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Participants like us to be somewhat spontaneous, open to taking advantage of last-minute announcements of events in Paris. In addition to routinely taking advantage of relatively unpublicized offerings, we make sure that interested parties can work in unique flea markets and/or unusual religious services (many of which take place adjacent to our primary cemetery jaunts); pleasant surprises in the arts pop up too which our long-standing contacts in Paris help us to incorporate seamlessly.

The serendipity at the core of Paris Graves reminds us of the wonderful Oscar-winning French film, "The Red Balloon," which presents a lovely cinematic parable of childhood, imagination and friendship...wherein much that's delightful comes as a result of...which way the wind happens to be blowing. This does not preclude a structured program, however. In fact, success demands much pre-planning, to be able to move laterally when something singularly exciting comes our way. Like a special street performer or a celebrity...who's suddenly in town for a festival.

Red Balloon

Generally, we do visit the cemeteries of either Père Lachaise, Montmartre or Montparnasse in the mornings, and provide very detailed options in the form of easy-to-follow maps and directions/recommendations...so that personal discoveries -- outside of the group -- can take place in the afternoons. Often, a lunch ensemble precedes the private epiphanies. Important exceptions are given below.

As a rule, our groups of eight to ten break up into smaller units, taking dejeuner 2, 3 or 4 together...before setting out to explore like-minded interests.

Unless we're having our First Night or Bon Voyage dinners, the same holds true for our evenings.

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What follows is only a skeletal version of our typical schedule. Paris offers an embarrassment of riches, of course. When you see "free time" below, please note that we direct participants to various locations based on pre-trip consultations, channeling energies along particular lines of interest.

Your departure day from home should be considered when arranging for time abroad with us. For instance, those who leave from North American locations will depart on the day before they meet us in Paris; as an example, an April 2nd departure from North America would arrive in Paris on April 3rd.

Day 1: Arrival in Paris; easy transportation directly to hotel. Introductions and orientation with individualized handouts (maps, etc.) which cater to previously delineated interests.

Day 2: First (of eight) hotel breakfasts followed by a morning walk in Cimetière Montmartre. Lunch at a place of your choosing, and an afternoon of free time with your Carte Musées -Monuments (good for 3 days). "First Night's Dinner" with the whole group together.

Day 3: Morning in Cimetière Montparnasse, following an additional petit dejeuner on the road. Afternoon option offered for Tour in (and on the perimeter of) Jardin du Luxembourg, or another choice from among the many parks and gardens; emphasis is on Green Paris.

Day 4: Afternoon in Cimetière Père Lachaise, followed by (what Paris to the Moon calls) "the most beautiful walk in the world" (beginning on the rue de Seine in the Sixth Arrondissement).

Day 5: Non-cemetery Tour Option Day* #1, See Choice #9 below respecting St-Denis, where Banlieues Blues (representing various musical forms) takes place in March. Each month has its special offerings, of course. 

Day 6: Return to Père Lachaise in the morning for possible rubbings et plus. Visits to French publishers for aspiring writers/artists.

Day 7: Morning visit to one of the smaller cemeteries OR a return to one of the three major ones.

Day 8: Souvenir/Shopping Day; pickups of items custom-ordered on first day of arrival. Bon Voyage Dinner ensemble.

Day 9: Departure Day

*Among the choices are:

1. Liz Jensen's tour of Sex, art and death in Pigalle and Montmartre.

2. Nicholas Lezard's personal pilgrimage in the footsteps of Samuel Beckett coupled with The Lost Generation footsteps of Sylvia Beach, Hemingway, Joyce et. al.

3. Cinematic Tour of The City of Light. (1)

4. Antoine de Gaudemar's search for Andre Breton's muse...& other Surrealists' inspirations.

5. Abdelkader Djemai's trip from the market frenzy of Belleville to the buzz of La Goutte d'Or, covering the most ethnically diverse area of the capital, and underscoring French understanding of Arabs and Islamic culture.

6. Sasha Goldman's highlights of Jewish Paris.

7. Louis Chevalier's Paris...the one that once was; we use his The Assassination of Paris (2) to see how the capital has transformed, considering especially the loss of les Halles.

8. Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre Sashay/Political Paris.

9. Meanderings with Parisian Music/Theatre. Sometimes this is coupled with a trip to St-Denis, where the ornate royal tombs and some truly remarkable statuary make for some very special photos.

10. Day Excursions to Giverny, Chartres, etc. (3)

park

Footnotes:

(1) Ricard Oxman, former Professor of Cinema History, Dramatic Art and Comparative Literature, draws upon the insights of Elisabeth Quin and Nicholas Royle in conducting a singular tour of Paris' Movie-set Landmarks; he also created the tours for #7 through #9.

(2) Most of the contributors to our tours have published works in French (sometimes translated into English), the names of which can be provided upon request. We have significantly modified their recommended walks, using them as a point of departure only. All tours are not available on a given non-cemetery day; we choose one or two from among the list on each occasion.

(3) We might help you to visit such places as Versailles, Fontainbleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chantilly, Senlis and Auvers-sur-Oise too. Our unique maps and directions for day trips away from the group, hopefully, contribute to very special affairs which will reinforce the spirit of Paris Graves. Participants not wanting to take time away from the PG Paris itinerary often spend a little extra time together in France for such ventures, scheduling their vacations so that they can afford an additional day or two abroad. For first-time visitors to Paris, we generally do not encourage travel outside of Paris proper; there's obviously more than enough to occupy everyone right there.

Contact Paris Graves
Ricard & Sylvie:
408.358.5875
info@parisgraves.com

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