Historic Annapolis in Paris
July 21-27, 2019
Optional Trip Extension July 27-30, 2019
$3400 per person, with no single supplement needed.
Historic Annapolis invites you to join us and a small group of history-loving travelers for an exclusive and affordable week in Paris. This is not a typical group travel trip; there won’t be any clambering onto buses or jamming en masse into touristy restaurants. Instead, you’ll be introduced to some of the small gems of Paris—the lesser known museums, the spectacular parks, the off the beaten track cafés.
Whether or not you’ve been to Paris before, you’ll get to know the city in a more intimate way. Trip leaders Barbara Wendell and Sheila Campbell will lead us in small groups, via Metro or city buses, moving about the city like Parisians.
Our boutique hotel, the Relais Monceau, is located in the stylish 8th arrondissement near the Parc Monceau, said by many to be the most beautiful park in Paris. (Both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson lived in the 8th while in Paris.) We’ll meet in a hotel salon each evening to sample French wines and discuss the days’ events. For dinner, we’ll break into small groups, depending on participants’ desires; our leaders will help with reservations. No one will ever dine alone—unless you prefer solitude!
We’ll see several historic houses in Paris: the Nissim de Camondo, sited on the edge of the Parc Monceau, which was modeled on the Petite Trianon in Versailles; the Jacquemart-André, a beautiful Haussmann-era mansion with a notable art collection; and Impressionist Claude Monet’s most famous house and garden at Giverny.
One afternoon, we’ll wander over to find the Marquis de Lafayette’s grave, tucked away in a little-known private cemetery for aristocrats. Lafayette – who had close ties to Annapolis – is buried there in American soil, and an American flag flies over his grave.
Of course, we’ll also find time to visit the Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay, if you like, or the spectacularly ornate Palais Garnier Opera House. And no trip to Paris is complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower twinkle at night.
Our itinerary allows you lots of choices, as on many days you’ll choose between two offerings, depending on your interests. And if a week in Paris isn’t enough, there’s an optional 3-day extension as well.
Please note that, depending on weather, unexpected closings and other unforeseen events, we may amend the itinerary.
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Depart from home for your overnight flight to Paris.
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Arrive in Paris and taxi to the Hotel Relais Monceau. Since people will be arriving at different times, the afternoon is free. Some things we might suggest, depending on when you arrive: taking Metro to the Montparnasse outdoor art market; walking in the nearby Parc Monceau; visiting the Cité de l’Architecture Museum; or simply having lunch and exploring our neighborhood.
6:00 pm. Meet for wine and orientation in the hotel salon.
Monday, July 22 (Many museums are closed today.)
9:15am. Metro to the Louvre with Sheila to see many of its most famous masterpieces, including the Mona Lisa, David’s enormous painting of Napoleon’s coronation, the Winged Victory, the luxe Apollo Gallery with what’s left of the French crown jewels, the over-the-top state apartments of Emperor Napoleon III and much more – including, of course, I.M. Pei’s pyramid in the courtyard. We can have lunch at the Louvre or nearby, then walk over to stroll through the arcades of the Palais Royal and the covered Passage Vivienne, home to lovely shops and tea rooms.
10 am. Metro to the Opéra Garnier with Barbara to explore this Belle Époque masterpiece of architecture — the setting for the original Phantom of the Opera. You’ll have an audioguide to give you insights into the building’s deor and history. Afterwards, Metro to the Ile St. Louis, home to small shops and cafés and the famous Berthillon ice cream — plus splendid views of the Seine.
If you’re new to Paris, Barbara will also take you to visit Notre Dame Cathedral. You might also want to visit the Conciergerie, location of the cell where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned.
6:30 pm. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
7:30am. We leave early this morning to catch our train at Gare St. Lazare for the 45-minute train ride to the small town of Vernon, where Giverny, Monet’s home and garden, is located. With luck, we’ll beat the bus crowds. We’ll grab a quick lunch in Giverny, and then, back in Paris, we’ll take Metro to see Monet’s huge water lily paintings at the Orangerie. Then you might want to 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.
