France in the Footsteps of Jefferson: Paris and Provence
EVENTS > STUDY TRIPS ABROAD
STUDY TRIP ABROAD
September 9–17 & 20–28, 2023
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: JEFFERSON IN BURGUNDY
September 17–20, 2023
France’s natural beauty, iconic landmarks, and staggering cultural repertoire come into focus through the lens of Thomas Jefferson, one of the original Americans in Paris. Through his 1787 travelog, Jefferson shared his passion for French architecture, art, horticulture, philosophy, science, and wine, making him the perfect tour guide. Informed by the expertise and input of Susan Stein, Trust Governor and Monticello’s Senior Curator, Special Projects, we invite you to fall in love with France as Jefferson did by exploring splendid châteaux, ancient Roman ruins, bucolic wineries, and endless culinary delights from Paris to Provence.
“[S]o ask the traveled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live?—certainly in my own. where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and recollections of my life.—Which would be your second choice?—France.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1821
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September 9 and 20
Gathering in Paris at the stately Regina Hotel, located a stone’s throw from the Louvre, we convene in the early afternoon for an introductory lecture before setting off on an orientation walking tour. We stroll across the nearby Tuileries Gardens to the Palais de la Légion D’Honneur, formerly the Hôtel de Salm, admired by Jefferson and the basis for his redesign of Monticello. We continue to the Panthéon, architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot’s answer to Louis XV’s request to glorify the monarchy in the form of a church. We examine the Neoclassical Odéon Théâtre frequented by Jefferson and the Luxembourg Palace with lovely formal gardens. Our walk concludes at the Abbaye Royale de Panthemont, a former convent and prestigious educational institution where Jefferson’s daughters, Martha and Mary, enrolled as students. Our day concludes with a welcome dinner at the historic Drouant, a landmark restaurant founded in 1880.
September 10 and 21
We depart the hotel for a short stroll to the Louvre, where we take a focused look at the 18th-century artists Jefferson praised, including David, Houdon, and Robert. We then tour the Hôtel de la Marine, one of a magnificent pair of Neoclassical colonnaded mansions at the Place de la Concorde designed by Jacques-Ange Gabriel in the 1760s. After a light lunch, we depart for the Place des Vosges and the nearby Musée Carnavalet, dedicated to the history of the city and located in two beautifully restored hôtels particuliers. In the evening we are hosted for a reception at a private 18th-century apartment, once the home of Paul Henri Thiery, Baron d’Holbach, who was at the center of the radical wing of philosophers studied by Jefferson.
Included: B, L, R
September 11 and 22
East of Paris, the fanciful garden folly Le Désert de Retz was created by aristocrat François Racine de Monville in 1774. Jefferson admired the unusual picturesque structures, in particular the Broken Column, a six-story house disguised as a monumental column ruin. We continue to Château Malmaison, the country retreat favored by Empress Josephine, who furnished the château and created the magnificent gardens. An informal lunch follows at the privately owned Château de la Petite Malmaison, where the current owner shares his ongoing conservation efforts. Venturing back to Paris, we marvel at the important 18th-century French decorative arts housed at the Musée Nissim de Camondo on Parc Monceau. In the evening, we visit the Hôtel de Pontalba, the American ambassador’s residence, before enjoying dinner at Le Procope, a gathering place for intellectuals since 1689.
Included: B, L, D
September 12 and 23
A morning ride westward brings us to Louis XIV’s grand pleasure palace, Versailles. En route, we enjoy the vestiges of the elaborate grounds of Château de Marly as well as the Municipal Library where Jefferson met with the Comte de Vergennes. At Versailles, our bespoke experience focuses on spaces connected with Jefferson’s royal audiences while serving as Minister to the court of Louis XVI from 1785 to 1789. After a light lunch at Ore, we enjoy stops at Marie Antoinette’s retreat, Le Petit Trianon, and the picturesque Queen’s Hamlet. Our day concludes with an exceptional dinner at Le Grand Véfour in the Palais Royal.
Included: B, L, D
September 13 and 24
A morning train from Gare de Lyon permits a midday arrival in Marseille, our headquarters for the second half of the program, where we reside at the luxurious Hôtel Dieu, an 18th-century building with panoramic views over the Vieux-Port. We board a boat for the short ride to the 16th-century fortress island containing Château d’If, made famous by Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo. Returning to the mainland, we head to Château Borély, an 18th-century summer residence designed by architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau, who helped Jefferson with his plans for the Virginia State Capitol. The château contains a decorative arts museum with a splendid collection of ceramics. A delectable dinner is served in a private room at the hotel, allowing us to admire the perspective overlooking the harbor.
Included: B, L, D
September 14 and 25
A region admired by Jefferson for its reminders of Greek and Roman occupation, Glanum includes a magnificent mausoleum and triumphal arch. In nearby St. Rémy, we are invited for lunch at a beautiful private estate. Continuing to Arles, one of Provence’s most fascinating cultural centers, the Musée Arlaten is housed in a 15th-century hôtel particulier with a collection focused on local history and decorative arts. Before returning to Marseille for an independent evening, we stop for some refreshment in the Place du Forum and admire the impressive remains of the ancient amphitheater.
Included: B, L
September 15 and 26
Our outing is devoted to exploring what Jefferson called the “remains of Roman grandeur.” The Triumphal Arch and the Theatre in Orange are two of the finest Roman monuments in Provence. Building on this theme, we pilgrimage to Nîmes and soak in a spectacular view of the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple built by Augustus in 20 BC, during lunch atop the Carrée D’Art. Considered the best-preserved Roman building in existence, the Maison Carrée inspired Jefferson’s design for the Virginia State Capitol. We also visit the striking new Musée de la Romanité, which contains the Bronze askos that Jefferson copied in silver and used to serve hot chocolate at Monticello. We close the afternoon with a drive to the Pont du Gard, the famous three-tiered Roman aqueduct spanning the Gardon River, which was an essential stop on the Grand Tour. A reception and dinner follow at a magnificent private house in Chimes de Poulx.
