An 8-day Writer’s Adventure to Paris

literary tour of Paris

June 29 – July 6, 2013

Hosted by Marjorie St. Clair

No period of time continues to capture the imagination as the belle époque of Paris in the early 20th century. In 2011, for example, there were three major exhibitions in San Francisco, featuring the art of Picasso, the art collection of the Stein family who were instrumental in purchasing and nurturing the avant-garde artists in Paris pre-WWI, and an exhibition of Gertrude Stein, her writing and memorabilia. (See their websites for videos, lectures, and photos www.deyoung.famsf.org, www.sfmoma.org, and www.thecjm.org)

Gertrude Stein by PicassoWe often view the self-indulgent hedonism and intellectual fervor of the expatriate artists & writers of this period through a romantic lens in which they seem larger than life. We know well the resounding effect on culture of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and of Ezra Pound’s hand in molding Modernism, but what of the many women who fled America to the Left Bank such as Gertrude Stein, Janet Flanner, Djuna Barnes, and Sylvia Beach, who along with many others, became part of the vibrant and artistic community of expatriates whose literary contributions included major works of poetry, drama, prose, fiction and memoirs.

James Joyce and Sylvia BeachWhat was it like to be a woman in this literary Paris? We know that women set up bookshops, little magazines, publishing houses and artistic salons in which they marketed the products of literary Paris; and while some are better known to us than others, each woman who migrated to Paris had a particular influence on the cultural scene. It was Sylvia Beach, for example, who paid for and published the first issues of Joyce’s Ulysses and whose bookstore Shakespeare & Co. provided many a venue for American writers to connect with one another. Other women, like Natalie Barney who held regular salons, made enormous contributions in helping to create a community of women who were committed to producing serious art and writing.

The expatriate men of literary Paris held various careers in addition to their writing: Hemingway was a journalist; others were bankers, teachers, & physicians. F. Scott Fitzgerald alone had made enough money from his writing to support himself and Zelda when they arrived in Paris. But why did the Americans come to Paris in the first place? What all of the ex-pats valued, especially the women, was the cultural freedom to explore their own creativity and personal lifestyles.


Shakespeare & Co bookstoreIf you’ve been captivated by the magic of this historical time in Paris, please consider joining a literary tour to Paris, June 29-July 6, 2013. Literary Paris: Expatriates During the Belle Époque, designed by Marjorie, offers a delectable array of experiences, a true moveable feast of the senses, intellect and the spirit! The first few days will be spent getting to see, taste and feel the beauty and flavor of Paris, better known as the City of Lights. Our tour will include: visits to literary cafés frequented by the artists and writers of that period; a visit to the famous Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore with time to peruse this unique treasure & learn more of its history; museum passes to the world-famous Louvre & Musée de l’Orangerie- home to Monet’s magnificent Water Lilies paintings; visit the outdoor book stalls along the Seine; a day-tour of the city by panoramic bus; a French lesson at the Alliance Française; and throughout it all, time to shop, explore on your own plus time to reflect and write about all you see and experience! As we go along we will explore through group discussions the life and habitats of the artists and writers who made the 1920s the century’s greatest decade and Paris their creative center and learn why Gertrude Stein dubbed the ex-pat writers “the Lost Generation.”

We’ll begin our feast with a panoramic tour of the beautiful city taking in such sites as the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triumphe, Eiffel Tower, the Sorbonne, Pantheon, Sacre-Coeur Basilica, the Paris Opera House and a visit to the famed Notre Dame Cathedral.


What better way to immerse oneself into the local culture than by speaking a bit of the native tongue? We’ll spend a morning at the famous French language school, Alliance Française, studying French—sure to make the remainder of your trip more enjoyable and fun as you practice speaking French at restaurants, museums and other places we visit. If you speak French but it’s been a while, you can brush up with a refresher course.


An important part of the expatriate experience was the time they spent in local cafés, talking, laughing, sharing and creating the work that would bring fame to some and enjoyment to all. We will take a day for a walking tour to visit a few of the more familiar café haunts of these literary giants: Café des Deus-Magots, Café Flore, and Brasserie Lipp. We’ll visit the famous Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore; pass by Gertrude Stein’s apartment on rue de Flores and Colette’s residence nearby. Not to be missed are the Paris outdoor book stalls run by les bouquinistes and located along the Seine.


There will also be free time to walk, shop and discover special places on your own as our hotel is conveniently located on the Left Bank where so many of the expatriates lived. Throughout the trip, Marjorie will lead discussions on the expatriates and time will be given to reflect and write about your experiences. Altogether, this will be a memory-making, unforgettable, exquisite experience. Don’t miss it!