6:30 pm. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
9:45am. Walk with Sheila and Barbara to the beautiful and historic Nissim de Camondo house. Although built in 1911, it was styled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Its owner, Moise Camondo, assembled a spectacular collection of French decorative arts. Tragically, the entire Camondo family was killed at Auschwitz.
Afterwards, we’ll walk over to the Jacquemart-André, a Haussmann-era home and museum. We have lunch there (lunch on your own; they’re known for fabulous salads and desserts), and then spend some time in the house. There’s generally a special art exhibition there, but the subject hasn’t been announced as of this writing.
6:30 pm. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.
Afterwards, if you like, we can take the bus down to the Trocadero – our favorite viewing spot for seeing the Eiffel Tower twink at 10pm. You can have dinner in one of the many cafes there while waiting.
Thursday, July 25, 2019
9:45am. In two groups, we’ll take the bus to the Marais, the ancient Jewish quarter of Paris, now home to numerous cafes and boutiques. We’ll begin our visit with a walk through the Place des Vosges, one of the most iconic squares of Paris. From there you have many choices, depending on what interests you. You can visit the mid-1800s apartments of Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A short walk away are the Picasso Museum and the Shoah Memorial. There are cafes everywhere, though for many it’s traditional to eat falafel in the Marais. Here too are many enticing shops and galleries.
2:45pm. Meet back at the Place des Vosges to take the bus to the Cimitière de Picpus to visit Lafayette’s grave. He’s buried in a private cemetery founded by relatives of aristocrats who had been guillotined nearby during the French Revolution.
6:30pm. Meet for wine and conversation in the hotel salon.
Friday, July 26, 2019
8:45 am. Metro with Sheila to the Musée D’Orsay to see your favorite Impressionists and portraits of writers and artists in their ateliers, then walk through charming streets to St. Germain des Près for specialty shops in the decorative arts. We’ll stop in to see the oldest church in Paris. We might have a coffee or lunch at Deux Magots, frequented by Hemingway, Sartre and de Beauvoir, among others. Or some of us may settle in at the beautiful Ladurée tea room for lunch or a macaron and café crème.
9:15am. Metro with Barbara to the Cluny Museum, the museum of arts of the middle ages. Here, among other things, is the celebrated Lady with a Unicorn tapestry. The museum has recently re-opened after being closed for renovations. Afterwards, you’ll do the same as the group above: Walk through charming streets to St. Germain des Près for specialty shops in the decorative arts. We’ll stop in to see the oldest church in Paris. We might have a coffee or lunch at Deux Magots, frequented by Hemingway, Sartre and de Beauvoir, among others. Or some of us may settle in at the beautiful Ladurée tea room for lunch or a macaron and café crème.
6:30 pm. Group meets for wine in the hotel salon.
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Depart for home, or for your next adventure. Hotel check-out time is 11 am.
Optional Extension in Paris
July 27-30, 2019
$1475 per person, with no single supplement needed.
Saturday, July 27, 2019
9am. We depart this morning by Metro and bus to the town of Rueil to see Malmaison, the jewel of a chateau that was the private home of Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine. After their divorce, she continued to live there until her death. Josephine loved landscape and chose designers to help her create English-style gardens on the grounds. She also imported rare plants, and introduced a number of them – including magnolia, camellia, dahlia and hibiscus – to France for the first time.
Back in the city, we’ll take Metro or a bus to the Luxembourg Gardens, created in 1612 by Queen Marie de Medici. There are both French and English-style gardens here, as well as a reflecting basin (kids floating boats) and the famous Medici fountain.
Sunday, July 28, 2019
9:00am. We set off by train to the town of Versailles, where we’ll spend the day. We’ll have a timed English-language tour of the chateau, including the private apartments of Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Marie-Antoinette apartments (with our guide), and either the Royal Chapel or Opera House. You’ll also have time to wander the extensive gardens on your own, and you can have lunch in the gardens as well. Depending on your energy level, you can visit the Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s rustic “farm,” the Hameau de la Reine. We’ll reconvene at 5pm for the train ride back to Paris.
