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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 (4.75)
Program No. 10034RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,899
Flights start at
725
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.
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,899
Flights start at
725
Program No. 10034 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 3 - Jul 11, 2021
Starting at
2,199
Sep 11 - Sep 19, 2021
Starting at
2,199
Oct 2 - Oct 10, 2021
Starting at
2,199
Nov 6 - Nov 14, 2021
Starting at
1,899
Dec 4 - Dec 12, 2021
Starting at
1,899
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 3 - Jul 11, 2021
Starting at
2,959
Sep 11 - Sep 19, 2021
Starting at
2,959
Oct 2 - Oct 10, 2021
Starting at
2,959
Nov 6 - Nov 14, 2021
Starting at
2,339
Dec 4 - Dec 12, 2021
Starting at
2,339

At a Glance

From a table at a street-side cafe 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.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
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. You may enjoy a more leisurely version of this program, "Paris at a Slower Paris: Art & Culture in the City of Light" (#22235).
Independent City Discoveries
Independent City Discoveries
Learn with a Group Leader and enjoy educational programming while also getting independent time to explore on your own. Most Independent City Discoveries include lectures, self-guided excursions and passes for public transit and museums.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • A local Road Scholar expert introduces you to life as a Parisian as you explore Île de la Cité, 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.

General Notes

Included in the program: Seven nights hotel accommodation, Métro and museum passes, all breakfasts, some lunches and dinners, escorted activities and optional field trips. Current Events in Paris: Due to the fire at Notre Dame, the cathedral is closed to visitors. Road Scholar programs that visit île de la Cité will be able to see the outside of the cathedral, but we will not be able to go inside.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Julian Brown
Born and educated in England, art historian Julian Brown holds a PhD in the ancient art of Southeast Asia and has lived in Paris for almost thirty years. He began showing visitors around Europe in the early 1980s and today spends much of each year sharing the wonder of France’s capital and provinces. When not in France, he shares his knowledge in Spain or Asia and lectures on his research around the world. Books and classical music compete with travel as his main passions.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Julian Brown
Julian Brown View biography
Born and educated in England, art historian Julian Brown holds a PhD in the ancient art of Southeast Asia and has lived in Paris for almost thirty years. He began showing visitors around Europe in the early 1980s and today spends much of each year sharing the wonder of France’s capital and provinces. When not in France, he shares his knowledge in Spain or Asia and lectures on his research around the world. Books and classical music compete with travel as his main passions.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light
by Tyler Stovall
A history of black Americans who settled in Paris, France, from 1900 to the present.
F is for France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders
by Piu Eatwell
An alphabetized catalogue of quirky French culture and history tidbits.
A Traveller's History of Paris
by Robert Coles
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.
A Moveable Feast
by Ernest Hemingway
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.
The Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris
by Edmund White
A 'flaneur' is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through city streets in search of adventure and fulfillment. Edmund White, who lived in Paris for sixteen years, wanders through the streets and avenues and along the quays, into parts of Paris virtually unknown to visitors and indeed to many Parisians.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook
by Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
The New Paris
by Lindsey Tramuta
Move past the clichés and learn about what makes up Paris today. Explore the open-minded sensibility, diverse populations, and hidden corners of The New Paris.
The Food & Wine of France: Eating & Drinking from Champagne to Provence
by Edward Behr
Behr seeks out the best of French food, in encounters from Champagne to Provence, to tell the stories of French artisans and chefs who work at the highest level. He shares what he learns from these experts on French traditions and how to best enjoy this food.
Murder in the Marais
by Cara Black
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.
Markets of Paris
by Dixon Long & Marjorie Williams
An in-depth guide to the best markets in Paris. Dive into the heart of French culture and navigate the markets like a local with maps, tips, and handy phrases.
My Life in France
by Julia Child
The touching and famous story of Julia Child in France, where she learned to cook and fell in love with French cuisine, all in her own words.
Paris Pratique Par Arrondissement
by Atlas Indispensable
This pocket atlas contains detailed maps of every neighborhood in Paris, as well as details about bus and metro stops.
The Hotel Majestic
by Georges Simenon
The most famous fictional detective in France, Maigret, tackles a case in the heart of Paris.
The Secret Life of the Seine
by Mort Rosenblum
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.
How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City
by Joan DeJean
A captivating history of the growth, design, and planning of Paris, telling the story of how the modern city came to be.
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, A Pedestrian in Paris
by John Baxter
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.
23 Reviews
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4.75 Average
(5)

Great Trip. Guides were excellent and helpful, they complimented each other. Despite the Nationwide strike we missed nothing. The guides did a great job, seamless, you would not have known there was a strike in place. Paris was wonderful and beyond expectations.

(5)

This program was excellent. It was my third trip to Paris, but the first that I felt like I really got to know it. The walking tours and the museum tours were great! And the leaders were both excellent.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

I did not get a review form for this trip. It was outstanding in all respects. Max is an outstanding teacher, well prepared leader, and pleasantly interesting personality. He filled in important details which had been omitted by two of the presenters, and kept continuity of the extensive history of Paris. It helped a great deal that the activites focused sequentially with Paris history. The activity level was high, but very satisfying. The only frustration was the first day bus tour that ran long due to traffic.

(5)

Had a sensational time. James and RJ gave us the tools to strike out on our own and be truly "Independent". Highly recommend!

(5)

The Independent Paris Road Scholar program was outstanding on all levels, from the impressive expertise and skills of the two tour guides and the design of the instructor led-field trips to the size of the group and the quality of the accommodations.

