Walking up to 3 miles on cobblestone and paved streets; standing for up to 2 hours during visits; use of the Paris Metro; may involve unavoidable stairs. Expect crowds.
At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet with a variety of foods and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
We will take the Metro to the Île de la Cité. On arrival, we’ll set out with our Group Leader on a walking field trip to learn about medieval history, art and architecture on the Île de la Cité — the historic heart of Paris — focusing on the Sainte-Chapelle and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. We will meet a local expert who will provide expert commentary during the field trip. L'Ile de la Cité was originally occupied by the Iron Age Parisii tribe. Legend says they claimed 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 Sainte-Chapelle. 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 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. Notre-Dame Cathedral was conceived in 1160 by the Bishop of Paris who wanted a much grander edifice than the existing Merovingian building. Construction began in 1163 and was not finally 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. Afterwards, we will take the Paris Metro to the Musée d’Orsay.
At the Musée d'Orsay restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of water, soft drinks; other beverages available for purchase.
With an expert, we will explore the Musée D’Orsay, which houses the world's largest collection of Impressionist art. We will learn about French Art dating from 1848 to 1915. The first work of art is the building itself, the former Gare d’Orsay railway station, built in Beaux-Arts style for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, was refurbished, repurposed, and reopened as the Musée d’Orsay in 1986. 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.
We’ll take the Métro to a local restaurant where we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of wine, beer, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.