Included: B, L, R, D
September 16 and 27
We venture to Aix-en-Provence, an early Roman settlement that grew at the site of natural thermal springs. Aix became the capital of Provence and was an important center during the Age of Enlightenment. Walking through Vieux Aix, the ancient city center, we visit Saint Saveur, built on the site of a Roman forum, with the ancient columns incorporated into the baptistery. We continue to admire the 17th-century architecture in the Place Hôtel de Ville, reaching the Cour Mirabeau, an elegant tree-lined thoroughfare that Jefferson admired. At the renowned Musée Granet, we focus on a selection of French masterpieces by Gerard, Ingres, and David. The stunning, newly restored Hôtel de Caumont, a splendid 18th-century hôtel particulier, was originally conceived by Robert de Cotte, the chief architect for King Louis XIV. We indulge in lunch at Villa La Coste, a winery and cultural destination set amidst an art-packed landscape. Returning to Marseille, we conclude our travels with a special farewell dinner celebrating Jefferson and France.
Included: B, L, D
September 17 and 28
Continue to Burgundy for the Optional Extension or transfer to the Marseille or Nice airports or by train from Avignon to Charles de Gaulle for stateside returns.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: JEFFERSON IN BURGUNDY
Charting a northward course from Provence, we continue to Lyon, where our base of operations for the extension is the elegant Cour des Loges. One of the great cultural centers of France, Lyon was founded by the Romans in 43 BC. We enjoy a walking tour of the narrow cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon, the marvelous Renaissance quarter, and a visit to the Musée des Beaux Arts, once a Benedictine convent, with masterpieces by Fragonard, Boucher, and Robert, along with sculpture and decorative art. Returning to the hotel, we enjoy dinner in a private room.
Included: L, D
Our morning excursion opens with the Théâtre Romain de Lyon, an important archaeological site containing the Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine, which exhibits artifacts from throughout the Rhône-Alpes region, including the Claudius Tablet, the fragmented record of a speech given by Emperor Claudius to the Roman Senate. Following a restorative lunch at a typical Lyonnais bouchon, we visit a silk workshop where weavers still produce the city’s famous fabrics on historical looms. After taking advantage of some free time in the afternoon, we venture to Vienne for dinner at La Pyramide and to pay homage to a Roman temple that demanded Jefferson’s attention.
Included: B, L, D
Continuing our progression north, we pass by many of the towns and landscapes that Jefferson noted in journals and letters. We pause in Tournus to see the remarkable Romanesque church of St. Philibert. Reaching the wonderful town of Beaune, we visit the Hôtel-Dieu, whose refectory holds one of the masterpieces by the great Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden. Delving into the famous vineyards that captured Jefferson’s attention, we revel in a special visit, lunch, and wine tasting (with reference to Jefferson’s favored varietals) at the venerable Clos de Vougeot, the largest and perhaps most-celebrated grand cru site in the Côte de Nuits region. When Jefferson visited, the château was still the property of Cistercian monks.
We then travel to the splendid royal residence and hunting lodge of Château Fontainebleau, a favorite among French kings since the 11th century. At the day’s end, members who participated in the first tour head for an overnight stay at the Pullman Hotel at Charles de Gaulle, while those staying on for the second tour continue to Paris and the Regina Hotel.
Included: B, L
First tour guests depart on stateside flights from Charles de Gaulle. Second tour participants enjoy an independent morning before convening after lunch.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
Land Arrangement Cost: For the main tour, $8,900 per person, based on double occupancy for 8 nights. For the extension, $2,925 per person, based on double occupancy for 3 nights.
Included in Trip Cost: For the main tour, hotel accommodations in 5-star hotels, 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 2 receptions, and 6 dinners. For the extension, hotel accommodations in 4- and 5-star hotels, 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners. Private coach transportation, local guides, admission in museums, historic houses, and gardens, gratuities for professional guides and coach drivers, and porterage.
Not Included in the Trip Cost: Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included. Transatlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation of your registration from the Trust.
Reservations: A deposit of $2,500 per person for the main tour and $1,000 per person for the extension is required at time of registration. You will receive written confirmation from the Decorative Arts Trust when we receive your registration and deposit.
Single Supplement: The single supplement is $1,550 for the main tour and $525 for the extension, to be paid with the final balance.
Final Payment: Will be due by May 31, 2023.
Membership: Membership at the Sponsor level is required for participation in Study Trips Abroad. Your membership contribution is tax-deductible. If an increase in your membership level is necessary, the Trust will invoice you for the appropriate level upgrade with your final payment.
Contribution: A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for Study Trips Abroad. This gift is fully tax deductible and helps support the Trust’s mission and programs.
Itinerary: The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted at this time but subject to change as necessary. The itinerary is strenuous and requires a significant amount of standing and walking.
Participation: The trip is limited to a maximum of 25 members and requires a minimum of 15. The trip will be canceled if under-subscribed, and deposits will be refunded. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required. Participants should be prepared to test and wear masks when requested.
Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to the Decorative Arts Trust. All cancellations are subject to a $500 administrative fee per person. Deposits are non-refundable after March 31, 2023. Cancellations arriving by June 16, 2023, will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations arriving by July 21, 2023, will receive a 25% refund. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after July 21, 2023. THE TRUST STRONGLY ENCOURAGES ALL PARTICIPANTS TO PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE TO PROTECT AGAINST CANCELLATIONS DUE TO ILLNESS, INJURY, AND DISRUPTIONS CAUSED BY THE PANDEMIC.