Paris Itinerary

9 Days in Paris, France

September 22 – 30, 2020 (trip canceled)

louvre_night

Daily Itinerary Description

Day 1:  Bienvenue!  Welcome to Paris, France, “The City of Lights.” A private chauffeur will collect you from the airport and drive you to your private apartment in Paris’ oldest, and formerly aristocratic, neighborhood known as the Marais.  Once there, you will be personally greeted & welcomed by a member of your apartment staff.  Enjoy a special welcome lunch at an iconic Parisian bistro dating from 1912.  Undoubtedly offering the most beautiful and authentic bistro décor, it is also the only Parisian bistro to have a Michelin star.  The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to unwind and settle in at your own pace.  A fun way to sight-see and monument-hop is with the Big Bus Paris (hop on/hop off open bus tour) ~ this is an excellent “opener” to the city, and is relaxing enough to be enjoyed on your very first day ~ the upper deck is recommended for its sweeping views of Paris, putting you at the level of the beautiful buildings and trees, and conveniently shielded from cars & traffic.  The entire circuit takes 2 hours and 20 minutes, and will help to orient you to the city layout.  Your ticket is valid for two consecutive days of unlimited use starting the day you board the bus; you are provided with your own set of disposable earplugs.  Free afternoon & evening.  Tuesday, September 22 (L)

Day 2:  Neighborhood Walk + Private Louvre Museum Tour.  Get to know your neighborhood during a privately guided walking tour of the most unspoiled historic quarter of Paris.  Witness beautiful architecture from picturesque medieval streets to elegant classical mansions with graceful courtyards and gardens, and the imposing architecture of the lovely royal Place des Vosges.  Learn about some Jewish history, hear stories of the celebrated inhabitants such as Victor Hugo, who collected material for Les Misérables while he lived here, along with Madame de Sevigné, who wrote witty letters with gossip about her contemporaries.  Enjoy a half day to savor Paris as you wish or delight in downtime.  Late afternoon, relish a 2-hour privately guided tour highlighting the fabulous collections of the Musée du Louvre.  Witness how the building evolved from a mighty castle to the main palace of the kings of France, to the marvelous museum it is today with its splendid modern glass pyramid.  You will be led through the vast and beautiful building to see world famous masterpieces of sculpture, painting, objets d’art, jewelry, and some splendidly decorated rooms.  The tour includes such highlights as the Venus de Milo, the newly restored Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Sphinx, the crown Jewels, masterpieces of French and Italian painting, and of course, the Mona Lisa.  Dine together this evening at Le Fumoir, the trendy ‘smoking lounge’, known as much for its sophisticated worn-in elegance and 1940s art deco style as for the seasonal dishes made in house.  Free half day.  Wednesday, September 23 (D)

Day 3:  Outdoor Market, Dinner Party with Karen.  Explore on your own the Marché Bastille, one of the largest comprehensive outdoor markets in Paris, where you will find a tremendous array of delicious fare at the market, including abundant fish, cheese, meats, and exquisiteproduce.  If you wish, you may join me as I purchase from among the finest delicacies in Europe for our cooking dinner.  Savor apicnic lunch at the beautiful Place des Vosges, Paris’ oldest square, if desired.  Originally known as the Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built by Henri IV from 1605 to 1612.  A true square, it embodied the first European program of royal city planning.  Meet at the main apartment tonight for a dinner party led by Chef Karen.  Please note:Dinner includes a 3-course menu with a glass of wine as a starter and one paired with the main dish.  If you wish to have more wine or other beverage, you are welcome to BYOB.  Free full day.  Thursday, September 24 (L, D)

Day 4:  A Day of Bubbly. A full day outing in a private air-conditioned minivan awaits you today to discover the region of Champagne.  Begin the journey in the city of Reims, capital of the Champagne region.  Delight in a 2-hour privately guided tour at a prestigious, and the oldest, Champagne house, exclusively producing champagne since 1729.  The entire Champagne region of France has recently been added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, but this House has been enjoying being classified as an historic natural monument since 1931.  Today, the company is co-owner of the largest luxury goods group in the world, Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), and holds a Royal Warrant to supply champagne to Queen Elizabeth II of England.  An ambassador of the house will accompany us on a journey to explore the history of the reputed house of Ruinart, as well as the process of the champagne making.  Complete the tour with a comparative tasting between a premium non-vintage vintage and a prestige vintage, highlighting the importance of aging, as well as the difference between vintage and non-vintage.  Before leaving the city of Reims, behold the impressive Notre Dame de Reims Cathedral, the gothic splendor where many French kings have been crowned.  Take a scenic drive down into the Marne Valley to the charming village of Avize in the heart of the “Côte des Blancs” area renowned since the 18thcentury for its balanced wines, classified as Grand Cru. Savor lunch at an exquisite magnificently renovated neo-classical mansion on the Jacques Selosse estate in Champagne where the chef prepares menus for up to only twenty people in an intimate setting, akin to dining in a family house.  Succumb to the inspiration of the chef, as there is no pre-set menu.  The daily menu is full of intuition and character, emphasizing local produce, ingenuity and sourcing from producers. Following lunch, make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Dom Pierre Pérignon, housed in the abbey church of the quaint, picturesque floral village of Hautvillers.  Conclude your visit to the region with at a small family estate, grower-producer in the tiny village of Romery, established in 1929.  I came to know about this estate through my father-in-law who regularly placed orders by the case for the non-vintage Brut Rosé, which would flow generously at every family gathering, not just celebratory events, such as weddings, but also at birthdays, holiday dinners, and average run-of-the-mill dinner parties with friends.  The visit includes tasting of both the Blanc des Blancs and the beloved Brut Rosé.   Please note:  Lunch includes a 3-course menu and coffee; alcoholic beverages not included (you are welcome to order wine or champagne at your own cost.) Please bring a sweater or light jacket, as the chalk cellars are quite cool.  Sturdy walking shoes recommended, as is a bottle of water and snacks for the 2-hour van ride.  Friday, September 25 (L)

