A Parisian Big Short Break
Get under the skin of the City of Light on this four-day itinerary, taking in some iconic spots and others which fly slightly under the radar.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Take a privately guided tour of the Louvre's lesser known masterpieces
- Tour Versailles with an expert
- Unravel the French Revolution with an expert historian
- Explore the home of a 19th century French banker
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Eurostar
Your train to the continent leaves St Pancras International mid-morning, whisking you through Le Chunnel to Paris in time for a long, leisurely lunch.
After taking a taxi to your hotel, we recommend consulting your trusty Dossier for our favourite spots to hunker down for a very long, indulgent lunch.
Paris is an exceptionally walkable city, so after lunch we recommend wandering down to the Louvre, where you will be met by an expert guide for a privately guided tour of the museum. It is said that if you were to spend 90 seconds looking at each work of art in the museum, you would spend days there. To bypass this, and the crowds intent only on seeing the Mona Lisa, your guide will take you around the lesser known, but no less spectacular, galleries for a truly wonderful tour of one of the biggest museums in the world.
Day 2: Versailles
This morning you will be met at your hotel by an expert guide for a private transfer to the Palace of Versailles - seat of the Sun King, home of Marie Antoinette and ultimate physical manifestation of the luxury and desire of the French absolutist monarchs.
Beginning in the gardens, your art historian guide will dissect the pervasive solar myth surrounding Louis XIV and how this influenced the design of the gardens and house. You will then move onto the interior, where you will learn about the intrigue, politics and treachery that pervaded the French court, and how the Sun King moved his courtiers from the Louvre to Versailles to increase his grip on his courtiers. After your tour, you will be free to wander around the town of Versailles before a private transfer back to Paris in time for dinner.
Day 3: Vive la Revolution!
As yesterday was spent learning about the rise of the French monarchy, this morning you will learn about its downfall.
Your expert historian guide will meet you at your hotel for a private walking tour of Paris' revolutionary hotspots. Beginning at the Place de la Bastille - where a revolting rabble ransacked the city's most hated prison and sparked the brutal and bloody revolution - your guide will unravel the complex and twisting history of revolutionary France, painting a picture of the sharp divisions between the aristocracy and the rest of France. Continuing through the Palais Royal, the Jardin des Tuileries and finishing at the Place de la Concorde you will come away with a clear understanding of how the 1789 revolution left an indelible mark on French society. After the tour you will have the rest of the day to spend at leisure.
Day 4: Eurostar
Today is your last day in Paris, but before you train home this afternoon, you still have time to visit one of our favourite, and lesser known, museums - the Musée Nissim de Camondo.
Housed in the home of Belle Epoque banker Moïse de Camondo, and left by him to the French people, the collection shows some of the best art of the 18th century. The house has been left as it was when Camondo died, and gives a fascinating insight into the life of an aristocratic family in early 20th century Paris.
After your museum visit, there is time for one last lunch before you take a taxi to Gare du Nord in time to check in for your afternoon train back under the Channel and home.
Harriet, Kate L and Charlotte H are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.