10:30am. If you’ve been to Versailles recently and would prefer to stay in Paris this day, we can visit two of city’s newest museums. First we’ll see the newly opened Yves St. Laurent museum, located on the premises of his former haute couture house. Then, after lunch, we’ll take the bus over to the Bois de Boulogne to spend time in the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the contemporary art museum designed by American architect Frank Gehry.
Monday, July 29, 2019
Today we go somewhere that is quite new to Paris: the Atelier des Lumières. Located in an old 19th century foundry, the enormous space has now been turned into an immersive art experience, in which paintings, choreographed perfectly to music, are projected on the walls and floors around you. Almost everyone who has been there calls it magical. We don’t yet know what the program will be, but past exhibits at their original location in Les Baux, Provence have included Picasso, Matisse, Klimt, Breughel and other masters.
You’ll have the afternoon free to do your last-minute shopping or catch any other sites you’ve wanted to visit. If you’re interested in high-end vintage clothes, scarves and handbags, we know where those are too.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Depart for home.
The price for the trip is $3400, with no single supplement needed.
Here’s what’s included:
- Six nights at the Hotel Relais Monceau
- Hot breakfast every morning, including bacon and eggs, with fresh squeezed orange juice
- Paris Navigo pass for Metro and buses
- Six-day skip-the-line museum pass good for about 60 museums in the city
- Wine socials every evening with the trip leaders
- Full set of Paris Metro maps by arrondissement
- Directions for how to get to all the significant places on the trip by Metro or bus from the hotel, and how to return – plus guidance on what to see and where to eat
What’s not included: lunches and dinners, transport to and from the airport, tickets to museums and attractions not covered by the museum pass, out-of-town train tickets, your flight to Paris and back home or anything else not listed under “What’s included.”
Price for the optional three-day extension is $1475. We’ll stay on for another three nights at the Hotel Relais Monceau, so you won’t have to re-pack.
How to Register for the Trip
First, be sure to read all the Frequently Asked Questions and Terms and Conditions. If you have more questions, you can contact either of the trip leaders:
You can reserve your place on the trip with a $575 deposit, payable by check, made out to Wild Blue Yonder (mail to 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 SCampbell@wildblueyonder.biz) and we’ll send you a PayPal invoice.
A Few Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What’s it like to travel with Historic Annapolis?
Here’s what some people on our 2018 trip to England said:
“Easiest trip ever. Loved the stay-in-one-place and do day trips mode. Loved the sites selected and the hotel. Leaders and hotel staff and drivers were excellent.”
“I’m so glad to have taken this trip with such wonderful people. I am rarely so comfortable in a group, and this was great. Thank you for a wonderful experience.”
“I enjoyed the camaraderie among all of us…this happens, I think, when everyone feels confident that they are being well cared for by the leaders….everything was planned well and all went smoothly…I felt very secure.”
Q. Who should come on this trip?
This is the perfect trip to take by yourself; you’ll make new friends and will always have people to do things with if you like. Or come with a friend or spouse or partner. You can spend time with each other and also have time to pursue your separate interests. The trip is also perfect for any small group that wants to travel together but doesn’t want the hassle of planning it all in advance.
Do note that we travel primarily by Paris Metro – and there are very few escalators and virtually no elevators in the Metro system. Sometimes there are long walks even in the Metro when changing stations. You should be able to negotiate stairs and walking on uneven pavement.
Q. Do I have to pay a single supplement?
No. This trip is priced based on each person having his or her own hotel room.
Q. I’m coming with a spouse or partner and we want to share a room. Do we both have to pay the full rate?
For people who share a room, we offer a discount of $150 each. We’ve priced the trip primarily for people to have their own rooms, because French hotel rooms just aren’t as large as those in the U.S. But of course you can share a room if you prefer.
