The Paris Experience
2022 Dates: April 20 – 27 (“April in Paris”); Sept 24 – Oct 1 (“Paris in the Fall”)
We also offer a four-night trip, Inside Paris.
The Paris Experience is a unique week-long Experience trip, which will be offered for the first time in 2022. We’ll base in heart of Paris, not far from the River Seine between the Latin Quarter and St Germain des Prés.
Who doesn’t know Paris? It is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating, beautiful and loved cities on earth. This iconic city captures the imagination with grandiose monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the magical River Seine, traversed with multiple pedestrian bridges, lined with booksellers and artists. The “City of Light” is the apex of architectural beauty, artistic expression and culinary delight.
The true charm of Paris, however, lies in the small details: the quaint cobblestone streets, perfectly manicured gardens, bakeries on every street corner, Belle Epoque brasseries, and sidewalk cafés. This is the locals’ authentic Paris and the one we will enjoy during our week together.
Our accommodations will be confirmed soon. We’ll stay in a typically Parisian, comfortable, boutique hotel, in one of the neighborhoods between the 5th and 6th Arrondissements.
Experiences in Paris
The Paris Experience will follow the same approach as our other European Experience trips, including a variety of special activities and experiences unique to this area. This trip is designed for those who have already visited the most touristed highlights of Paris. We’ll dig deeper, providing experiences that locals enjoy, some of which are not normally accessible by visitors. Because of the city location and the intimate nature of these experiences, we’ll normally have a group of up to eight travelers for this week.
Our week will focus on themed days, including French gastronomy and food history, art and architecture, homes and gardens, neighborhoods, and history, while visiting through the perspective of locals for a true “inside” experience.
- An introductory jaunt about town in an iconic French Citroën 2CV car. This is a bucket list, once-in-a-lifetime experience and a great way to get to know your fellow travelers.
- A visit to the St Ouen flea market, also known as “Les Puces” and considered one of the biggest antique markets in the world. This buzzy place is the best spot to pick up vintage fashion or a pre-loved treasure.
- An walking tour of the Haut Marais, once the textile district, and now the hub of contemporary artisans and creators. Our visit will be hosted by a local guide and blogger.
- A visit inside one of Paris’ charming “house” museums, ranging from Haussmannian apartments to city mansions (known in French as “hôtels”). Unique collections of art and furniture bring these historic homes to life. We’ll also learn the stories of their former Parisian owners.
- Exploration of one or two special Paris gardens, accompanied by a passionate garden lover.
- A stroll through the Marché Aligré, a neighborhood produce market in the 12th arrondissement, running daily since 1779. This vibrant market attracts Parisians from across the city, thanks to its old fashioned atmosphere and historic central market hall. Tastings are planned!
- A walking tour of Montmartre, enjoying the charming cobblestone lanes of this bohemian neighborhood. (In the fall, we might see Paris’ only remaining vineyard.)
- A history day, somewhat flexible based on the collective interests of the group. Possibilities include a World War II walking tour, Revolutionary Paris, and Literary and Cultural Paris. We could also explore the Père Lachaise cemetery. (Additional historical sites might be visited during free time.)
- A special day focused on gastronomy and food history, hosted by a specialized guide who is also a trained chef. A highlight will be a meal in a “bouillon,” an eating establishment created at the beginning of the 20th century to serve all walks of life. These preserved dining rooms are “old school” Paris, where simple, tasty, unpretentious meals are still presented in glorious art deco interiors that retain their authentic atmospheres.
- A day trip outside central Paris. We’ll travel by train to one of the celebrated countryside chateaux near the capital, perhaps to the Chateau de Chantilly.
- Other memorable meals in a variety of settings, including traditional bistros, modern restaurants run by young chefs, wine bars for a cheese & charcuterie, a crêperie for a savory lunch, and a Parisian tea room.
On this one week Experience you’ll have some free time for relaxation, shopping, or your personal interests. We’re happy to suggest optional morning walks. An optional jazz club evening is another possibility. We may also also be able to arrange other optional activities at an additional cost, such as an evening cabaret show or a very early morning excursion to the famous Rungis wholesale food market on the outskirts of Paris.
As tourism opens up this summer, we’ll confirm all the details for this trip. A day-by-day itinerary will be available in the fall.
Arrival and Departure
The group will meet in our hotel lobby, late on the afternoon of the first day. We’ll depart after breakfast on our last day. If you’re continuing on to one of our other Experience trips in the south of France, we’ll provide transportation to the Gare de Lyon station and then to the next destination. Our hotel can help coordinate transportation to the airport or city train stations, depending on your plans.
We always recommend arriving in Europe at least one day before our week begins. This allows you to adjust to the time difference and also provides a buffer in case of any travel delays. If this is your first trip to Paris, we encourage you to come a few days early to get a good overview of the city before our Experience week begins. We suggest three days for a self-guided “highlights” trip. We can assist in arranging additional nights at our hotel at a preferred rate.
Paris is the hub of transportation in France with direct flights to and from major international cities. It’s also a great hopping off point for other famous French and European destinations by high-speed train, offering many possibilities before and after this trip.
Leader: Jennifer Dugdale
Prices: $3,950 per person, double occupancy. $4,400 – single occupancy of a double room.