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Marie Antoinette Tour

An unforgettable experience.  5 days/4 nights Tour of Paris.

Her name is legend, and few figures in history conjure such drama: extravagant, decadent, sensual, cruel. Yet is all of it—or even any of it—true?

Dates:  August 1-5, 2018

Introduction

Marie Antoinette. The aristocrat who despised the poor. The wife who cuckolded her husband. The queen who brought down the monarchy. Her name is legend, and few figures in history conjure such drama: extravagant, decadent, sensual, cruel. Yet is all of it—or even any of it—true? This is your chance to find out. (Spoiler alert: she never said, “Let them eat cake.”) On this tour we’ll follow the story of Marie Antoinette and her times—from her early childhood in Austria to the French Revolution that shook the world.

We’ll learn about the mobs that threatened to kill her; the desperate attempt to flee the country for her life; the bloodshed and savagery that shook France during her reign; and her tragic, noble end, as she was carried past the silent crowds of Paris to lose her head on the guillotine. Our classroom will be Paris, and our text will be its art: the magnificent paintings, sculptures and buildings that illuminate the cultural interests, political views and astonishing events that characterized this fascinating woman and her fascinating times.

We’ll discover how she became the most hated woman of her day, the subject of rabid conspiracy theories and vicious, pornographic pamphlets that make Fox News look like the New York Times.

Paris Tour Highlights 

  •  Charming and central hotel
  •  Excellent meals
  •  Paris’ most elegant 18th century house museum
  •  Pastry by Stohrer (founded by Queen Marie Leszczynska’s pastry chef in 1730!)
  •  Walking tour of Revolutionary Paris
  •  A Marie Antoinette tour of the Louvre
  •  The Conciergerie prison
  •  A full day at Versailles

And more….

Hotel Accommodations

The Edouard VII is the only hotel right on the Avenue de l’Opéra. It is a modern boutique hotel set in a historic location, and just the right one for Shady Ladies Tours: it is in the building where Edward VII, as Prince of Wales, kept his Paris love nest.

The tour starts in the afternoon, with a visit to the most complete 18th-century residence in Paris—an early 20th century reconstruction of the Petit Trianon, filled with a dazzling collection of furniture, artworks and objects. In addition to learning about how France became the byword for elegance and style throughout Europe, we’ll discover the Proustian world of the wealthy Jewish collector who built the museum, as well as the tragic end of his family in World War II. From there we go for a stroll in the adjacent Parc Monceau, the heart of Paris’ most elegant neighborhood. Then it’s off for afternoon tea—and what a tea! We’ll be in the most beautiful café in all of Paris, under a ceiling painted by Tiepolo, and enjoying the city’s most exquisite pastries—confected in a shop founded by the personal pastry chef of the wife of Louis XV. After tea it’s back to our hotel for a free evening, to enjoy all the dining and culture that Paris has to offer—don’t hesitate to ask for our recommendations!

We start our morning with a walking tour of Revolutionary Paris, from the Place de la Bastille, where the Revolution started, to the Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine stood during the Reign of Terror. We’ll learn about Marie Antoinette and other aristocrats during the Revolution, but also about the artisans, shopkeepers and fearsome mobs that drove it to its bloody conclusion. After lunch, we visit the Louvre—not to see the usual “greatest hits,” but to discover the magnificent galleries of the 18th century. We’ll learn about the styles and personalities of the age, view some of its great canvases, and see personal objects that actually belonged to the Queen herself (as well as some royal mistresses!). At the end of the afternoon we leave the Louvre for a visit to the Conciergerie, the grim medieval prison where Marie Antoinette, among many others, was imprisoned during the Terror. It was from here that she was taken to her execution, and the chapel on the site of her cell is one of the most moving spots on the entire tour!

Today we concentrate on a more cheerful side of Marie Antoinette’s story, on an excursion to Versailles. We will spend the entire day in the royal domain, the palace (or set of palaces) built by Louis XIV, the Sun King—the splendid symbol of France’s absolute monarchy in its greatest age, imitated by every monarch or potentate across Europe who could afford to do. In the morning, we visit the main palace and see the public spaces such as the renowned Hall of Mirrors, as well as the private apartments of Louis XV and XVI. After lunch at a quiet restaurant set among the gardens, we spend the afternoon visiting the Petit Trianon and the adjacent “hamlet.” The Petit Trianon was a pleasure pavilion built for Louis XV’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour, and passed on to his next mistress, Madame du Barry. When Louis XVI ascended to the throne, he gave the Petit Trianon to Marie Antoinette as her own private space—with a gate that opened only at the Queen’s invitation. Here Marie Antoinette spent time with her friends, apart from the court and without court etiquette. She even built, as we will see, a fake peasant village in the chateau’s gardens, where her children could learn to milk cows—a kind of private petting zoo! Sadly, while her need for escape may seem comprehensible to us, the closed gate bred rumors and resentment….