Q. How many people will be on the trip?
The maximum number of people is 18, so you won’t feel like you’re part of a huge group – especially since there are two trip leaders to break us up into smaller sections.
Q. Why do you call this a “trip” and not a “tour”?
We’ve included the things we like best about group travel, including the convenience of having someone plan daily itineraries. But there are lots of things we dislike about tours, so here’s how this trip is different:
- You’ll never board a big tour bus (a city bus on your own, yes, but never a tour bus).
- You won’t be seated at long tables for big group meals at “We accept bus tours” restaurants.
- You won’t have early morning calls to leave the hotel (with the exception of the day we leave early for Giverny).
- On some days there’s a choice of two itineraries.
- You’ll pay only for the things you actually do. You won’t be dragged to places you don’t care about.
- You only unpack and pack once – we’re not touring, but staying in Paris to really get to know it well.
Q. Tell me about the trip leaders.
Barbara Wendell is an active member of Historic Annapolis and its Curator’s Circle; she’s a docent and garden volunteer at the Paca House. She has led group trips to England and South Africa for Politics & Prose, the large independent bookstore in Washington, DC. She’s traveled extensively both for pleasure and in her job as a focus group facilitator. As a facilitator, she is very experienced in working with groups.
Sheila Campbell of Wild Blue Yonder has been organizing informal groups of travelers for years – often on hiking trips in France, England, Italy and Spain. In her day-to-day work, she’s a group retreat leader who understands how to ensure everyone is involved and having a memorable experience. She lives in Washington, DC, where she was a docent at the National Gallery of Art for many years.
Q. What is the Hotel Relais Monceau like?
Most Americans, when they come to Paris, stay on the Left Bank. We love that area…except that it’s full of Americans. So we’ve chosen instead a typically French 3-star hotel in the 8th arrondissement, on the Right Bank. It’s in a beautiful neighborhood where there are few other hotels – but within a block or two are a street market, an artisanal bakery, delightful cafés, the Jacquemart André and Nissim de Camondo mansions and the Parc Monceau.
When you walk through the front doors of the hotel, there are quiet salons for you to relax in on either side, plus a small bar where they’ll open a bottle of wine for you and put your name on it for the next day if you like.
The bedrooms are simply furnished, but of a nice size by European standards. Windows open to the air, with classic French shutters to close at night for privacy and quiet. The bathrooms have double basins, plus a tub and shower and wooden floors. There’s a small dressing room area that can be closed off from both the bedroom and the hall, and most rooms have a hair dryer and mini-fridge.
We usually see few Americans at the hotel; most of the clientele are French or European. But the hotel staff speak English and are terrifically friendly and helpful.
Q. What’s included in the breakfast?
Like many French hotels, the Relais Monceau offers a wide selection of croissants, rolls and pastries, cheeses, cold cuts, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, cereal, French yogurt and so on. But – unlike many continental hotels — they also have scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage and fresh-squeezed orange juice every day. And, of course, coffee, tea, other juices, still or sparkling water and milk.
Q. Is there internet access at the hotel?
Yes, free wifi comes with your room.
Q. What will the weather be like?
It’s hard to predict these days. Usually July in Paris is much like New York’s weather, but not as hot. Several years ago, people were wearing fleece in July. Two years ago, August was cooler than July. Our advice is to come prepared for just about anything. Bring clothes suited for warm weather, an umbrella, a light jacket and – most important of all – very comfortable walking shoes.
Q. What to wear?
Like most cities these days, people wear just about anything during the day in Paris. Jeans are fine; shorts tend to be seen mostly on the young. At night, if you’re eating in neighborhood restaurants, you don’t need to dress up – jeans or casual slacks or skirts are fine. Of course, for any place where you need a reservation, you’ll want to dress appropriately. Typically, wearing white or pale-colored running shoes identifies you as an American tourist – but even the French are starting to choose comfort over style.
