Are you a Paris Virgin? Join us on the ultimate first-timer’s trip to the City of Light where you and a small group of like-minded women will conquer the city like the iconic ingenues of yesteryear. Do Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace, Anne Hathaway, or French icon Catherine Deneuve bring to mind the Paris you’d like to explore? Perhaps you want to live like Emily in Paris. Look no further – this is the trip for you! We’ll visit the must-see historic sights while weaving in culture, shopping, food, and wine (of course!). As if that wasn't enough, there's an optional trip extension for a VIP visit to Versailles, the magnificent palace built by King Louis XIV in the 17th century, and home to the most famous woman of France, Marie-Antoinette.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Check into your 4-star hotel, the lovely Hotel Recamier right in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Près (6th Arrondissement). For hundreds of years, Saint-Germain-des-Près was its own little village, and it still feels like it.
We’ll meet in the hotel’s lobby at around 4 pm for tea and introductions. Then we’ll head out for a leisurely stroll through the Saint Germain area so you can get to know your neighborhood.
In the late afternoon, we’ll return to our hotel to freshen up. Perhaps, we can stop in at the famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Company on the way back.
We’ll reconvene in the hotel lobby at around 7 pm for some welcome champagne before heading out for a delicious dinner at Restaurant Georgette.
Champagne Welcome Drinks
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll take the Metro to the Musee d'Orsay for a tour, stopping for lunch at the Cafe Campana. We'll take a taxi to the Trocadero after lunch to meet up with Krystal Kenny, photographer extraordinaire, for a personalized and group photo shoot! Imagine having professional photos to commemorate your first trip to Paris!
After our photo shoot, we’ll enjoy a quick trip up to the top of the Tower with our skip-the-line tickets. What first trip to Paris would be complete without a ride to the top of La Tour Eiffel for a birds-eye-view of the city?!
The Esplanade des Invalides is a short stroll from the Tower. Here we’ll marvel at the extraordinary Hôtel National des Invalides. FYI, It’s not a hotel at all. It was built in the 17th century by Louis XIV for those who had served in the royal army. With its hospice, barracks, convent, hospital, and factory, the Hôtel was a veritable city. It’s now a military museum, housing Napoleon’s tomb.
As the afternoon draws to a close, we'll embark on a sunset dinner cruise. We'll watch the city float by from the comfort of Alain Ducassee's spectacular riverboat restaurant on the Seine. La pièce de la resistance is seeing the City of Light illuminate before your very eyes!
After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll taxi over to the right bank to the Marais, one of Paris’ most delightful areas. We’ll start with a visit to one of the many outdoor food markets, Marche Baudoyer, to see how Parisiens have shopped for centuries. You’ll marvel at the variety and presentation of the produce, cheese, meat, fish, and almost anything else you can imagine. (Most Paris apartments are little, with small refrigerators, so a daily visit to a local market is not uncommon).
We’ll continue on to The Carnavalet Museum. Opened in 1880, it’s the oldest City of Paris Museum. For over 140 years, the continuously enriched museum collections have told the story of Paris, from prehistory to the present. The building was recently revamped, so the museum sparkles.
We’ll have lunch at one of the best crêperies in Paris, the Breizh Cafe. Not only will you find extraordinary crepes at Breizh, but the staff is also committed to the development of organic, local, and sustainable agriculture from their home region of Brittany.
This afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore the beautiful Marais, home to some of the best shops in Paris. Wander down Rue des Rosiers, stop in at Buly for some perfume, sit for a cafe and a Pastis in Place Ste-Catherine, and stroll through the Place des Vosges. Make your way back to the hotel via taxi or Uber, both are plentiful.
Tonight, we’ll meet for a lovely dinner at The Recamier Restaurant.
This morning, we’ll visit Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, about an hour’s drive from Paris. Monet claimed that the legendary garden, planted and tended by the great man himself, was his greatest masterpiece. His home is a museum, and it turns back the clock in time. It contains the artwork and artifacts Monet collected over a lifetime. His passion for beautiful things is evident all around you. The house also contains the artist's studio-sitting room and an exceptional collection of his Japanese prints.
After exploring the house and gardens, we’ll stroll over to the historic Ancien Hotel de Baudy for lunch. Hotel de Baudy was open in Monet’s day – can you imagine him sitting at the table next to you?
We’ll return to Paris for an optional visit to a jewel box of a museum, l’Orangerie, on the edge of the Tuileries Gardens. L’Orangerie designed and built special rooms to exhibit Monet’s famous “Water Lilies”. They are extraordinary. You be the judge: which is better, the gardens themselves or the paintings?
Suitably inspired, we’ll stroll over to the famous Ladurée to savor their world-famous macarons over tea.
