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France

Paris at a Slower Pace: Art & Culture in the City of Light

Only Paris is Paris. Enjoy an easy-paced discovery as you join local experts to learn about the museums, art, architecture and renowned cuisine that make this city one-of-a-kind.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22235RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,649
Flights start at
800
France

Paris at a Slower Pace: Art & Culture in the City of Light

Only Paris is Paris. Enjoy an easy-paced discovery as you join local experts to learn about the museums, art, architecture and renowned cuisine that make this city one-of-a-kind.
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,649
Flights start at
800
Program No. 22235 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
Sep 24 - Oct 2, 2021
Starting at
2,849
Oct 1 - Oct 9, 2021
Starting at
2,849
Mar 25 - Apr 2, 2022
Starting at
2,649
Apr 1 - Apr 9, 2022
Starting at
2,849
May 6 - May 14, 2022
Starting at
2,979
May 13 - May 21, 2022
Starting at
2,979
Sep 2 - Sep 10, 2022
Starting at
2,979
Oct 7 - Oct 15, 2022
Starting at
2,979
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 24 - Oct 2, 2021
Starting at
3,599
Oct 1 - Oct 9, 2021
Starting at
3,599
Mar 25 - Apr 2, 2022
Starting at
3,119
Apr 1 - Apr 9, 2022
Starting at
3,399
May 6 - May 14, 2022
Starting at
3,699
May 13 - May 21, 2022
Starting at
3,699
Sep 2 - Sep 10, 2022
Starting at
3,799
Oct 7 - Oct 15, 2022
Starting at
3,799

At a Glance

From the spires of Notre Dame to the masterpieces of the Louvre, discover the cultural treasures of Paris at a leisurely pace that allows you to savor your discoveries. View artwork by the masters at some of the world’s finest museums, stroll the Latin Quarter alongside students at the nearby Sorbonne and get a taste of life as a Parisian at street-side cafes and at an open- air market. Experience extraordinary full days exploring the “City of Light” via motorcoach, accompanied by local experts and enhanced with in-depth lectures. Discover the best of Paris at your own pace.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to 2 miles per day and standing up to 2 hours; cobblestone streets and uneven terrain. Looking for the same great program but more challenging? Check out "Independent Paris: People, Places, Culture" (#10034).
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • A local Road Scholar expert introduces you to the medieval art and architecture of Paris as you explore Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame on Île de la Cite.
  • Examine and discuss the art of Paris at the Musee d’Orsay, Rodin Museum and the Louvre.
  • Explore the elegant Palais Royal and stroll the famed Rue Saint-Honoré.

General Notes

You may be interested in a more active version of this program, "Independent Paris: People, Places, Culture" (#10034). 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Hotel Majestic
by Georges Simenon
The most famous fictional detective in France, Maigret, tackles a case in the heart of Paris.
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.
F is for France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders
by Piu Eatwell
An alphabetized catalogue of quirky French culture and history tidbits.
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 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.
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9 days
8 nights
18 meals
7 B 5 L 6 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Paris, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Paris
D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 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. 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 provides each Road Scholar with a Paris Museum Pass (entry to 60+ participating museums for 2 consecutive days). This 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/. 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. 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.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. In France, restaurants take pride in creating a relaxed atmosphere where patrons can take their time and enjoy every bite. This allows the customer to set the pace of the meal, and means that they have to inform the server when they are ready for the check (“l’addition”) at the end of the meal. It is customary for servers to wait until everyone has finished their dish before clearing the table and bringing out the next course. You may indicate to the server that you have finished your meal by placing your utensils together on the right hand side of your plate. Meals are accompanied by complimentary bread (“pain”) and water (“eau” or “l’eau”), so you need not ask for them. When wine is offered at meals, please note that it is customary to fill your glass half way to allow the wine to breathe.

Evening: At leisure. 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,L
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; pavement, cobblestones, gravel paths. Standing for up to 2 hours during site visits. Expect crowded conditions.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

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: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will set out on a walking field trip to learn more about medieval 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. 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. Anyone who wishes to stay out and return independently is welcome to do so.

