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Both of the Paris trips are sold out.

Itinerary: SUMMER IN PARIS

*This itinerary is adjustable: If there is an activity or a destination that is not included, our trip leaders are happy to help make arrangements—they are eager for your input.

Each day, you’ll set off with either 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, July 19
Depart from your home city for overnight travel to Paris.

 

Sunday, July 20
Arrive in Paris and go by taxi or bus to the Hotel Relais Monceau in the 8th arrondissement. (Guy de Maupassant 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 meets for wine and munchies in the hotel salon, after which participants can opt to dine out in small groups.

 

Monday, July 21 (Many museums are closed today)
9:30 a.m. Take Metro up to the village of Montmartre (18th arrondissement) with Donna for the views from the front of Sacre Coeur, the 19th century church that Zola references in his book Paris. Walk by the only vineyard left in Paris, visit the open-air artists’ market in Place du Tertre, then explore the shops and restaurants of Montmartre.

or

10 a.m. Metro to the Opéra Garnier (8th arr.) to explore this Belle Époque masterpiece of architecture—the setting for the original Phantom of the Opera. Nearby are the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, icons of Haussmann-era Paris, worth a stop to see the view from their rooftops and their stained glass domes. Afterwards, Metro to the Ile St. Louis (4th arr.), home to small shops and cafés and the famous Berthillon ice cream—plus splendid views of the Seine.

If you’re new to Paris, Sheila will also take you to visit Notre Dame Cathedral, setting for Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the magnificent stained glass windows of Saint-Chapelle. You might also want to visit the Conciergerie, a setting for Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and location of the cell where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned.

6:30 p.m. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.

 

Tuesday, July 22
8:45 a.m. Metro to the newly redone 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.) for specialty shops in the decorative arts. If you can bear wading through the tourists, have a coffee at Deux Magots, frequented by Hemingway, Sartre and de Beauvoir, among others. Some of us may settle in at the beautiful Ladurée tea room for lunch or a macaron and café crème.

or

9:45 a.m. Take the bus with Donna to Place Madeleine, where some of the most sophisticated shops of Paris are located. Wander down rue St. Honoré to the elegant 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. Colette lived here in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Right outside the Palais Royal is the Théâtre Comédie-Francaise, where Molière’s plays were so often performed. Voltaire’s heart is enshrined in the Bibliothèque Nationale nearby. You might want to stop in the covered Passage Vivienne for lunch or coffee. In the afternoon, visit the Musée des Arts Décoratifs—a fascinating collection of jewelry, decorative objects and fashion.

6:30 p.m. Gather in the lobby for wine.

 

Wednesday, July 23
7:30 a.m. Take Metro to Gare St. Lazare for the 45-minute train ride to the small town of Vernon, where Giverny, Monet’s home and garden, is located. Back in Paris, we’ll see Monet’s huge water lily paintings at the Orangerie (1st arr.), then walk through the Tuileries, where artist Eduoard Manet liked to stroll and listen to concerts, perhaps stopping for a luscious chocolat chaud Africain at Angelina, one of the most famous tearooms in Paris.

AND (because so many people will want to go to Giverny)

2 p.m. Metro to the 6th arrondissement with Donna and wander through the magnificent Jardin du Luxembourg, searching out the statues of Stendhal, Sand, Flaubert and Baudelaire, or just relax and read beside the Medici Fountain.

Visit the Église St. Sulpice, famous for its paintings by Delacroix. The Marquis de Sade was baptized here, and Victor Hugo was married in the church. But St. Sulpice may be best known today as a setting in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code

Optional shopping outing: Visit Paris’s first department store, Le Bon Marché, then shop on rue Grenelle (shoes) and Cherche Midi (small boutiques).

6:30 p.m. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.