The rest of the afternoon is yours to relax and explore. Perhaps enjoy some quiet time in the Tuileries Gardens reading, writing postcards, or updating your travel journal.
After a big day, dinner is on your own. Order room service or pop outside and convene at one of the nearby cafés.
Breakfast - Lunch
This morning we’ll ride the Metro up to Montmartre early before the crowds arrive. This lovely village was one of the last bordering villages to become part of Paris proper. Over the years, Montmartre has been home to expat writers, painters, and artisans of all kinds. We’ll see where they lived and worked.
We’ll have time to wander around Place du Tertre where the painters and artisans set up their easels before lunch at Le Cabanon de La Butte.
This afternoon, we’ll conquer the Louvre the largest and perhaps most famous museum in the world. Our private guide will help us navigate our way through the maze of hundreds of thousands of artworks spanning several thousand years of culture and history. We’ll come away with a better appreciation and understanding of some of the most distinguished works of art in the world.
We’ll take a break from French food tonight and journey to Morocco at Le Méchoui du Prince.
On our last day in Paris, we'll embark on a foodie tour of our favorite spots in St. Germain des Pres. Here, you'll taste some of the best cheese, pâté, charcuterie, and produce to create the perfect picnic. We’ll enjoy our culinary feast in the magnificent Luxembourg Gardens on the Left Bank. Beloved by residents and students, the 25-acre garden is an early example of the French formal garden and includes an orangery and orchard. Queen Marie de Medici commissioned the gardens, introducing the latest Italian innovations, including fountains and a grotto that can still be seen today.
After lunch, garden expert, Amy Kupec Larue, will regale us with the history of the Luxembourg Gardens, and other unique insights.
Use the afternoon to do some last-minute shopping or see any sites you haven’t yet visited. You can’t see all of Paris in a week … you’ll just have to come back again!
Our final repas tonight will be at Claudine’s favorite wine bar in Paris, the convivial L’Avant Comptoir de la Terre.
Unless you’re joining us for the trip extension to Versailles, it's sadly time to head home. But first, we'll have a hearty breakfast together. May this be just the first of many trips to Paris and la Belle France.
“America is my country, but Paris is my home”, Gertrude Stein.
If you're joining us for the Trip Extension to Versailles, more adventure awaits!
Isn’t it time to embrace your inner princess?! We'll spend our add-on day at the magnificent Palace of Versailles, just an hour's drive from Paris. Versailles is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th and 18th-century art. Louis XIV transformed and extended Louis XIII’s old hunting pavilion into a splendid palace when he moved the Court and government to Versailles in 1682.
A succession of kings continued to embellish the Palace until the French Revolution. If you’ve never been to Versailles before, you're about to visit one of the most majestic, awe-inspiring palaces you’ve ever seen.
An expert will guide us through the public rooms of the chateau which started as a royal hunting lodge but was transformed into the opulent palace and primary residence of the Sun King, Loius XIV. His descendant (great, great grandson) Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette also lived at Versailles and made significant changes to the building and gardens.
We’ll lunch at Angelinas In The Gardens restaurant located in the famed gardens of Versailles. Then, we’ll have time to wander through the splendid gardens, visit the Trianon palaces, and Marie Antoinette’s charming hamlet.
We’ll also visit the recently renovated and newly re-opened Queen’s chambers. These rooms have been intricately refurbished to look as they did when Marie Antoinette lived in the chateau.
To fully pamper our inner princesses, we’ve arranged time for spa treatments (1hr each) at the Waldorf-Astoria Trianon Palace, steps outside the Chateau. This is the perfect time to relax and de-stress with a full body massage or facial.
Post spa, our private driver (gilded coach, anyone?) will return us to our hotel in Paris. Dinner is on your own, or with your newly made friends at a café or bistro of your choice. We'll offer suggestions.
Private visit of the private apartments
Private VIP Tour
Tour of Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's estate
This gem of a hotel is nestled in one of Saint-Germain-des-Prés’s most secluded spots, in the very heart and tradition of the Left Bank spirit. A timeless treasure and a haven of privacy, Hotel Récamier exceeds all expectations.
Your host for this trip is Claudine Hemingway. Claudine has had Paris in her blood for generations. As a descendant of the great author Ernest Hemingway, the love of Paris has always been there. Claudine is a French arts and cultural historian who loves to dig deeper and share the history of Paris and the people that shaped it through daily stories, live and virtual tours, and a weekly podcast.
Museum or other entry fees
All in-town transport except transfers to and from the airport.
All meals unless noted plus 2 glasses of wine with dinner
Everything stated in itinerary
All tastings and tours
Round-trip airfare to France
Expenses of a personal nature – telephone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc.
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)