Paris: A Stay in the City of Light
Explore at your own pace and let your interests be your guide as you explore the art, culture and joie de vivre of Paris during this special stay that showcases the City of Light in the tradition of lifelong learning.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
We really like the 'city break' concept. You get the best of both worlds: the study leaders (always excellent) and time on your own. And, as always with Smithsonian tours, wonderful travel companions.”
Previous Journeys Traveler
You can count on Smithsonian for quality and excellence. First class all the way!”
- Smithsonian Travelers Discover Machu Picchu's Sacred Spaces
- A Tailor-Made Journey to India and Nepal
- The Forbidden City: Official Spaces and Private Quarters
- Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Following the Spirits
Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.
Join us for a special city stay in Paris—the center of French history, culture, and art—and enjoy special tours and excursions and time at leisure.
- Flexible Schedule: Pack your time full of activities or enjoy a more leisurely pace—it’s your choice! Talks led by experts and special themed walking tours are complemented by time to pursue personal interests— solo or with new travel friends. Plus, your resident director is always available to advise on other activities so you’ll feel like a Parisian in no time!
- Live Like a Parisian: Settle into the modern Adagio Paris Opera apart/hotel, located in a historic and bustling neighborhood. Plus, your Paris museum and metro passes provide easy access to the city’s treasures.
- Walking Tours: Enjoy walking tours featuring the Marais, Latin Quarter, and Champs-Élysées, and a special cruise along the Seine, all of which provide a deeper appreciation of Paris.
- Day Excursions: Go beyond Paris to the Palace of Versailles, the Burgundian town of Dijon, and Rouen, the capital of Normandy on special day excursions.
Day 1 — Depart the U.S.
Depart the U.S. on an overnight transatlantic flight to Paris, France.
Day 2 — Paris, France
After an early morning flight arrival, clear brief formalities then transfer to the Adagio Opera apartment-hotel. Your Paris home-away-from-home is a comfortable studio apartment with a fully equipped kitchenette located near the Paris Opera Garnier, Metro, railway stations, and many interesting city highlights. Meet with your Travel Director, who will be available throughout your trip to assist with independent sightseeing arrangements, dinner or shopping suggestions, or other “concierge” services you may require. Attend a group Welcome Briefing that will acquaint you with the Paris Metro System and answer questions you might have. Following the briefing, depart for an orientation walk of your new neighborhood. Bienvenue a Paris! This evening Smithsonian Journeys Travelers will gather for a Welcome Reception and Dinner at a favored local restaurant. (D)
Day 3 — Paris
Breakfast at the hotel is included each morning during your stay in Paris. The day starts with a cruise on the Seine River. UNESCO has designated the banks of the Seine as a World Heritage site. On this remarkable river you’ll see the Grand Palace, Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower as you sail under the famous bridges of Paris, such as the Pont Neuf. This afternoon, you’re invited to attend a talk focusing on the History of Paris. This evening, sit down to dinner at a local restaurant with fellow Smithsonian Journeys Travelers. (B,D)
Day 4 — Paris
This morning, travel with local Parisians on a short metro ride to the Marais neighborhood, where you’ll meet a local expert for a guided walking tour of this historic district. Explore the heart of the artistic and cultural life of Paris in this intimate neighborhood known for its historically large Jewish community. Marais translates to “marsh,” but this neighborhood is much more elegant than its name suggests. This afternoon is at leisure to pursue personal interests. In late afternoon, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an in-depth presentation. Afterward, get together in the Smithsonian Travelers' Corner for some lively conversation and discussion.
Day 5 — Paris
Today, go beyond the borders of Paris and take a train ride to visit the Palace of Versailles. Visit the opulent Grand Apartments, the stunning chandelier-lit Hall of Mirrors, and the Queen's Apartments, while discovering illuminating details of courtly life in the palace. Take time to discover the remarkable formal gardens. We’ve included an audio headset so that you can explore independently and at your own pace. Return to Paris by local rail service. This afternoon you’re invited to attend an engaging lecture on the treasures of the d’Orsay Museum. (B)
Day 6 — Paris
Today is free of planned activities. See your Travel Director who can assist with planning your day. It might be fun to take in a Paris market or find a spot to enjoy life and people-watch near the Luxembourg Gardens. Later in the afternoon take in a lecture on the Treasures of the Louvre Museum. This evening Smithsonian Journeys Travelers will get together for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 7 — Paris
Today is at leisure so you can follow your own path and explore on your own. Your Travel Director will be on hand to assist with planning your day. In late afternoon, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an engaging talk. Afterward, get together in the Smithsonian Travelers' Corner for an exchange of ideas and some lively conversation. (B)
Day 8 — Paris
Travel at 200 miles per hour aboard France’s TGV high-speed train to the city of Dijon in Burgundy. An expert guide will introduce you to the historic city center and to the sights and heritage of this charming city. Luncheon will be served at the famous Hotel Particulier. There’s time to explore on your own before boarding the TGV for the trip back to Paris. (B,L)
Day 9 — Paris
Today, journey in comfort aboard a regional train as we travel to the historic town of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. An expert guide will meet the train and lead us to the landmark the Gros Horloge. Continue to see the Rouen Cathedral of Notre Dame made famous by Monet in his studies of color and light. Hear the haunting story of heroic Joan of Arc, before returning to Paris by rail. (B)
Day 10 — Paris
The French Revolution is the focus of a guided walking tour of the Latin Quarter. See where revolutionaries lived and met in the oldest cafe in Paris, and the hall where Danton and the radical Cordelier’s Club held their debates. Learn the back-story of Dr. Guillotin’s sinister “razor” and that of Marat, stabbed in his bath by Charlotte Corday. In late afternoon, you’re invited to attend an informal talk focusing on Contemporary France. (B)
Day 11 — Paris
An escorted walking tour detailing the history of Paris under German Occupation is scheduled. Learn how the Parisians survived the dark years of the occupation from 1940-44 on this walk in the area of the Champs Elysées. Hear the stories of daily life, the Gestapo, the Resistance and the Liberation. See the traces of the last street battle on Rue de Rivoli and the Hotel Meurice where General Von Choltitz surrendered the German forces. See the Jeu de Paume Museum, where Rose Valland's heroic endeavors saved priceless artworks from Nazi plunder. The remainder of the day is free of planned activities to continue your exploration of Paris. Tonight gather with fellow Smithsonian Journeys Travelers for a Farewell Reception and Dinner at a favorite Parisian restaurant. (B,D)
Day 12 – Depart for the U.S.
Depart the hotel and transfer to the Charles de Gaulle Airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)