Day 5:   Bakery Tour + Tasting … Historical Chocolate Walking +Tasting TourTravel together across town to discover the inner workings of a traditional French bakery located in the Montparnasse district of the 14th arrondissement. During a 1-hour privately guided tour& tasting, the boulanger, master baker, will invite you into the kitchen – into the heart of the boulangerie to share with you his most treasured baguette recipe, 100% natural and traditional, passed down through generations.  The baguette is at the heart of French daily life, and our master baker has his own special signature, which makes his baguette unique; all of its secrets will be revealed to you, from the mixing of the dough, the kneading, the shaping, the decorating, and the baking of the baguette in special baguette ovens.  Baguettes are not the only specialty; he was recently awarded the second prize in the Meilleur Croissant au Beurre d’Isigny AOP (the best croissant competition in France where the bakers use only premium AOP butter from Normandy).  Conclude the tour with a warm croissant and baguette to go. Later this afternoon, delight in a 2-hour privately guided chocolate walking tour this afternoon. Find out about the history of chocolate, and how Paris became the capital of dark chocolate.  Visit a variety of superb chocolatiers (master chocolate makers) on this enjoyable walk, mixing history and intriguing anecdotes with chocolate tastings.  Learn to select, taste, and appreciate quality chocolate.  This tour will give you some good ideas, and introduce you to some secret addresses.  Please bring a small bottle of water to sip between chocolate tastings.  Saturday, September 26

Day 6:  Private Impressionist Museum Tour.  This morning, relish a 2-hour privately guided tour of the Musée d’Orsay.  Enjoy and understand this particularly rich period of French art, with historical background and the human stories of famous artists.  You will see elegant portraits and nudes from the Second Empire, which can be compared to the works of the Realists and Impressionists who rejected this style to paint views of modern life.  Understand why these beautiful Impressionist works were ridiculed in their day, and how artists such as Van Gogh and Gauguin paved the way for modern art.  You will see masterpieces by Renoir, Monet and Manet, but also Rodin’s sculptures and the fascinating model of the Paris Opera House.  Free afternoon + evening.  Sunday, September 27

Day 7:  Private Dinner with French Chef in Parisian Home.  Savor a leisurely morning, and a full free day to explore Paris as you wish.  Tonight, enjoy a rare opportunity to savor a gourmet meal prepared by a French chef in the home of a native Parisian.  Your hostess Véronique, born and raised in St. Germain des Près, will give insight into Parisian life, displaying the art of entertaining and finetable decoration.  Her home is located in a chic neighborhood of Paris.  An esteemed French chef will prepare a traditional 4-course gourmet meal, which will delight your eye and palate.  Please note:  Dinner includes appetizers with champagne, 4-course menu with 2 glasses of wine, followed by coffee, if desired.  Should you wish you enjoy more wine with your meal, you are welcome to BYOB.  Free half day.  Monday, September 28 (D)

Day 8:  Monet’s House + Gardens.   Savor the morning as you wish.  Travel by train this afternoon to the Norman town of Vernon, and catch the shuttle to the village of Giverny to discover Monet’s House & Gardens Delight in a 1.25-hour privately guided tour beginning outside in Monet’s gardens, crossing the Japanese bridge that was painted over several days at different times, and stroll around the pond of celebrated water lilies that inspired the master of Impressionism.  Visit the Clos normand, the gorgeous blooming flower garden, and discover how Monet himself designed it by applying his skills for painting to gardening.  Monet’s house is exactly as it was during his time, with the studio-sitting room, the bedrooms of Claude and Alice, the yellow dining room with its surprising collection of Japanese woodblocks, and the kitchen decorated with blue tiles.  Learn how Monet transformed the home into his own style.  Details about Monet’s family life in this very place will enable you to step back into the 19th century.  Please note:  Due to limited space inside the house, our guide is unable to accompany us inside Monet’s home; explanations will be given outside, then we will visit the house on our own.  Following the visit of the house, you will have a half-hour of free time to linger in the gardens, explore the gift shop, or wander the tiny hamlet.  Return to Paris by train, arriving Gare St. Lazare at 7:45PM.  Free half day.  Tuesday, September 29

Day 9: “Au Revoir”  Your private pre-reserved chauffeur will collect you to take you to the airport or train station.  As they say in French, “Bon retour et Merci” (“Have a good return and THANK YOU!”) Tour concludes Wednesday, September 30.

Note:  Free time is incorporated into the itinerary so that you may enjoy Paris at your own pace.  “Free half day” is defined as a minimum of 5 hours on your own; “Free full day” is defined as a minimum of 8 hours on your own.  “Free evening” means you are on your own after 6:00pm.

For more information & photos, visit Paris trip details & photo gallery