Q. Why aren’t lunches and dinners included in the price?
Restaurants that accept tour groups are usually the last places we want to eat. And there are just so many delicious choices for meals in Paris that we want everyone to be free to eat where and when they want. One day you might eat a sandwich for lunch, sitting out on the Champ de Mars, looking at the Eiffel Tower; or you might choose to browse the food stalls at one of the many street markets.
Alternatively, we often make lunch the biggest meal of the day, maybe even eating at a restaurant that would be too pricey at night. You’ll choose where you’ll eat, and with whom and how much you want to spend.
Q. I don’t speak French. Can you help me figure out what to eat?
Absolutely. We’ll provide a list of common menu terms, and let you know how to do things like ask for the check.
Q. Is it safe to walk around by myself at night?
As in any city, it makes sense to be aware of your surroundings after dark. But in Paris it’s usually quite safe to be out on your own or with a friend in the evenings. One reason we chose the Relais Monceau is that we love the neighborhood – and it feels like a real neighborhood. Within a block or two are artisanal bakeries, little bistros and cafés, a street market, and a Metro stop – plus the jewel of Paris parks, the Parc Monceau.
What you do have to watch out for in Paris is pickpockets in the areas where there are lots of tourists. They’re wily, so we recommend that you leave most of your money, credit cards and passport in the safe in your room, just taking with you what you need for one day. A handbag that you can sling over your shoulder and tuck high under your arm (with a good zipper) works better than bags with long straps that dangle below your waist. And remember not to sling your handbag over the back of a chair in a café; that makes a very tempting target.
Q. I’d love to come on this trip, but I already have a favorite hotel in Paris. Can I stay there?
Because we’ll be doing so much coordination from the Relais Monceau, and all our walking and transportation directions start there, we don’t think it’s practical to stay in another hotel. Plus, staying elsewhere would make getting to the evening wine and planning meetings difficult. Of course you can stay somewhere else, but the price of the trip wouldn’t change, so it wouldn’t be a good value.
Q. Some friends are going to be in Paris while I’m there. Can they come along with us?
Because we want to keep our groups small, we can’t invite your friends to come with us on our daily excursions. But you can bring them to our evening get-togethers. Please give us a day’s notice, and there’s a €10 per person charge for the wine and snacks.
Q. When do I need to sign up by?
The sooner you put down your deposit, the better. The Relais Monceau is a small hotel, and the rooms go quickly. We’re limiting the size of the group, so it’s best to reserve as soon as you think you’d like to come.
Q. I understand that Barbara and Sheila will always be available by phone, but what if I don’t have an international cell phone?
You can rent international phones at many major airports, or you might want to check in with your cell provider to see if you can buy an international calling package for the time you’re here. Of course, you’re not required to have a phone while in Paris; that’s up to you. If you bring a laptop, smartphone or iPad, you can always use Skype or What’s App over wifi; those are some of the least expensive ways to reach people.
Q. Do you require us to buy travel insurance?
We very strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance. Please read our Terms and Conditions carefully to see our cancellation policy. Be aware that trip insurance companies are very strict about what they will and won’t reimburse you for, so read their policies closely. If you’re on Medicare, remember that it doesn’t cover medical treatment outside of the U.S., so you’ll definitely want healthcare coverage.
Q. If I want to stay longer than six days, can you arrange that?
Yes. There’s so much to do in Paris that you could easily stay another three or four days. You can stay on at the hotel for $180 a night, although our trip will be over. Just let us know, and we’ll alert the hotel. That way, you won’t have to change rooms between our trip and your reservation for extra nights. And of course you can simply stay on for the optional extension.
Terms and Conditions
Please read this information carefully, as payment of a deposit represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.
Trip prices include hotel accommodations on a single or double occupancy basis, breakfast at the hotel, daily public transportation passes, evening social events to plan the next day’s activities, and the services of the trip leaders as outlined in the trip description.
Not included in the trip price are entrance fees to museums and other attractions not mentioned in the itinerary; airfare and airline baggage fees; lunches and dinners; hotel, restaurant or airport tips; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry or room service; internet wifi except as established in the trip description; airport transfers or any other services not specified in the trip description.