Dinner: 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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Latin Quarter, St. Germain des Prés, St. Sulpice, Seine
Paris
B,L,D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; pavement, cobblestones, gravel paths. Expect crowded conditions. Timing of Seine River trip subject to change; if scheduling conflicts arise, river trip may be moved to another time or day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we will have a lecture by our instructor on Paris during the Renaissance period and 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.

Lunch: At a restaurant in the Latin Quarter.

Afternoon: We will continue exploring the Rive Gauche with visits to St. Germain des Prés and St. Sulpice. The neighborhood known as St. Germain des Prés was 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. Église Saint-Sulpice is the second-largest church in Paris after Notre-Dame. In addition to fascinating architecture, interior decoration, and history as a center of esoteric knowledge, St. Sulpice is notable for its rich musical heritage with one of the finest pipe organs in Europe, considered the finest achievement of organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The church also figured in Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code.”

Dinner: We will provide meal vouchers known as “tickets restaurant” that can be used at restaurants, bakeries, brasseries, and cafés displaying a TR sticker on the window with messages such as this: “Nous acceptons les Tickets Restaurant.” (Change is not given back if the meal cost is less than the value of the voucher.) The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

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
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; pavement, cobblestones, gravel paths. Expect crowded conditions.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll set out via motorcoach 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. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

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. We will have some time for independent exploration. You might like to return to the Latin Quarter, explore the Luxembourg Gardens, browse Europe’s largest collection of modern art at the Pompidou Center, or see more of the Marais, whose most striking feature today is the superb Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, built by King Henri IV in the early 1600s. The Group Leader will accompany those who wish to return to the hotel. Anyone who wishes to stay out and return independently is welcome to do so.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Musée du Louvre, Palais-Royal
Paris
B,L,D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; pavement, cobblestones, gravel paths. Expect crowded conditions; large crowds at Louvre may make it difficult to see the most popular works.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel, our instructor will give us a lecture on masterpieces of the Louvre. We will then go by motorcoach to the Musée du Louvre for our next learning experience. 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.

Lunch: At a restaurant near the Louvre.

Afternoon: Next, we will walk 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.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides, Musée Rodin
Paris
B,L,D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; pavement, cobblestones, gravel paths. Expect crowded conditions.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will take the motorcoach for a field trip with our instructor to the Musée d’Orsay and explore the world’s largest collection of Impressionist paintings. 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: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to Les Invalides, the site of Napoleon’s tomb. Founded by Louis XIV and opened in 1674 as a home for disabled French soldiers, the Hôtel National des Invalides was a city within a city consisting of a barracks, hospital and hospice, a factory, a church, and even a convent. The golden dome of the church is one of the most recognized landmarks in Paris. Under Napoleon I, it became a pantheon of French military glories and today houses the Musée de l’Armée. Napoleon’s remains were transferred from the island of Saint Helena in 1861 and reinterred here in a magnificent tomb. We will also visit the nearby Musée Rodin in the Hôtel Biron and its gardens. Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is considered one of the most remarkable sculptors of his day. In addition to some of the most important works by Rodin himself — including “The Thinker” — the museum also holds significant paintings by Monet, Renoir, van Gogh he collected. The seven acres of gardens around the 18th-century mansion present Rodin’s sculptures in natural settings.

Dinner: We will provide meal vouchers known as “tickets restaurant” that can be used at restaurants, bakeries, brasseries, and cafés displaying a TR sticker on the window with messages such as this: “Nous acceptons les Tickets Restaurant.” (Change is not given back if the meal cost is less than the value of the voucher.) The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Musée de l’Orangerie, Montmartre
Paris
B,L,D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day, standing up to 2 hours at a time; pavement, cobblestones, gravel paths. Expect crowded conditions.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach and go on a field trip with our instructor 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. We will then ride to Montmartre.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Montmartre.

Afternoon: When in Montmartre, we will gain insights into the lives of artists in Paris, and learn about the importance of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism to this community. We will see Place du Tertre — place of the hill — the popular center of Montmartre’s artists; Sacré-Cœur Basilica, built as an expression of national penance for France’s 1870 defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and consecrated in 1919; and many little side streets that inspired artists of the past and continue to inspire those of today.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

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

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon. See your program’s Transportation 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!






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