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FRENCH LITERARY ROUTE

DAY 1 MADRID – PARIS

Arrival in Paris and meeting with the accompanying guide. Panoramic tour of the city, one of the most beautiful, richest and notable in the world, due to its monuments, splendid buildings, magnificent museums and very active commerce. We will pass through The Champs-Élysées , the Place de la Concorde, the large boulevards, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, constructed by Eiffel for the Universal Exposition of 1889 in commemoration of the centennial of the French Revolution and, today, symbol of the city, Place Vendome, etc. Near the Place Vendome, at Number 21 on the Rue Saint-Honoré, Moliére was born in 1622 and, on the façade, a plaque with His bust recalls it. Lunch. Departure to visit the house where Victor Hugo lived in the Rohan Guéménée Palace, in the Place des Vosges, in plain center of the neighborhood of the Marais. The House of Victor Hugo invites the visitor to enter into the intimacy of the famous  French writer. He lived on the second floor of this mansion from 1832 to 1848, and wrote there some of his most important works and a good part of  “Les Miserables”.  Then, tour of the House of Balzac. Born in Tours, his family was from the modest bourgeoisie and in 1814 they moved to Paris. His father forced him to study law, but his true vocation was literatura, and in 1821 he renounced his studies to dedicated himself to writing. His first attempts left him in debt for the rest of his life and he spent years in absolute misery. But he had his first success in 1829 with “The last Chuan”. Later began the long persecution by his creditors, and in 1840, he rented an apartment in this house, in the rue Raynouard, on the slopes of Passy, under the ppseudonym of Monsieur de Breugnol. In this house he conceived “The Human Comedy” and wrote some of his novels, such as  “The Black Sheep”, “Splendor and Misery of the Cortesans”, “Cousin Bette” and “Cousin Pons”. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 2 PARIS – SACHE – PARIS

Breakfast and departure to visit the Pantheon, constructed originally as a church, but later it became a symbol of the French nation. Here the remains of beloved writers such as Zola, Voltaire, Alexander Dumas or Víctor Hugo are prominent. From here we leave for Montparnasse Cementery, where Baudelaire, Guy de Maupassant, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre or Samuel Beckett are buried, and the famous Père Lachaise Cementery, with the tombs of Molière, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein or Richard Wright. To finish, and to improve our spirits, we will visit some of the bars and cafés that the great writers frequented when they visited or lived in Paris. One of them is the Café Hemingway, favorite of the American writer and Scott Fitzgerald. We also have the Bastide Odeon, that  Samuel Beckett frequented, the Brasserie Lip, with the memories of Oscar Wilde and Marcel Proust, or the Café de Flore, visited by Camus and Sartre, and the Café de the Paix, visited by such writers of stature as Zola, Wilde, Maupassant or Hemingway. Lunch. Departure to take a tour of Saché, where we will visit another of the houses of Honoré de Balzac. The author of “The Human Comedy”, regularly visits Jean Margonne, friend of his parents, in their castle in Saché from 1825 to1848. The works “Le père Goriot”, “Cesar Birotteau”, “Louis Lambert”, “Lost Illusions” and “Les lys dans the vallée” are partially written in this place. Return to Paris. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 3 PARIS – CHATEAU THIERRY – REIMS

Breakfast and departure to take an excursion to Chateau Tierry, birthplace of the fablist Jean de the Fontaine. The house that saw Jean de the Fontaine be born on the 8th of July in 1621, built in the Renaissance, around 1559, is one of the prettiest mansions in the city. Today is an authentic jewel where works related to the fabulist and his work are presented. The collections are composed of several objects, such as a stove decorated with scenes  from the fables, made of ceramic from Sarreguemines at the end of the 19th century, or paintings such as “The Enamoured Cortesan”from the French School from the 15th century, “Portrait of the Fontaine” of the Rigaud workshop, from 1684, “The Miller, his Son and the Ass” by Hortense d’Haudebourt-Lescot, 1784-1845 or “The Little Dog that Shakes Money and Precious Stones” by Nicolas Vleughels. Free time to visit the city: the Grande Rue, Town Hall,  the Church of Saint Crépin, the Balhan Tower, which is a vestige of urban real estate: the Gold Sheep building (constructed by Jean Balhan in 1480), classified as historic monument since 1926. Lunch. Departure for Reims. This is the city where the kings of France were crowned, a city with a magnificent cast of monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Panoramic tour, where we can contemplate Town Hall, the Royal Squre, Tau Palace, Mart Gate, in the middle of the bustling square of the Republic. Tour of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, one of the grand Gothic temples. Tour of the grand Abbey of Saint-Remi, one of the poorly known jewels of the late Romanesque. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 4 REIMS – CIREY SUR BLAISE – JUNIVILLE – CHARLEVILLE MEZIERES – REIMS