Please note that we cannot guarantee any special requests for hotel rooms.
Registration and Payment
A deposit of $575 per person confirms your reservation. Deposits may be paid by check made out to Wild Blue Yonder, Inc., or credit card via PayPal.
Your deposit is refundable for two weeks from the date it is received by Wild Blue Yonder. Two weeks after the receipt of the deposit by Wild Blue Yonder, deposits are not refundable for any reason and will be forfeited if you cancel your trip reservation. Cancellations must be made in writing by either letter to Wild Blue Yonder or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cancellations become effective on the date they are received by Wild Blue Yonder.
Once your reservation deposit has been paid, you’ll receive a confirmation email and further information to help you plan your trip.
We reserve the right to cancel any reservations that are not paid in full by the final payment due date. If you make your reservation after the final payment due date, payment in full will be required immediately.
Final payment is due April 19, 2019.
Cancellations and Refunds
For any cancellations made before April 3, you will forfeit your deposit but will be refunded any other payments you have made. If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your notification, which must be made in writing either by email or letter. No refunds are possible after April 19, as we will have paid our hotel and vendors at that point. Again, we stress: Please buy trip cancellation insurance.
Changes to Your Reservation
If you would like to stay on for longer than the official days of the trip, we will make reservations for you at the hotel. We will not charge you for any changes to your reservation before April 19. After that date, if you make any changes to your reservation, a $100 per person administrative fee will apply. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy, you will be charged the single occupancy rate.
You are responsible for securing your own passport, valid for at least six months after the completion of your trip. Please make sure there are at least two empty pages for visa stamps at Passport Control.
Health and Medical Issues
We welcome all travelers, but you must be in good health to participate in our trips. This trip requires a reasonable amount of walking – up to a mile, possibly uphill or on uneven pavements or cobblestone streets and streets without curb cuts. You must be able to climb several flights of stairs and board buses on your own. We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance if you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you, and you will have to incur the costs of taxis or other special transport.
If you are unable to navigate this amount of walking, you will not be able to participate fully in the trip, and we suggest you choose another type of trip. We cannot provide individual alternatives to the planned group activities. If your fitness level does not allow you to keep up with the group and/or travel on public transportation, you will be responsible for planning your own activities and for any additional costs incurred (for instance, but not limited to, personal taxis, train tickets, and entrance fees).
We strongly recommend that you purchase both trip cancellation insurance and traveler’s medical and evacuation insurance for your trip. Please note: Medicare is not valid outside of the United States.
Should you have to cancel your trip at the last minute, we cannot offer refunds, because we will have already paid the costs of your trip to our vendors.
Arrival and Departure Dates
It is your responsibility to make sure you arrive on the specified trip start date. We cannot refund part of your trip if you arrive late or leave early, unless you have notified us of your different start or end date by April 19, 2017.
The liability of Wild Blue Yonder and Historic Annapolis, individually or jointly (referred to hereafter as Trip Planners), is strictly limited. In no event will the Trip Planners be liable for amounts in excess of the amounts payable to the Trip Planners in accordance with the terms hereunder, nor will Trip Planners be liable for any consequential indirect or incidental damages arising from this agreement. Trip Planners purchase accommodations, transportation and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing trip arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility and liability for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents or representatives.
Trip Planners are not liable for injury, damage, death, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including but not limited to, without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, defects of any vehicle, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters or the negligence or default of any third party, nor for personal accidents.
In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the trip, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release Historic Annapolis, Wild Blue Yonder and their officers, employees, representatives or agents, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this trip, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for this trip, the participant agrees to all of the Terms and Conditions herein.
Trip Planners reserve the right to correct errors in advertised prices. We reserve the right to cancel an advertised trip, decline to accept a reservation or remove a person from a trip if it is determined by us to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general well-being of other trip participants. Should you be removed, you will not be entitled to any refund for unused or missed services or costs incurred as a result of termination of your travel arrangements, including, without limitation, return travel, accommodations, meals and incidentals.
