Beyond Paris

Chartres

On this 5-hour tour from Paris, we'll experience the grandeur of Chartres cathedral, which stands majestically on a hill top overlooking the Eure valley. Departing from the Gare Montparnasse, we'll use our train ride to explore the history of the cathedral and its important role in the development of university education and Gothic architecture. Once in Chartres, we'll make our way up the romantic twisting streets and steep staircases of the old city to the cathedral, where we'll experience the building's grandeur first-hand. As we move through the church, we'll focus specifically on its sculpture-adorned façades, labyrinth, and world-famous stained glass windows. We'll appreciate the soaring heights of its interior and, for those up for the challenge, climb the 300 stairs to the top of its towers for stunning views of the French countryside.

Reims

When we think of Reims, we tend to think of of champagne. But there's much more to the city than its signature bubbly beverage. On this full-day excursion, we'll explore a different side of Reims: its important role in French history. Departing from Paris' Gare de l'Est, we'll use our trip on a lightning-fast TGV train to set the stage for our visit with a brief history of Champagne, from its Gallo-Roman roots to its place in the World Wars. Once in Reims, we'll visit many of the vestiges of that history, including the Roman Porte de Mars,  medieval mansions of wealthy merchants, and the cathedral where the kings of France were crowned. Mid-day, we'll stop for lunch in a beautiful Belle Epoque bistro before visiting the Palais de Tau, once home to the archbishops of Reims and now the Fine Arts Museum. Despite our historical focus, no trip to Reims would be complete without champagne. We'll finish our day with a tour of a champagne cave followed by a tasting.

Rouen

On this full-day excursion from Paris, we'll explore the art and the history of the capital city of Normandy. Site of the execution of Joan of Arc and the death of William the Conqueror, and home to the soaring Gothic cathedral that became a near-obsessive subject of Monet's paintings in the 1890s, there is no shortage of things to visit in Rouen. Departing from Paris' Saint-Lazare station (itself the subject of many of Monet's paintings), we'll use our train ride to learn about the important place of Normandy in both French and English history. Once in Rouen, we'll visit the tower where Joan of Arc was imprisoned and the square where she was burned at the stake; we'll stroll through historic city center overflowing with wobbly half-timber houses; we'll climb to the top of the Gros Horloge for breathtaking aerial views of the city; and we'll visit several of the awe-inspiring Gothic churches that helped give Rouen the nickname "The City of a Thousand Spires."

Provins

Today a sleepy provincial town, Provins was a bustling commercial capital in the Middle Ages. Home to the Champagne Fairs, the town brought traders and craftsmen from across Europe together to sell their wares. On this 8-hour tour from Paris, we'll travel back in time to visit this almost wholly-intact medieval town, including its wobbly half-timber houses, an extravagant merchant's house, an imposing defensive tower, and a stunning Gothic church. An easy hour's train ride from Paris, Provins lets us experience the beauty and history of the French countryside without having to venture too far from the capital.

 

* From late spring to early fall, we can also visit the city's famous rose garden, the Roseraie de Provins, where we can admire incredible rose varieties and even sample the region's celebrated rose comestibles like biscuits à la rose and rose jam.

Whether you're hoping to reserve one of the tours from my standard portfolio, or to create something tailored to your needs and interests, I will work with you to craft an experience that will be just right for you. I'm also happy to offer family-friendly versions of my tours which are specially designed to engage children of all ages.

For all inquiries and bookings, please contact me directly.

Copyright © 2020 Lindsey Hansen. All rights reserved.
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