This morning we go to the suburb of St. Denis to visit the Royal Basilica, the burial site of French kings from the 10th century to the 18th. The Abbey is a fascinating place for many reasons. It was among other things the first Gothic building! But it is mainly famous for the crypt and the great royal monuments (which were saved from the Revolution by and intrepid museum curator!). Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were not originally buried here: the Revolutionaries buried them in a trench near the Madeleine and covered their corpses with quicklime. But their remains were brought here in 1830 to a new Bourbon crypt, and a monument was erected which is generally considered one of the most accurate likenesses of the Queen. After our visit we return to Paris for a free afternoon, to explore its museums, its elegant shops (an “industry” fostered by Marie Antoinette!), its patisseries…. In the evening, we will gather for a farewell dinner, in one of Paris’ most charming bistros.

Our tour concludes with breakfast today, but we are happy to help you with the rest of your travel plans. Please let us know about your return flight, especially if it is today, so we can help with your arrangements.

$500 Paris Tour Deposit
This tour is 5 days/4 nights long.  It start on the afternoon of Wednesday August 1 and ends on the morning of Sunday August 5. Full price for this tour is $2750 (double occupancy); the single supplement is $700.

To reserve your tour, please begin by emailing shadyladiestours@gmail.com or calling 646-201-4848 to confirm that space is still available. Assuming there is adequate space for you, please download the reservation form. After filling it out, please email a scanned copy to us, or send it to us by mail.

To reserve, you can pay the $500 deposit by clicking on the payment tab below. Alternatively, we can hold a place or places for you for one week if you would prefer to pay your deposit by check.
**Note we offer a $200 early registration discount until April 30.**

The balance of the tour price is due May 25. To pay the balance and single supplement if applicable, please call 646-201-4848.

Please contact us at shadyladiestours@gmail.com or 646-201-4848 with any questions about the payment process or the tour.

Please pay tour deposit by clicking on the BOOK NOW button below.

$500 Paris Tour Deposit
This tour is 5 days/4 nights long.  It start on the afternoon of Wednesday August 1 and ends on the morning of Sunday August 5. Full price for this tour is $2750 (double occupancy); the single supplement is $700.

To reserve your tour, please begin by emailing shadyladiestours@gmail.com or calling 646-201-4848 to confirm that space is still available. Assuming there is adequate space for you, please download the reservation form. After filling it out, please email a scanned copy to us, or send it to us by mail.

To reserve, you can pay the $500 deposit by clicking on the payment tab below. Alternatively, we can hold a place or places for you for one week if you would prefer to pay your deposit by check.
**Note we offer a $200 early registration discount until April 30.**

The balance of the tour price is due May 25. To pay the balance and single supplement if applicable, please call 646-201-4848.

Please contact us at shadyladiestours@gmail.com or 646-201-4848 with any questions about the payment process or the tour.

Please pay tour deposit by clicking on the BOOK NOW button below.



What an amazing Paris Tour! It was so well curated, and I felt like we got to see the best of Paris and even saw a gorgeous castle in the Loire Valley!!!! Food was excellent, hotel was excellent. Professor Lear was so wonderful, he is knowledgeable and so personable, he was so much fun! My mom and I felt really taken care of, we learned so much culture and history (the fun kind lol), and it was simply amazing. Words can not describe how much fun we had. We saw Paris through 19th century eyes thanks to our wonderful guide, Prof Lear. The other tour guides were excellent as well, Davide and Veronique, and the tour at the Opera Garnier was spectacular. It put us in King Edward VII’s racy Paris, we stayed in his former building, and had dinner at a famous restaurant from 1776, saw a former bordello and got a private tour of a courtesan’s mansion on the Champs Elysees, got a private tour of the Orsay Museum, all without waiting in line—and all things we could not have arranged on our own, so it’s quite exclusive and very VIP. We felt scandalous, lol! Don’t hesitate, this was one of the best ways to see the very best of Paris Art and History.

-KittyKatNYC75



The Shady Ladies of Paris was fun and fabulous! It allowed me to get inside and up close to places and events I otherwise could not have. The tour was entertaining, the accommodations were swanky, the food was decadent, the group size was perfect, and the pace was just right – plenty to see and do with just enough down time in between. Professor Lear and the local guides were all extremely knowledgeable, happy to answer questions, and kept the information flowing. Highly recommend!

-Theresa

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