Claude Monet’s Nymphéas (Water Lilies) on display at the Orangerie.
THIS TRIP IS NOT CURRENTLY SCHEDULED. IT WAS LAST OPERATED IN APRIL/MAY 2015.
Over the years, Amy has developed and operated trips to a variety of destinations including this one, but not all trips are offered every year. If you are interested in joining a scheduled departure of this trip in the future, please send us an email and let us know. Click to send us an email or use the form at the bottom of this page.
We can organize and operate this trip as a private group departure with a minimum group size of 8 persons.
Start organizing your private Paris Art Adventure here.
Best time to travel: April – early May
Best gateway city: Paris, France
Immerse yourself in the art and history of Paris, and feel the heartbeat of one of Europe’s great cities! The Louvre and a wealth of other museums—including the Orsay and Rodin Museums—will be “in your backyard.” Take your time and explore their vast and exquisite collections. Architectural icons like Notre Dame are woven into a centuries-old cityscape. Day trips from Paris will let you experience Claude Monet’s home at Giverny, the palace of Versailles, and the chateau and gardens at Vaux le Vicomte. Sip a café au lait; stroll down a shaded allée; feel the chic of the Champs Elysées! Paris is a city like no other!
Amy Boyce Osaki will add a special walking tour, short introductory talks, special meals and bonus visits to relatively unknown art venues as extras to this art tour. Amy, an award-winning art educator, studied and lived in Paris. She is looking forward to revealing the unique aspects of Paris to you in a way that avoids the hassles and the crowds. You’ll explore what is new as well as what is timeless. You’ll savor well-known masterpieces as well as the little known secrets of the City of Light. You’ll also meet local Parisian guides with whom Amy will craft a memorable Paris experience for you!
Day 1 – “You’re in Paris!”
In celebration of your arrival in the City of Light, enjoy an afternoon walk through the streets of Paris. This special walking tour, led by Amy, will focus on both banks of the Seine and the two islands, Ile de la Cité and Ile St Louis. Also included will be a visit to the cathedral of Notre Dame. Follow in the footsteps of over two thousand years of history. Beneath the modern city lie the roots of the original settlement of the Parisii (the original tribe) as well as the remnants of Lutece, the ancient Roman city. If you know where to look, you can actually see physical evidence of the city’s two thousand year history! This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at a small Parisian restaurant.
The Louvre and the I.M. Pei Pyramid.
Day 2 – “Old Paris”
Begin today at the Museé de Cluny which boasts a collection of art from the Middle Ages including a fabulous example of medieval domestic architecture. Also featured is a Roman bath built in A.D. 200. Among the other treasures of the museum is the tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn and an outstanding example of a medieval garden. Continue to the Louvre, formerly home to French kings and now the repository of one of the great art collections in the world. Explore the history of the building itself from the archaeological remains of the earlier fortress to the decorated royal rooms. Then see the masterworks in the galleries including the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Mona Lisa, and the Coronation of Napoleon.
The Palace of Versailles.
Day 3 – Versailles (Louis, Louis, Louis, Louis!)
Travel to the palace of Versailles, home to the kings Louis XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI. Enjoy an exclusive, private tour of the castle far from the madding crowds during which you’ll visit the King’s bed chamber, the King’s private suite, and the royal opera. Linger in the opulent chateau, stroll through the extensive grounds, and return to Paris in the afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon and evening are at your leisure.
The Chateau de Chantilly.
Day 4 – “Six centuries as a private castle.”
Breakfast & lunch included
Journey from Paris to the Chateau de Chantilly, owned by the Montmorency family from 1386 to 1897 when it was donated to the Institut de France. Today, the castle houses the Condé Museum whose painting collection of over 800 masterpieces of French, Italian, Flemish, and English painting has been called “the number one museum of ancient paintings (prior to 1850) in France after the Louvre Museum.” A splendid library of 700 manuscripts and 30,000 volumes includes a Gutenburg Bible and medieval manuscripts. The castle and the Montmorency family were linked closely to the French monarchy: Louis XIII confiscated Chantilly from the Montmorency family for a decade; Louis XIV hired Andre Le Notre to design the gardens at Versailles after his work at Chantilly; Louis XV’s Prime Minister lived at Chantilly; and Louis XVI’s “Hamlet” at Versailles was inspired by the Hamlet at Chantilly.
Day 5 – 19th century and Impressionism
Breakfast & dinner included
Adjacent to the former royal palace of the Louvre are the renovated Tuileries Gardens. Whet your appetite for a feast of Impressionist art by beginning the day viewing the renovated galleries of the Orangerie Museum housing Monet’s water lily paintings. The new installation is stunning. Linger and enjoy the excellent collection of 19th and early 20th century art by Cezanne, Derain, Matisse, Rousseau, Soutine, Picasso and Modigliani. Cross the Seine on a the new pedestrian bridge (Passerelle Solférino), to enter the Orsay Museum and its new exhibition of Impressionist art. The curators have selected masterworks from the world’s greatest collection of French Impressionist art and present them in the context of the entire period from 1848-1914. The exhibit encompasses art from the Barbizon School (Corot and Rousseau), the Realists (Courbet, Daumier), the Impressionists (Manet, Monet, Morisot, Renoir), and the Post-Impressionists (Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat). Enjoy dinner together this evening.
Water lilies in Monet’s Garden at Giverny.
Day 6 – Monet, Giverny, and Impressionism in the 19th century
Breakfast & lunch included
Today depart Paris and travel one hour west into Normandy. Step into the village of Giverny and leave the hustle of the modern world behind. In Giverny you’ll visit the home and garden of Claude Monet. Here is where the artist lived from 1883 until 1926. Explore the house and gardens and the secrets of the village typically overlooked by the rushing crowds. Enjoy lunch at an excellent small restaurant housed in a brand new museum. Visit the Hotel Baudy, which housed American artists, and pay homage at the newly restored church where Monet married his second wife and where he was buried. Linger, savor, and relax amidst the beauty of a place that inspired Monet and over a century’s worth of artists from France, the United States, Japan, and beyond. Return to Paris for the evening.
A day at your leisure. Whether you decide to return to a favorite museum (Louvre or Orangerie) or discover a new one (such as the Pompidou), Amy will be happy to offer her suggestions for a fulfilling day in the city. Or you might decide to just relax and fall under the spell of Paris.
Detail from Jeune femme aux fleurs dans les cheveux by Auguste Rodin.
Day 8 – Rodin and Monet (19th century)
Breakfast & dinner included
Continue to revel in the masterworks of the 19th century at the Rodin Museum which houses the largest collection of his art anywhere in the world. The museum occupies the 18th century hotel where Rodin lived and worked from 1908 until his death in 1917. Art by Rodin and Camille Claudel fills the rooms. Here is the heart of the neighborhood where Amy lived while a student at the Sorbonne and the Louvre. Perhaps you’ll take some time to sample the wares of les pâtisseries in a quest for the best pastries in the neighborhood. Complete the homage to Impressionism at the quiet Musée Marmottan which houses Monet’s Impression Sunrise which inspired the name “impressionism.” A farewell dinner caps off your art adventure in Paris! Your lodging tonight and breakfast tomorrow morning are included.
Resources for Further Learning
- Check out the article “The Cradle of Paris” by Gully Wells in the July 2007 issue of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine to discover what Honoré De Balzac meant when he talked about the “gastronomy of the eye.”
- Visit the Orsay Museum’s website.
- Set off on a virtual visit to the Louvre.
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