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France

Independent Paris: People, Places, Culture

Program No. 10034RJ
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
Rating (4.85)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,349
Flights start at
1,000

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 8 - Apr 16, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Apr 15 - Apr 23, 2023
Starting at
2,649
May 6 - May 14, 2023
Starting at
2,649
May 12 - May 20, 2023
Starting at
2,799
Itinerary Note

This departure stays in a 4 star hotel.

Jun 3 - Jun 11, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Jun 10 - Jun 18, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Jul 8 - Jul 16, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Sep 1 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Itinerary Note

This departure stays in a 4 star hotel.

Sep 9 - Sep 17, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Sep 22 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Itinerary Note

This departure stays in a 4 star hotel.

Oct 7 - Oct 15, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Oct 14 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Dec 2 - Dec 10, 2023
Starting at
2,349
Mar 23 - Mar 31, 2024
Starting at
2,649
Apr 13 - Apr 21, 2024
Starting at
2,649
May 10 - May 18, 2024
Starting at
2,799
May 18 - May 26, 2024
Starting at
2,899
Jun 1 - Jun 9, 2024
Starting at
2,899
Jun 8 - Jun 16, 2024
Starting at
2,899
Jul 6 - Jul 14, 2024
Starting at
2,699
Sep 7 - Sep 15, 2024
Starting at
2,899
Sep 20 - Sep 28, 2024
Starting at
2,999
Oct 5 - Oct 13, 2024
Starting at
2,899
Oct 12 - Oct 20, 2024
Starting at
2,899
Nov 2 - Nov 10, 2024
Starting at
2,499
Dec 7 - Dec 15, 2024
Starting at
2,499
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 8 - Apr 16, 2023
Starting at
3,439
Apr 15 - Apr 23, 2023
Starting at
3,439
May 6 - May 14, 2023
Starting at
3,439
May 12 - May 20, 2023
Starting at
3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure stays in a 4 star hotel.

Jun 3 - Jun 11, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Jun 10 - Jun 18, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Jul 8 - Jul 16, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Sep 1 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
3,879
Itinerary Note

This departure stays in a 4 star hotel.

Sep 9 - Sep 17, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Sep 22 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
3,879
Itinerary Note

This departure stays in a 4 star hotel.

Oct 7 - Oct 15, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Oct 14 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
3,599
Dec 2 - Dec 10, 2023
Starting at
2,879
Mar 23 - Mar 31, 2024
Starting at
3,439
Apr 13 - Apr 21, 2024
Starting at
3,439
May 10 - May 18, 2024
Starting at
3,729
May 18 - May 26, 2024
Starting at
3,889
Jun 1 - Jun 9, 2024
Starting at
3,889
Jun 8 - Jun 16, 2024
Starting at
3,889
Jul 6 - Jul 14, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Sep 7 - Sep 15, 2024
Starting at
3,889
Sep 20 - Sep 28, 2024
Starting at
4,049
Oct 5 - Oct 13, 2024
Starting at
3,889
Oct 12 - Oct 20, 2024
Starting at
3,889
Nov 2 - Nov 10, 2024
Starting at
3,199
Dec 7 - Dec 15, 2024
Starting at
3,199

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…

  • Be introduced by a local Road Scholar expert to life as a Parisian and explore the center of Paris.
  • Examine and discuss the art of Paris at museums, gardens and an open-air market.
  • Enjoy free time for independent discoveries or 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.
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.
The Hotel Majestic
by Georges Simenon
The most famous fictional detective in France, Maigret, tackles a case in the heart of Paris.
F is for France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders
by Piu Eatwell
An alphabetized catalogue of quirky French culture and history tidbits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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. In the late afternoon, we will gather with our Group Leader who 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, a number of meals on your own (excluded from the program cost) to enjoy what you like, and substantial free time for personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. This program is staffed by a knowledgeable Group Leader as well as an expert instructor who will accompany scheduled field trips and provide commentary. In addition to expert led lectures and field trips, two outstanding benefits of this program are the included Paris Visite Pass (Metro Pass) and Paris Museum Pass we will use for some field trips. They will make free time and personal independent exploration easier and more rewarding. For further information on the Museum Pass, please visit: https://www.parismuseumpass.fr/t-en 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. 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: We will walk to a nearby restaurant for a 3-course plated meal featuring traditional French food, plus a glass of wine; other beverages available for purchase. In France, meals are accompanied by complimentary bread (“pain”) and water (“eau” or “l’eau”), so you need not ask for them.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. In addition to free time suggestions from the Group Leader throughout the program, you can find information on local events by visiting: https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/major-events/what-to-do-in-paris.

