*We may change this itinerary depending on changes in time or availability of some of our destinations. We’ll also adjust in case of weather or other unforeseen events.

Each day, you’ll set off with Cara or Donna or Sheila to a different arrondissement of Paris, depending on which activity most appeals. Afternoons are free for further individual exploration. Our trip leaders will supply you with directions or point you toward any special interest you might have. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015
Depart from your home city for overnight travel to Paris. (Airfare not included in trip price.)

Sunday, October 25
Arrive in Paris and go by taxi or bus to the Hotel Relais Monceau in the 8th arrondissement. (Guy de Maupassant once lived in this neighborhood; there’s a memorial to him in the nearby Parc Monceau.)

Since people will be arriving at different times, the afternoon is free. Some things we might suggest, depending on when you arrive: lunching at the Jacquemart-André museum near the hotel; taking Metro to the Montparnasse outdoor art market; or simply walking in the Parc Monceau, said to be the most beautiful park of Paris.

6 p.m. Group joins Cara for wine and munchies in the hotel salon. After our briefing about the week’s activities, participants can opt to dine out in small groups.

Monday, October 26
We’ll leave the hotel this morning in small groups to visit Duluc Detective with Cara. It’s an actual working French detective agency that has been in existence since 1913.

Then Cara will lead us through the nearby Galerie Véro-Dodat, a neoclassical covered arcade that features high-end designer boutiques and antique shops. The arcade takes us to the Palais Royal, described in Balzac’s novels as a hive of depravity, but now where high-end vintage shops sit next to the very latest new fashions. Right outside the Palais Royal is the Théâtre Comédie-Francaise, where Molière’s plays were so often performed; it’s featured in Cara’s book Murder in the Palais Royal.

From here, you can continue to explore the area on your own: walk up the elegant rue St. Honoré for upscale shopping, have lunch or tea at Angelina on the rue de Rivoli—famous for its chocolat chaud l’africain, relax in the Tuileries gardens, or make your way to the Orangerie to see Monet’s enormous waterlily paintings.

Or, if you like, you can walk with Sheila or Donna to the Louvre to explore its magnificent treasures, including some of its most famous pictures (there are many that are more interesting than the Mona Lisa), the Apollo Galerie with what’s left of the French crown jewels, and Emperor Napoleon III’s over-the-top private apartments.

6:30 p.m. Group meets in the hotel salon for an aperitif and conversation.

Tuesday, October 27
Today Cara takes us on a walking tour through the old Marais, site of the very first Aimée Leduc mystery. We’ll visit the courtyard alleys of the woodworkers, Cour du Bel Air and Cour de l’Etoile d’Or described in Murder in the Bastille. For lunch, you might want to sample the falafel the Marais is famous for.

Afterwards, you can explore the many shops in the Marais and stroll under the arcades of the Place des Vosges (where you can visit Victor Hugo’s house). Stop in the Carnavalet Museum to see Proust’s bedroom or go to the Shoah Memorial or visit the newly re-opened Picasso Museum (please note that at the time of this writing, the museum hadn’t yet announced which days it will be closed).

This is also a good day to walk across the Pont Marie bridge over the Seine to Ile St. Louis, setting for Aimée Leduc’s home. There you can sample some of the famous Berthillon ice cream. Right across the Pont St. Louis bridge is the Ile de la Cité, where you can visit Notre Dame, see the brilliant stained glass of Sainte-Chapelle, or tour the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before her death.

6:30 p.m. Group meets in the hotel salon for an aperitif and conversation.

Later, if you like, we’ll take the #30 bus down to the Trocadero to watch the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the dark. The tower sparkles for five minutes on the hour in the evenings.

Wednesday, October 28
This morning you have a choice of activities. You can either…

… Metro to the Musée D’Orsay (7th arr.) to see your favorite Impressionists and portraits of writers and artists in their ateliers, then walk through charming streets to St. Germain des Près (6th arr.) to visit one of the oldest churches in Paris, and then stroll through specialty shops in the decorative arts. You might have a coffee at Deux Magots or Café Flore, frequented by Hemingway, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Richard Wright, among others. Some of us may settle in at the beautiful Ladurée tea room for lunch or a macaron and café crème.


…join Donna to continue your exploration of the hidden “passages” of Paris in the 9th arrondissement—Passages Panorama, Jouffroy, Verdeau, Vivienne.  A labyrinth of these covered shopping arcades were built in the late 1800s—often with glass ceilings for natural light. Only a few remain today; each one that has survived is unique. They feature beautiful architecture and mosaics, interesting little shops and tea rooms, antiques, philatelists and antiquarian bookstores, and one of the most elegant wine-tasting rooms in Paris. 

6:30 p.m. Group meets in the hotel salon for an aperitif and conversation.

Thursday, October 29
Today we set off early with Cara to visit another scene from Aimée Leduc’s career: the little-known the Passy Reservoir, an enormous and historic water reservoir behind high stone walls in the elegant 16th arrondissement.

Afterwards, we’ll Metro to the 7th arrondissement to see Le Pagode, also featured in one of Aimée’s adventures. This Japanese-style pagoda was built in 1896 by the owner of Le Bon Marché during a time when everything Asian was the fashion. It’s striking for the elegant interiors and its gardens. Today original-version movies are shown there.

Then we’ll stroll with Cara to another of Paris’ hidden jewels, the private garden of the Missions Étrangères (foreign missions). After lunch, you might want to visit the Rodin Museum nearby, or rue Cler, the fashionable foodie street. The Champs de Mars and Eiffel Tower are just a few blocks away as well.

6:30 p.m. Group meets in the hotel salon for an aperitif and conversation.

Friday, October 30
This morning, you can choose to…

…Metro with Donna to the Belle Époque Opéra Garnier, famous as the setting for the original Phantom of the Opera, and also for the remarkable Chagall painted ceiling in the auditorium. Afterwards, go up to the rooftop of the nearby Printemps department store for 360° views of Paris. You might want to have a late lunch here in either Printemps or Galeries Lafayette, and do a bit of last-minute shopping.


…walk over to the beautiful and historic Nissim de Camondo house museum (8th arr.) with Sheila; tragically, the Camondo family was killed at Auschwitz. Then we can have lunch at another spectacular Haussmann-era home and museum, the Jacquemart-André, where the dining room has a Tiepolo ceiling.

6:30 p.m. Group meets in the hotel salon for an aperitif and conversation. Before we say our good-byes, Cara will read to us from her latest novel.

Saturday, October 31
Depart for home. Hotel check-out time is 11 a.m.


Please note that we travel around the city exclusively by Paris bus and Metro—and there almost no escalators or elevators in the Paris Metro system. Even the Louvre is short of easy access. Plus, of course, we’ll be taking several walking tours. So you’ll need to be able to walk several long blocks at a time without a rest stop, and navigate flights of stairs.

The cost of the trip is $3950 a person, based on single occupancy.

You can reserve your place on the trip with a $500 deposit, payable by check, made out to Wild Blue Yonder (Wild Blue Yonder, 1001 Spring Street, Suite 623, Silver Spring, MD 20910). If you’d rather pay with a credit card via PayPal (there’s a 3% surcharge), let us know (email Sheila at and we’ll send you a PayPal invoice.

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