorns! The sense of otherworldliness in the upper church comes from amazing stained glass, held within slender columns in the flamboyant Rayonnant style of architecture, creating the sensation of being inside a jewel box. Construction on Notre-Dame Cathedral began in 1163 and was not completed until 1345. Damaged and restored a number of times — including the disastrous fire of April 2019 — it remains one of the largest and finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere. We will be able to admire the exterior. The Group Leader will accompany those who wish to return to the hotel. Those who would like to stay out and return independently are welcome to do so.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Latin Quarter, Free Time, The Seine by River Boat
Paris
B
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro, accessed by walking up/down flights of stairs; elevators/escalators not available in most stations; be prepared to stand on Métro if seats are not available.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, our instructor will address Paris during the Renaissance period and into the 18th century. Next, we will set out on a walking field trip to the Latin Quarter. The University of Paris and its core college, the Sorbonne, were founded on the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) about 1257, one of the first universities in the world. This quickly became the intellectual heart of the city, called the Latin Quarter as Latin was the language of the educated classes. Over succeeding eras, it attracted artists, writers, and bohemians. Among the highlights we will see are the Sorbonne, Cluny Museum, and Boulevard St Michel.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like. There are many options to choose from in the Latin Quarter.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. This would be a good opportunity to explore the Rive Gauche neighborhood known as St. Germain des Prés. Once a gritty haven for artists, philosopher, and writers — many of whom frequented the famed Café Les Deux Magots or the Café de Flore — it has become an upscale neighborhood that still retains much of its historic ambience. It is also the home of Café Le Procope, the oldest café-restaurant in France (1686) that was a favorite — at different times! — of Voltaire, Danton, Hugo, Balzac, Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: We will board a river boat for a late afternoon or evening trip (depending on time of year) along the Seine to view wondrous sites on the Rive Gauche and Rive Droite.

DAY
5
Parisian Open Air Market, Marais
Paris
B,D
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro, accessed by walking up/down flights of stairs; elevators/escalators not available in most stations; be prepared to stand on Métro if seats are not available. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; potentially crowded conditions.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll head out on foot and via Métro to experience the sights, sounds, and scents of a traditional open-air market. We’ll see how Parisians experience Paris.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like. You might like to assemble a picnic lunch from specialties at the market or dine at a nearby café.

Afternoon: We will regroup at a designated time and place to rendezvous with our instructor and explore the renowned district known as Le Marais — the Marsh — hearkening back to its medieval identity. This area was once called the Jewish Quarter because it was the most populous Jewish community in Europe. It has more intact pre-Revolutionary structures and streets than anywhere else in the city and is what much of Paris resembled before the vast 19th-century reconstruction designed by Baron Haussmann. The most striking feature of the Marais today is undoubtedly the superb Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, built by King Henri IV in the early 1600s.

Dinner: We will go to a local restaurant via Métro and walking for a plated meal with soft drinks, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Palais-Royal, Musée du Louvre
Paris
B
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro, accessed by walking up/down flights of stairs; elevators/escalators not available in most stations; be prepared to stand on Métro if seats are not available. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; potentially crowded conditions, large crowds at Louvre that may make it difficult to see the most popular works.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, our instructor will speak to us about some of the masterpieces at the Louvre Museum. We will take the Métro to the Palais-Royal. This “village in the city” that faces the Louvre was a seat of power and high position for centuries. It was built by Cardinal Richelieu in 1629 and bequeathed to King Louis XIII. It went through a series of royal owners and became the focal point of a lively social scene with notable theaters, restaurants, and promenades that attracted many visitors. The Palais-Royal was also a center of free speech in the period leading up to the Revolution. We will walk along some of the covered passageways and hidden courtyards as we learn about its history through the centuries.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like.

Afternoon: Next, we will walk over to the Musée du Louvre and explore with our expert instructor. The largest museum in the world, the Louvre’s unrivaled collection includes thousands of masterworks including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and the statue of a goddess known as “Vénus de Milo” for the island where it was discovered in 1820. Note: Crowds may make it difficult to get a good look at some of the most popular works.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: We will gather at a designated time and place to attend a performance together. Our program was planned far in advance when details of performances were not available and will be confirmed by the Group Leader during Orientation on Day 2.

DAY
7
Musée d’Orsay, Free Time
Paris
B
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro, accessed by walking up/down flights of stairs; elevators/escalators not available in most stations; be prepared to stand on Métro if seats are not available. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; potentially crowded conditions.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will take the Métro for a field trip to the Musée d’Orsay. Led by our instructor, we will explore the world’s largest collection of Impressionist paintings at the Orsay Museum on the Rive Gauche of the Seine. The first work of art is the building itself, the former Gare d’Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The collections of painting, sculpture, and decorative objects show the tremendous diversity of artistic creation in the western world from 1848-1914, showcasing many of the most remarkable works of the early modern era including the Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and Art Nouveau movements.

Lunch: On your own. The museum has three dining venues, or you might like to eat at a nearby brasserie.

Afternoon: Free time. You might like to take the Métro to the church of Les Invalides in the Musée de l’Armée with the extraordinary Tomb of Napoleon or the Rodin Museum and sculpture garden for independent exploration.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Musée de l’Orangerie, Montmartre
Paris
B,D
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro, accessed by walking up/down flights of stairs; elevators/escalators not available in most stations; be prepared to stand on Métro if seats are not available. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; potentially crowded conditions, inclined terrain at Montmartre.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, our expert instructor will give us a lecture on Paris in the 20th century. Led by our instructor, we will take a field trip to explore the collections of the Musée de l’Orangerie and view Monet’s magnificent “Les Nymphéas” (Water Lilies). Situated in the heart of Paris at the corner of the Tuileries Gardens, the museum was constructed in 1852 as an actual orangery (shelter for orange trees), with a variety of uses in subsequent eras. When it was repurposed and refurbished after 1921, the great Impressionist artist Claude Monet began work on eight huge panels that are regarded as the ultimate expression of his artistic ideas. They were installed here after his death. The museum also contains works by Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, and other great artists of Impressionism and Modern Classicism.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free time. You might like to take the Métro up to the “village” of Montmartre, home of many artists during Impressionist and post-Impressionist periods. This would be an opportunity to explore popular Place du Tertre (Artist Square), Sacré Coeur Basilica, or simply to meander through the neighborhood and see streets that inspired so many artists.

Dinner: We will go to a local restaurant via Métro and walking and have a 3-course plated meal with choice of entrée plus wine and water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning. If you need assistance with transfer arrangements for travel tomorrow, please consult with the Group Leader.

DAY
9
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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