Use Paris Metro; walking up/down stairs in the metro as elevators/escalators are not always available at each station; metro stairs have railings; standing for up to 15 minutes at a time in the metro when seats are not available; total time traveling on metro approximately 1/2 hour. Walking on cobblestone streets for up to 3 miles throughout the day; standing for up to 2 hours during museum visits on even ground; getting on/off motorcoach; crowds to be expected.
At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet including eggs, breakfast meat, breads, cheese, cereals, jam, butter, yogurt, and fruit. Coffee, tea, juices, water included.
Via the metro, we will head with the Group Leader to meet our expert instructor, with whom we will explore the heart of Paris: L'Ile de la Cité. It was originally occupied by the Iron Age Parisii tribe. Legend says they took their name from Prince Paris of Troy. It became a prominent settlement in Roman Gaul as Lutetia and later capital of the Merovingian dynasty. Today, it is home to some of Paris’s most iconic sites including the flower market, the Sainte Chapelle, and the Cathédrale de Notre Dame. 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 given its structure and ornamentation. 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 other-worldliness 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.
We will take the metro to the Musée d'Orsay, where we will enjoy a plated meal plus coffee, tea, water.
At the Musée d'Orsay, we will have an expert-led visit, followed by time to see what interests you most. 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.
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.
Depending on the time of year, enjoy either a late afternoon or evening cruise along the Seine to view the magnificent monuments lining the river.