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

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Use of Paris Métro, accessed by walking up/down flights of stairs, elevators/escalators not available in most stations, potentially crowded conditions, be prepared to stand if no seats are available. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time, cobblestone streets. Expect crowds at all monuments.

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

Morning: Our instructor, who is a licensed expert, will give us 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 board a motorcoach for a panoramic view of some of the most famous monuments and Paris sites as our Paris expert 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 concludes on the Île de la Cité in the vicinity of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

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 field trip to the Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame. Begun in 1239, the Sainte-Chapelle is one of the glories of Gothic architecture. Construction on the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris began in 1163 and was not finally completed until 1345. Damaged and restored a number of times, it remains one of the largest and finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere. A fire in April 2019 destroyed the 19th-century oak-and-lead spire by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and the vaulted ceiling. Repair work began almost immediately and continues. The Group Leader will accompany those who wish to return to the hotel. Those who wish to stay out and explore independently are welcome to do so.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Latin Quarter, Free Time, Seine River Cruise
Paris
B,D
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro. Walking up to 3 miles; uneven ground. Date and time of Seine River boat ride will depend on local schedules and circumstances.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel, our instructor will give us a presentation on the Paris during the Renaissance period into the 18th century. We will then head out with our instructor via Métro to experience the Latin Quarter as though we were medieval students. 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 choices available in the Latin Quarter.

Afternoon: Free Time. This would be a good opportunity to spend more time in 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. We will re-group at a designated time and place for an early evening boat ride along the Seine to view and hear about the magnificent illuminated monuments lining the river.

Dinner: We will take the Métro to a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

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

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro. Walking up to 3 miles; city terrain, crowded conditions at market.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will head out with our Group Leader 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 want to make a picnic lunch from specialties at the market or dine at a nearby café. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We will rendezvous with our instructor to explore the Marais District during a walking field trip. This area was once known as the Jewish Quarter and was the most populous Jewish community in Europe. Perhaps the most famous feature is the superb Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, built by King Henri IV in the early 1600s.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

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

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; city terrain, some cobblestones.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel, our instructor will provide an overview of the masterpieces in the Musée du Louvre. We will then 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 explore some of the covered passageways, hidden courtyards, and learn about its history through the centuries.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like.

Afternoon: Afternoon We will walk with our instructor to the Musée du Louvre, the world’s largest museum. Its unrivaled collection includes the most famous painting, the “Mona Lisa,” and the most famous sculpture, the “Venus de Milo.” We will see these masterpieces and other highlights of the Denon Wing before returning to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like.

Evening: at leisure

DAY
7
Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides
Paris
B
Le Patio Bastille

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; city terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk to the Métro station and ride to the Musée d’Orsay. Led by our Instructor, we will explore the world’s largest collection of Impressionist paintings at the Orsay on the Rive Gauche. 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 display 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 several choices for dining, or you might like to eat at a nearby brasserie.

Afternoon: The Group Leader will take those who wish to explore further via Métro to the church of Les Invalides in the Musée de l’Armée with the extraordinary Tomb of Napoleon. Another possibility will be to explore the Rodin Museum and sculpture garden independently. Or, just relax.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: We will travel to a Paris venue and enjoy a special concert at the Sainte Chapelle.

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

Activity note: Use of Paris Métro. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; inclined terrain at Montmartre.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel, our instructor will give us a lecture on Paris in the 20th century. Led by the instructor, we will then take a field trip via Métro to see the collections of the Musée de l’Orangerie that houses some of Monet’s magnificent Nymphéas (Water Lilies) paintings. The museum also contains works by other great artists of Impressionism.

Lunch: On your own. For those interested, the Group Leader will accompany participants to Montmartre via Métro.

Afternoon: The Group Leader will take those who wish to explore further via Métro up to the “village” of Montmartre, home of many artists during Impressionist and post-Impressionist periods. This is 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. We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: We will walk to a nearby restaurant for a 3-course meal with choice of entrée and a glass of wine included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Returning to the hotel, prepare for departure in the morning. If you need assistance with transfer arrangements, please consult with the Group Leader.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out 12:00 Noon. See your program’s Travel Information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel. 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!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.