 

Thursday, July 24
9:15 a.m. Metro with Donna to the street market at Saxe Breteuil, one of the most lovely in Paris, situated in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Afterwards, we’ll walk or bus up towards the Eiffel Tower and walk along the Seine or through the Trocadero gardens to the avant-garde art museum, the newly expanded Palais de Tokyo. You may also want to visit the newly re-opened Palais Galliera, the museum of fashion.

or

10:15 a.m. Walk over to Parc Monceau, then visit the beautiful and historic Nissim de Camondo house museum (8th arr.); tragically, the entire Camondo family was killed at Auschwitz. Then have lunch at another spectacular Haussmann-era home and museum, the Jacquemart-André, where the dining room has a Tiepolo ceiling.

In the afternoon, you might want to Metro over to the Jardin des Plantes, a favorite of Marcel Proust.

6:30 p.m. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.

 

Friday, July 25
9:30 a.m. Metro to the Rodin Museum and Garden (7th arr.) with Sheila. Poet Rainer Maria Rilke lived here in the Hôtel Biron and suggested it to Rodin for his studio. In the gardens are the sculptures The Gates of Hell from Dante’s Inferno, The Burghers of Calais, a bust of Victor Hugo and statue of Balzac. (The first version, shocking because Balzac was depicted nude, is in the house.) Then explore rue Cler, the famous “foodie” street. Nearby are the Invalides (Napoleon’s tomb), Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower, many streets of small shops and excellent restaurants (7th arr.).

or

9:30 a.m. Metro to the Marais (3rd and 4th arr.), setting of the apartment in Tatiana de Rosnay’s book Sarah’s Key, for a walking tour with Donna. Begin in the historic Place de l’Hôtel de Ville and continue to the Place des Vosges, where you can visit Victor Hugo’s home. You may want to go to the Shoah Memorial or the Musée Carnavalet, which contains Marcel Proust’s bedroom and many other objects important to the history of the city.

Of course, it’s also fun to shop in the boutiques and art galleries of the Marais, to sample the falafel that the Marais is famous for, or—our favorite—to walk up to the celebrated patisserie of Jacques Genin for his salted butter caramels and chocolates.

6:30 p.m. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.

 

Saturday, July 26
Depart for home, or for your next adventure. Hotel check-out time is 11 a.m..

 

OPTIONAL TRIP EXTENSION: Exploring around Paris

The Fountains and Gardens of Versailles, the Bastille street market and the Chateau at Fontainebleau.

If you’d like to experience more of France, we invite you to stay on for an exploration of some of the most memorable places outside of Paris. And, because we can get to so many places by train, we don’t have to repack or change hotels.

 

Saturday, July 26
In the late afternoon, we depart by train (45 minutes) for Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes at the Chateau of Versailles—an evening in the gardens with fountains playing, magical light shows, music and fireworks. The experience ends at midnight, and we’ll drive back to Paris to sleep at the Relais Monceau.

Sunday, July 27
We’ll sleep late after the Versailles extravaganza, then take Metro over to the huge outdoor Bastille Market, where we can sample foods from all over France. Afterwards, we’ll take the Metro out to see St. Denis, the first Gothic cathedral ever constructed, and where most of the kings and queens of France are buried.

Monday, July 28
We rise early to take the train from the historic Gare de Lyon to see Fontainebleau, one of the largest royal chateaus of France, also a favorite of Napoleon’s. We’ll have time to explore the palace and its spectacular gardens, plus a bit of the town, before we take the train back (45 minutes) to Paris in time for dinner.

Tuesday, July 29
Depart for home.

The cost of the extension is $1550, which includes three additional nights in the Hotel Relais Monceau in Paris, all train and transportation and admissions to the Versailles Grandes Eaux and Fontainebleau.

 

READY TO PACK YOUR BAGS?
The cost of the trip is $2570 a person, based on single occupancy.

You can reserve your place on the trip with a $400 deposit, payable by check, made out to Wild Blue Yonder (Wild Blue Yonder, 1001 Spring Street, Suite 527, 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 SCampbell@wildblueyonder.biz) and we’ll send you a PayPal invoice. Your deposit is fully refundable until 90 days before the start of the trip.

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