Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Mon March 16 2015

Food, Art and Writers: Exploring the Insider’s Paris

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | March 16, 2015

Food, Art and Writers: Exploring the Insider’s Paris

Image courtesy of Left Bank Writers Retreat

For many Americans, the love of Paris, indeed the love of France, began with the tales told by the Lost Generation of writers who made their way to the City of Lights to find a more sophisticated muse than they could conjure up back home. In June, the Left Bank Writers Retreat (LBWR) will offer a new generation a chance to find that same muse. The Retreat has been offered every June for the last six years and this year it will be led by LBWR founder Darla Worden. The small group experience combines a morning writing salon, Parisian café lunches (including in favorite Hemingway haunts such as La Coterie des Lilas) and tours of literary sites, many of them related to Hemingway and his literary cohorts.

“I really just created the kind of writing workshop I would want to attend. We keep it small – eight or fewer participants – a perfect size for sipping wine in cafes, taking a boat down the Seine to point out famous literary sites, and building a real camaraderie and first-person experience of Paris that also informs our writing long after we go home,” said Worden.

This year’s LBWR will take place June 14 to 19. It includes morning writing sessions, experimenting with style and genres, for a maximum of eight writers, plus lunch each day, admission to museums and area sights, an excursion to Montmartre, a picnic on the banks of the Seine and a literary tour visiting many of the sites featured in the Woody Allen movie “Midnight in Paris” and Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.” Cost of the writing workshop and experiential travel opportunity is $1,999.

Picasso Museum Photo courtesy of Paris Tourism

It will also include a visit to the newly opened Picasso museum. Worden has written widely for magazines and authored several books. She writes the popular blog Frenchophile and is currently at work on a book about Hemingway’s Paris. The retreat takes place on the île Saint-Louis in Paris. Writers arrange their own lodging and transportation to Paris.

Foodies Tour of Paris

GreatValueVacations has curated a special Gourmet Paris Vacation that features three food oriented tours. The Gourmet Tour visits traditional French markets, bakeries, and a regional specialty shop. Vacationers will indulge in wine, cheese, and bread to further enhance a love of French cuisine. The second included tour is a traditional Wine & Cheese Tasting at a wine bar. The tour explores the history of more than 40 cheeses with complementing wines. The third included tour is a two-hour Pure Chocolate Walk on Paris' Right Bank. Participants will be introduced to five chocolatiers and their signature styles from traditional to innovative chocolate making.

The four-night Gourmet Paris vacation package includes round-trip economy class airfare to Paris; round-trip airport transfers; four nights at the Hotel Central Saint Germain in Paris; the three food oriented tours and breakfast daily. The package is priced from $1,743 from New York, $1,769 from Chicago, $1,890 from Los Angeles, and $2,073 from Washington, DC, based on travel in March. Other departure dates are available through September at slightly higher rates. Prices are per person, double occupancy, based on 7-day advance purchase.

Insider’s Guide to Paris

In November, The City Secrets Travel Series presented its fifth volume, "City Secrets Paris: The Essential Insider's Guide." The 275 page guide (ISBN: 978-0-9898612-0-5) is priced at $19.95. The guide features more than 150 insider tips and 18 detailed maps. It joins such other "City Secrets" guides as London, Manhattan, Rome, Venice, and Florence. The series uses contributions and insights from novelists, journalists, painters, historians, anthropologists, actors, directors, architects, playwrights and restaurateurs, who reveal, through personal anecdote and insight, little-known gems about art, food, shopping, architecture, and cultural and historic landmarks. These are subjects they may have spent a lifetime pursuing.

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