(5)

A perfectly paced trip with outstanding group leaders and a charming boutique hotel in a safe and pretty location walkable to much and within proximity to an easy-to-use Metro station which took us to those areas and places that we wanted to see.

(5)

Independent Paris in April 2019 was our first Road Scholar trip. There will be others. We had a wonderful time. The trip exceeded our expectations in every respect.

(5)

Great web site!

(5)

This week-long Road Scholar trip will give participants a feel for Paris: the tourist highlights and cafe and Metro life of Parisians.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

The program Independent Paris was excellent in all aspects including hotel accommodations, food, program content and especially our group leaders, Pauline and James who were experts and most helpful. We recommend this program without reservation.

(5)

Outstanding experience - our guides Pauline and James were delightful, humorous and made every day an adventure. There is nothing James does not know about French history, art, and culture, and nothing Pauline doesn't know about the French people, food, wine,current events and how to navigate le Metro! Many special touches and surprises every day - just a wonderful week all around! Highly recommend this high energy trip with just the right amount of group time and independent time.

(5)

If you like walking, history, museums, churches and exploring a different culture - then this is the tour for you. Walking and Standing are a big part of what is required, but it's well worth it!

(5)

Another excellent adventure with Road Scholar! As the beginning of the trip neared, we were hearing a lot about the Gillet Jaune protests, which was a small concern, but Brigitte and James were up to the task. We were only affected one day, and the change in schedule was beyond expectations! A trip out of Paris to see the little town of Senlis, as well as the Chantille (estate) In addition, our experts managed to fit in everything on the original schedule, working around the change! This was shown as "independent" and there were several folks who ventured off on their own throughout the week, but there were many of us who took advantage of the expertise of our fearless leaders - and were not disappointed. The beauty of Paris as the holidays approached was amazing. To see the Eiffel Tower light up from a boat on the Seine was a rare treat. And speaking of treats, the sweets were delicious. The people were very friendly and kind. James and Brigitte did a wonderful job imparting information about the history of Paris, the current events, the architecture of the city and -thankfully- the metro system.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

I highly recommend this tour to anyone who is looking for a nice walking tour with a few lectures and excellent historical overviews of Paris. We had just the right amount of guided tours and free time for personal exploration. The group leader was excellent and took fabulous care of us through out the trip. Our instruction was amazing as he imparted just the right amount of history to us without being overwhelming. I could not have asked for a better tour and I am hooked on Road Scholar!

(5)

This program is absolutely super. It won't be long enough. So you might go early or stay on a few days. Paris has so much to do this trip will get you ready for your next visit.

(5)

This tour is a great way to visit Paris. Our group leader Brigitte and guide Jennifer enhanced our days and nights in Paris.

(5)

This program is great! I had been in Paris before and I thoroughly enjoyed it, more than I expected, including a live play (with English subtitles projected on the curtain). Jenny provided excellent commentary on the art we viewed. Bravo!

(5)

This program is an excellent way for those of us who have not done a great deal of traveling to learn about Paris's culture and history, and to learn to navigate public transportation. I highly recommend it!

(5)

This tour was fantastic. From Group Leader to the Tour instructor - everything I would have planned for if I had to have planned this trip. Could not have been better. Want to go back to learn and see more.

(5)

This was our first Road Scholar experience and it was fantastic. The program was everything it purports to be and more. We could not have had a better sampling of the major highlights of Paris. We could not have had a better trip. If you have never been to Paris, or even if you have, I highly recommend this program. You will not get a better taste of Paris than this one.

(1)

I was quite disappointed in my Road Scholar experience. I had problems from the very start, first with my travel reservations, then with my request for electronic communications only, which RS ignored completely despite repeated requests. I found it incredibly inappropriate that each time I contacted Road Scholar a rep tried to solicit the contact information of my friends and family for marketing purposes. Our group was lovely and the group leader was very pleasant and attentive, but our tour guide gave strange, stream-of-consciousness tours that hopscotched among centuries and topics with no unifying narrative and generally left me feeling confused and disoriented. The lectures were boring and held in a cramped hot room, especially unpleasant when there was a spacious conference room directly across from us. Our guide seemed particularly unqualified to talk about art and I would've gotten much more out of the audio tour provided by each museum. The hotel room was fine, but I couldn't believe that they didn't clean our room all week and the breakfast room was a traffic jam every day. I feel like communication could've been handled better using simple technology- an emailed agenda for each day including Metro directions would have been helpful and simple to create. And we wasted a lot of time in the metro because of issues with our paper tickets. Why not use the durable weekly Navigo passes accepted at all turnstiles? Lastly, the included dinners were really sad. What our tour leader called fois gras was actually a (partial) fois gras pate, the Coq a Vin was dry and underseasoned, and the Beef Borguinon was undercooked, full of visible connective tissue, and fairly inedible. It must be possible to find French restaurants that can prepare basic French dishes properly. Though I enjoyed spending time with our interesting, diverse group, and Paris was delightful, I don’t plan to travel with Road Scholar again.

(5)

Our road scholar program (Independent Paris) was wonderful. We learned so much and having the metro and museum pass was invaluable. Our guide and instructor made the trip so special and we will definitely try another program in the future.

(4)

I enjoyed my time in Paris and appreciated the museum pass and Metro pass. The lectures were interesting and the museums visited were all wonderful. The hotel where we stayed was adequate but not great. We were not as independent as anticipated; our guide was overly concerned with keeping us all together and this frustrated me. I did choose to leave some of the group activities as I wanted more independence than some others did.






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