Hosted by Marjorie St. Clair – Marjorie is especially suited to serve as facilitator-guide for this trip having lived in Paris for a number of years with her family during the late ’70s & early ’80s. It was during her time as an ex-pat herself that she became interested in the American writers and artists who had made Paris their home earlier in the twentieth century. Later, during Ph.D. studies in Women’s History, her interest was re-ignited in the women writers & artists of this period and she began to share her knowledge through teaching classes on this subject.

For many years it has been her dream to share her love of Paris with others and the compelling literary & artistic history belonging to the unique group of American Expatriates who converged there during the belle époque. From these diverse threads, Marjorie has designed a trip that offers a delectable array of experiences, a true moveable feast of the senses, intellect and the spirit! For more information on Marjorie and her schedule, see her website at: www.writersadventure.com.

Your Tour Includes:

  • Roundtrip transfers from airport and hotel
  • 8 Nights accommodations with private bath
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • Breakfast every day
  • Lunches and dinners as per itinerary
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary including entrance fees
  • Locally Hosted

Special Features:

  • French Lesson at the famed Alliance Française
  • Discussions on the expatriates, led by Marjorie
  • Visits to Café Les Deux Magots, Café Flore & Brassiere Lipp on the Left Bank
  • Visit to the La Montana Café for dinner & evening of Jazz
  • Lunches at local cafés in the Latin Quarter
  • Time to visit Shakespeare & Co Bookstore
  • Panoramic Tour of Paris
  • Visits to the Louvre & Musée de l’Orangerie
  • Visit to the Bookstalls on the River Seine


Day 1, Saturday, June 29 – In Paris (D)

Arrive in Paris & transfer to hotel. Group transfer will take place by noon so be sure to arrive prior to this time at Charles DeGaulle Airport. Welcome Dinner at local restaurant near hotel.

Note: for those who need assistance with their air transportation to arrive in Paris on June 29, please call 631-624-7612 or email horst@rmctravelight.com.

Day 2, Sunday – June 30 – In Paris (B/L)

Our first day will begin with our daily breakfast, after which we will embark on a full day of touring Paris from our panoramic bus. Highlights include the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, the Sorbonne, the Pantheon, Place de la Concorde, the Paris Opera House and in the heart of Montmartre, the towering image of the breathtaking Sacre-Coeur. We will also stop for a visit at the famed Notre Dame Cathedral. Lunch at a local Bistro. Late afternoon back to the hotel. Dinner on your own

Day 3, Monday, July 1 – In Paris (B/L)

Today finds us in school at the Alliance Française for our French lesson! Lunch in a nearby café after which we’ll visit the stalls along the River Seine belonging to les bouquinistes, who sell old & collectable books, drawings, & exquisite engravings & prints. Great souvenir idea! Dinner on your own.

Day 4, Tuesday, July 2 – In Paris (B/L)

From our hotel situated in the heart of the Left Bank, we’ll head out for a full day walking tour. First stop is the famed Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore started by Sylvia Beach where we’ll learn a little of the history of this important establishment for the expatriates. Then onto a few of the literary cafés frequented by the writers & artists of the belle époque: First to the Café Les Deux Magots where we’ll have lunch. Afterwards, we’ll take the quick jaunt to the Café Flore around the corner and then onto the Brasserie Lipp where we’ll sample its famous beer or the ever popular, café au lait. Dinner on your own.

Day 5, Wednesday, July 3 – In Paris (B)

Full day to explore, shop, & relax on your own. Some suggestions: First, don’t be shy to use the subway, or metro, to get around. It’s incredibly easy to navigate & free maps are available at any ticket window. There’s also the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, which you can get on and off as often as you’d like, plus the bus has recorded commentary in English. For Fun: why not try a private sightseeing tour in an old model Citroen through the heart of Paris with its convertible rooftop and a chauffeur who speaks English? There are museums, large & small, such as the Picasso Museum, the Rodin museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Cluny Museum; or the Opera’s Museum, which is hosting a 100-yr anniversary for a primary composer of the belle époque, Jules Massenet. There’s also grand shopping at the grand magasins, or department stores such as Printemps or Bon Marché. For a special treat, why not visit Sephora on the Champs Elysees, one of the world’s premier shopping spots for fine French perfumes? Then, always one of my favourites is the Marché aux Puces, or flea market, located near the Porte de Clingancourt Metro station. Or, sign up to take a cooking lesson at the Cordon Bleu cooking school. The things to do are almost endless in variety & for all tastes! Our guide will help with suggestions.

Day 6, Thursday, July 4 In Paris (B/L)

Morning guided tour of the world famous Louvre Museum. Lunch in a café nearby, with an afternoon visit to the Musée l’Orangerie that houses Monet’s famous Water Lilies paintings, Dinner on your own.