Breakfast. Departure for Cirey-sur-Blaise, to visit the castle where Voltaire lived for fifteen years, from 1734 until 1749, invitaded by the Marquise de Châtelet, with whom he would establish a long personal relationship and with whom he would work conscientiously on a work on Newtonian thought. We will see the dining room, the Library, the Chapel, the salons, the kitchen, the small theater and the room of the Marquise. Continuation to Juniville, to visit the Paul Verlaine Museum, “L’Auberge du lion d’or”, from the 15th century, where the poeta wrote from 1881 to 1882. This place is much more than an evocation of the poet and it will have us relive his life and his work via a unique iconographic Historic Grouping, his complete works, prose, poetry and correspondence, and, of course, a unique atmosphere that you feel when you cross the threshold. Departure for Charleville Mezieres. Lunch. Then we will visit the windmill from the 15th century that today houses the Rimbaud Museum, and the house in which he was born. The museum contains many photographs and facsimiles from the life and the poetry of the writer, as well as first editions. From his African trip we will be able to see luggage, clothing, and personal souvenirs. The literary and poetic dimension is very present due to the numerous reproductions of manuscriptsthat reflect the creative intensity of the poet. We can also see an original, such as the famous  sonnet  “The vowels”. The museum also renders homage to yhe artists of the 20th century whose work refer to Arthur Rimbaud, among them Picasso, Giacometti, Cocteau, etc. Tour of “La maison des Ailleurs”, where Rimbaud lived with his madre and three brothers from 1869 until 1875. It was the place of the adolescence of the poet. Now, the house is occupied by image and sound and and the poetic dimension. Return to Reims. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 5 REIMS – AMIENS – PARIS

Breakfast. Departure for Amiens to visit the House of Jules Verne, turned into a welcoming and imaginative museum dedicated to his life and work. The house is in the neighborhood of Henriville and, from the architectural point of view, its distinctive note is the tower, from where there is a privileged view of the city. Free time to visit the city. Lunch.  Return to Paris.  Ride on the Seine in Bateaux Mouches, which will allow us to see, from different surroundings the museums, monuments, palaces and bridges of this grandiose city. Free time for personal activities. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 6 PARIS – ILLIERS COMBRAY – CHARTRES – MILLY LA FORET

Breakfast and departure for Illiers Combray to visit the Marcel Proust House-Museum “la tante Léonie”, the family house of his uncles Jules and aunt Élisabeth Amiot, and where he summered as a child, from 1877 to 1880, and where his asthma attacks made him give up coming back. Although he was born and died in Paris, the museum was put in this house, where the memories of the writer are gathered together: “Portrait of the profesor Proust” by Jules Lecomte du Nouy, “Portrait of Madame Proust” by Anaïs Beauvais, furniture, photographs, correspondence, manuscripts and documents of the family. We will also visit the “pré Catelan”, exotic garden created by Jules Amiot, uncle of Marcel Proust and where he used to stroll as a child. Continuation to Chartres, city of medieval splendor, with its old town, its streets and alleyways borderd by old houses, staircases  descend to the lower city, etc. Tour of the Cathedral, whose blue-colored windows glow, capturing all eyes. Lunch.  Departure for Milly the Foret, where we will visit the country house where Jean Cocteau lived the last 17 years of his life. The house has been restored and turned into a magnificent museum. The tour of the house, with its garden and its orchard, introduce us to the reconstruction of the intimate life of the artist, from the kitchen to the first floor annex, where he had his office and room. He died of a heart attack in Milly-la-Forêt, the 11th of October in 1963, hours after learning of the death of his friend Édith Piaf. He is buried in the Chapelle Saint-Blaise des Simples, in Milly, small chapel from the 12th century, part of an extinct leprosarium. In 1959, the Chapel was decorated by Jean Cocteau. His drawings on the theme were done in “guache” over a thin layer of lime. The three sections have non-figurative windows, also work of Jean Cocteau. Return to Paris. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 7 PARIS – EXC. MONTMORENCY, MEDAN AND PORT MARLY

Breakfast and departure to take a full day excursion with Lunch to Montmorency, Médan and Port Marly. In Montmorency we will visit the Rousseau Museum. It is made up of the House of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Le Mont-Louis), small rural house from the 15th century, the den of the work of the philosopher (le donjon), situated at the back of the garden and the House of the Midwives, where the Library is found. The house and its garden are visited as a place of memory. Each room of the austere house, each object, the very modest furniture, engravings or the white painting  of the façades, evoke the daily life and the work sessions of this man, philosopher, writer, musician and botanist at the same time. Rousseau moved into this house with his last companion, Thérèse, in December of 1757. In 1762, his book “Emile or On Education”, condemned by the Parliament in Paris, forced him to abandon the house precipitously, heading to Switzerland, his birth country. He died in Ermenonville (France), in 1778. Then we will leave for Médan, where we will take a beautiful stroll, traveling through the places of the childhood of Zola. The House of Zola is closed until 2015 for restoration work. The house is on the banks of the Seine. He bought it thanks to the success of his novel “The Taverne”, Zola was its designer and architect and the house grew at the rythym of his books. He always dreamed of having a  country refuge and lived in it for 24 years. There, the novelist wrote the essential part of his works, including the series of “Les Rougon-Macquart”. In Port Marly we will visit the Castle of Montecristo, where Alexander Dumas lived. The history, the nature and the soul of the writer are everywhere, pinnacles on top of the two towers of the castle are adorned with the entangled initials of the writer. His studio, neoGothic castle called by Dumas the Castle de If, surrounded by water, has unusual architectural characteristics, and there, Dumas imprints his soul, since many titles of the works of the writer figure in the walls along with representations carved in stone of some characters, such as Edmond Dantes. Return to Paris. Dinner and lodging.

DAY 8 PARIS

Breakfast and END OF TRIP