A pioneering celebrity and fashionista, Marie-Antoinette created her own style that despite her tragic fate still influences the French art de vivre. Discover Marie Antoinette’s France and walk in her footsteps through 18th century Paris and Versailles.
On this historic adventure you’ll learn more than you ever thought possible about Marie Antoinette, and she will come alive for you. From our hotel in the fashionable Marais we will discover restaurants, cafés and shops fit for a queen. A special outing to the Palais Royal reveals where Rose Bertin, her famed courturier designed her trendsetting dresses. In the Marais you’ll dine on the most beautiful square in Paris dating back to the 17th century.
We will discover the jewel box museums that hold the secrets of how one lived in the eighteenth century: unique collections of furniture, porcelains and jewelry that reveal the luxuries so essential to life at court and in the city. We then turn to Revolutionary Paris, tracing the queen’s final years that led to her tragic destiny.
After viewing a little known not-open-to-the-public chateau where the queen enjoyed illicit gambling parties with her brother-in-law, we will visit the surrounding rose gardens, the queen’s favorite flower. The roses should be in full bloom during our trip.
We’ll then head out to Versailles where we’ll stay in pure luxury for 2 glorious nights. We tour the public apartments at the chateau and then retreat to her private, exquisitely furnished getaway at the Petit Trianon. We visit the gardens she designed, including her fake village, or Hameau, where she enjoyed pleasures of motherhood and entertained her closest friends, dashing admirers and a secret lover. Our trip will conclude with a fireworks display dedicated to the queen!
Don’t worry, along the way we’ll be indulging in some of the queen’s favorite pastimes: pastry-tasting, and perfume making plus we’ll be dining at some spectacular restaurants in Paris and Versailles ranging from bistro to Michelin star plus a champagne tasting, of course! This is your moment to be French queen… seize it!
Your Trip Leader
Leading you in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette, will be the scholar, educator and nationally-certified tour guide, Susan Taylor-Leduc, PhD. Susan has been teaching art history in Paris for over 25 years, and is a specialist of the gardens at Versailles. Her book, Marie-Antoinette’s Legacy: The Politics of French Garden Patronage and Picturesque Design, 1775-1867 is forthcoming with Amsterdam University Press. Suffice to say, she knows more about Paris, it’s gardens and Marie Antoinette than anyone you’ll ever meet. But most importantly, she’s an absolute delight to be with! You will love your time with her.
Arrive into Paris at your leisure and check into the Hotel de Jobo – our fun and beautiful hotel in the heart of the Marais district. (If you’d like to arrive in Paris a day or two earlier to get over your jetlag or just do some exploring on your own, let us know and we can secure your room at the hotel a day or two earlier).
This evening, in the courtyard of the hotel, we meet up to enjoy some champagne, get to know one another and learn a bit about Marie Antoinette.
Afterward our champagne, we will enjoy a stroll through the Marais and a lovely dinner at one of our favorite local bistros, Le Temps des Cerises.
In the morning we will explore le Palais Royal: in the eighteenth-century the gardens and the surrounding arcades were the center for fashion, theater and a new meeting place: the restaurant! The queen was a frequent visitor and loved learning about the latest fashions.
We will then head back to the Marais, the most historic and hip area of Paris, where we will lunch at the Le Bontemps a charming café restaurant that’s cozy chic, but we will leave room for desert as afterwards our tour will continue with a visit to the chocolatier Jacques Genin as well as the incomparable perfume store Buly. We will also visit the museum Cognac Jay which is a real treasure.
After a little rest at hotel, or more exploring and shopping we will walk to the nearby Seine where we will dine at Chez Julien with a view of Notre Dame.
HOTEL: Hotel de Jobo
Today we will visit the gardens of Paris. First stop will be the stunning Bagatelle Gardens which were constructed in 64 days after a wager between Marie Antoinette and her brother-in-law. We will have a private expert guide for the gardens and who does the flowers for the American Embassy and is a rose judge at Bagatelle. Lucky for us we’ll be visiting during rose season! She is one of the few people who can show us the Bagatelle Chateau, normally off limits to visitors. This special visit will be followed by a light lunch in the chateau’s restaurant.
After lunch, we will take a short tour of the Parc Monceau, a garden built by Marie-Antoinette’s cousin, that she visited, before exploring the elegant Nissim de Camando Museum with its exceptional collection of eighteenth-century furniture and decorative arts
For dinner tonight, we’ll enjoy a hearty and satisfying meal at a true delight of a restaurant near our hotel, Robert et Louise specializing in steak.
HOTEL : Hotel de Jobo
Unlike Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette was forced to drive to the guillotine in an open carriage. We will trace her fateful steps, from the Conciergerie on the Ile de la Cité to what was then the Place de la Revolution and today is the Place de la Concorde. Here we will visit the Hôtel de la Marine, with its magnificent views and restored eighteenth-century interiors.
We will lunch at the fashionable Ladurée, the pastry store that made macaroons famous and has wonderful savory bites for lunch.
Afterwards we can break up into two groups, the shoppers (true to Marie Antoinette’s heart) will visit the grand magasins (department stores) of Printemps and Galeries Laffayette and the historians will go with Susan to visit the Chapelle Expiatoire which is dedicated to Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI.
Tonight, we will dine on the lovely terrace of the MAD Decorative Arts Museum at its coveted restaurant Lou Lou in the famed Tuilerie Gardens complete with a view of the Louvre.
This morning we will leave for Versailles. It’s a short 1-hour drive so we plan to arrive for a 10am visit of the private rooms of the King and Queen led by the able hands of Susan. We will have lunch at the Petit Park on the grounds before checking in to our luxurious hotel Trianon where we will have some free time to enjoy the spa and beautiful grounds. One treatment included.
At 7:30 we will meet for a champagne tasting before dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant.
HOTEL: Trianon Palace
Today we will visit the Petit Trianon, an elegant neo-classical building that the queen redecorated as her private residence. She was so intent to have a ‘private’ retreat she even built moving mirrored walls to prevent the curious from looking inside! We then stroll through her private English garden gardens to the Hameau, her fake village where performed comic operas.
We will have a light lunch Angelina’s.
In the afternoon we will visit the Osmotheque to explore the perfume history of France. After some free time for the spa we will meet for a wonderful dinner at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in the palace of Versailles capped off with a magnificent fireworks display.
This final evening will be very special indeed as Alain Ducasse’s restaurant is only open for lunch and to dine at night there in the gardens of Versailles is something very special and unique to be treasured for many years to come.
After a sumptuous and leisurely breakfast, we will check-out and depart back to Paris. Arrangements can be made to get you to the airport or your hotel.
GG2P reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!
** Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.
Trip Cost: 5,200 Euro*
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If you’d like to come, press the Reserve Now button above. You will be prompted to complete a form with your pertinent details, put down a refundable $250 deposit, and schedule a time to speak with a GG2P representative. We like to speak with everyone before they embark on their first trip with Girls’ Guide to Paris & Beyond. This allows you to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. These are intimate, small group trips; a quick yet personal conversation allows you to get to know how our trips work and make sure it’s right for you. If it’s not, we’ll immediately refund your $250 deposit.
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