Day 7, Friday, July 5 – In Paris (B/L/D)

Pass by the Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas apt at 27 rue de Flores — where they lived for 25 years & held their famous Salons where artists, writers, philosophers & poets gathered — on our way to the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens where we’ll spend a few leisurely hours writing, discussing & sharing ideas about the expatriates, watch children float their sailboats in the beautiful fountains that adorn the park, and take in one of the famous Punch & Judy puppet shows. Lunch nearby at an outdoor café. Afternoon free. Farewell Dinner together at Le Montana, the café where Sartre & Simone Beauvoir spent many hours, followed by an evening of jazz performed nightly.

Day 8, Saturday – July 6 – To USA (B)
Transfer to CDG airport for flight home.

Hotels (or similar)

Hotel Central Saint Germain combines the grace and comfort typical of a fine Parisian hotel. Centrally located in the Latin quarter of Saint Germain des Prés, it is near the Seine, Notre-Dame, the Sorbonne and the Pantheon, and the Jardin du Luxembourg. The hotel boasts a charming new décor, with 5 levels in various environments, offering luxury and the tranquility of a beautiful house in the heart of an historic district. Its central location allows easy access to tourist areas and businesses. All 35 rooms are equipped with bathroom, hairdryer, satellite TV, air conditioning, personal safe, modem and wifi access.

Registraton Form

Land Price Per Person **

** Bonus! SAVE! You will receive a 5% discount if ALL payments are made by check or money order. This discounted price is noted below in red.

Double Occupancy $2,349
payments via credit card

Prepaid Gratuities $80
payments via credit card
(for guides, escort, drivers, wait-staff, hotel staff, baggage porterage)

Single room supplement $799
payments via credit card

NOTE: The Single Room Supplement applies for those who would like to secure a private room throughout the tour.

ROOMMATES: We will be happy to try to find a suitable roommate for those who are traveling alone and would like to share a room. Per our Terms and Conditions, registration for the tour will be held open until 4 weeks before the departure date in order to try to match everyone with a roommate. If, by that date, we have not been able to match you with a suitable roommate, you will be responsible to pay for the single supplement. An early registration will facilitate this process.

** Prices are based on a combination of 2012 & 2013 rates and current foreign exchange rate, and could increase from 2 to 3% for 2013 final rates. The FINAL price will be established the latter part of 2012.


Reservations & Payments: A completed application must be submitted with your reservation including a deposit of $300 per person right away to hold your reservation. Final payment due on or before [DATE TBA].

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancellation fees are as follows: $100 non-refundable airfare fee. Additional 25% if cancellation is between 70 and 60 days; From 59 to 45 days, there is a 50% charge. Under 45 days, the charge is 100% of the tour price.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: A Trip Cancellation/Interruption/Medical insurance is NOT included in the package and a brochure will be sent with your confirmation.

Revisions/Changes: There will be no charge for an initial revision. There will be a charge of $20 for each additional revision. This charge is over and above any charges imposed by airlines, hotels and/or ground operators unused transfers, meals and sightseeing tours cannot be refunded. Unused hotels nights are refunded only if they cover a minimum of three nights and only to the extent the operator receives refund from the hotels, after deducting cancellation charges levied by the hotel, if any. Requests for refund must be submitted in writing along with written proof from the hotel, to RMC within 30 days after return from trip.

Accommodations: The tour operator reserves the right to substitute hotels of similar category.

NOTE: Trip price based on a minimum of 20 participants. If less than 20 participants, a shortfall surcharge will be invoiced as follows: 15/19 travelers @ $200; 10/15 travelers @ $400.

Consumer Disclosure Notice: RMC and/or their agents act only in capacity as agents for the passenger in all matters connected with hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours and transportation, whether by air, rail, bus, motorcar, boat or any other means and as agent holds itself free of responsibility for any damage occasioned from any cause. RMC and/or its agents will not be responsible for any damages or expenses or inconveniences caused by late departures or change of schedule of or strikes or to their conditions, nor will we be responsible for loss or damage to baggage or any of the passenger’s belongings. All prices quoted are correct at time of brochure printing. Rates are subject to currency and airfare changes. Any disputes arising out of these tours will be settled via Arbitration through the American Arbitration Association. Valid 5/1/12-7/31/13 and subject to change without notice.

Travel Insurance

RMC Travel highly recommends the purchase of Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance, and we therefore provide you with an easy way to contact RMC’s preferred insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance.

If you need additional information or have questions, please call Allianz directly at 800-284-8300, and refer to code F025323.

Registraton Form

For Flight Assistance and Ticketing, call: 631-624-7612
or email horst@rmctravelight.com