22235
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
2,699
Flights start at
825
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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: We will walk to a restaurant near the hotel for a 3-course plated meal featuring traditional French food, plus a glass of wine and water; other beverages available for purchase. 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, the breakfast buffet offers hot and cold choices such as eggs, breads and pastries, juice, coffee, tea, water.

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, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of soda and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of soft drink and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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: Hotel buffet.

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: We will ride to a local restaurant and have a plated meal with beverage choices of wine, soft drink, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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: Hotel buffet.

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, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of a soft drink, hot drink, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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: We will ride to a local restaurant and have a plated meal with beverage choices of wine, soft drink, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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: Hotel buffet.

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: We will ride to a local restaurant and have a plated meal with beverage choices of soft drink, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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: Hotel buffet.

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.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of a soft drink, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will ride to Montmartre, 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: We’ll ride to a local restaurant, and have a plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine or beer, soft drink, water included; other beverages available for purchase. 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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