We will make every effort to conduct our trip as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary and other changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will make every effort to select alternative accommodations of the same quality. The forgoing terms and conditions and all aspects of the relationship between Trip Planners and you shall be governed by the laws of the State of Maryland.
We love to read about the places we’re visiting, and we suspect you do too. Here are some books meant to enhance your travel experience. Although there may be some discussion of books in our evening salons, this is NOT required reading.
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowel. A humorous take on Lafayette’s participation in the American Revolution.
The Hare with the Amber Eyes: a Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal. A history of a wealthy Jewish family, much of the book is set in the Parc Monceau neighborhood of Paris a century ago (our neighborhood for the July Paris trip).
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David G. McCullough. The stories of many American artists, writers, architects and doctors who visited Paris in the 19th century.
Americans in Paris: Life and Death under Nazi Occupation by Charles Glass. The story of famous and not-so-famous Americans who elected to stay in Paris through the occupation.
Portraits of France by Robert Daley. A former news magazine writer explores fascinating corners of France and its history, some of it in Paris. A great read, even though it’s an older book.
La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life by Elaine Sciolino. The author, longtime Paris bureau chief for the New York Times, demonstrates how the concept of seduction underlies just about everything in France.
Parisians: an Adventure History of Paris by Graham Robb. A series of true stories about important people in Paris’s history – with details you’ve never heard before.
The Hemingses of Monticello: an American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed. Although this book is primarily about Thomas Jefferson’s relationship to Sally Hemings and her family, much of it is set in Paris.
Paris under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910 by Jeffrey Jackson. If you’re interested in civil engineering and the history of city administration, this is the book for you.
Memoir and Essays
My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme. Alas, we can’t visit the Paris of the ‘50s when Julia was there, but we can yearn.
The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City and L’Appart by David Lebovitz. American pastry chef moves to Paris and relates his adventures. You might also want to start following his excellent food blog.
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: a Pedestrian in Paris, by John Baxter. A literary tour guide reflects on his experiences in Paris.
A Moveable Feast: the Restored Edition by Ernest Hemingway. Sketches of Paris after World War I.
60 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong: Why We Love France But Not the French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow. A highly opinionated explanation of French culture.
Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull. A young Australian woman marries and moves to Paris – and learns how to navigate French culture.
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. New Yorker writer lives in Paris for five years and sends back dispatches on life there.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. A WWII novel about a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student; much of the book is set in Paris.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. A contemporary woman discovers a tragic story of the Holocaust linked to her Paris apartment.
Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherford. This long novel traces linked families through the history of Paris; the descriptions of the building of the Eiffel Tower are particularly interesting.
Murder in the Marais by Cara Black. This the first in her series of contemporary mysteries set in Paris.
Abundance: a Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund. Versailles was only a few miles outside of Paris, and this historical fiction is beautifully imagined.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley in the 20s.
Cousin Bette, by Honoré de Balzac. This tale of the contrast of poverty and wealth in the same family is a story of revenge, set in the life of early 19th century bourgeoisie.
The Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola. Zola tells the story of the very first department store in Paris as Haussmann rips up the medieval city and way of life and builds the Paris we know today.
The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement by Lindsey Tramuta. What’s changing in Paris.
Hungry for Paris: the Ultimate Guide to the City’s 102 Best Restaurants by Alec Lobrano. Lobrano reviews distinguished restaurants in Paris. His website has lots of recent reviews.
Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris by Clotilde Dusoulier. Advice on eating in Paris, from tea shops to markets and restaurants, by a French food blogger.
Paris Patisseries: History, Shops, Recipes edited by Ghislaine Bavoillot. A gorgeous picture book with stories and recipes from some of the best-known patisseries in the city.
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Wild Blue Yonder plans, organizes and leads group trips for bookstores, historic associations and other corporate and not-for-profit entities. All our trips are designed for the specific interests of the groups for whom we work.