Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Tue July 28 2015

Chasing Characters Through the Cities of Europe

Tour Operator | James Ruggia | July 28, 2015

Chasing Characters Through the Cities of Europe

PHOTO: Le Bristol Paris is offering its guests a chance to go from Right Bank to Left on the trail of great artists. (courtesy Le Bristol Paris)

The notion that true adventure takes place in the wilderness and that every wilderness is beyond the city gates ignores how wild and adventurous the city streets can be. The following programs are all joined by the way they explore cities and the famous characters, real and fictional that tread the sidewalks as if they were a theater stage.

Just because you don’t need a naturalist to give you an informed pursuit of such quarry as Julius Caesar, James Bond, Jane Austen and the artists of 1920s Paris doesn’t make these people any less wild.

Well, it turns out Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” has had an impact on the city’s tourism. An adventure in time is available to those who help Le Bristol Paris, an Oetker Collection hotel, to celebrate its 90th year with a Roaring Twenties package that looks back to the era that hotel was born in. The package is designed to immerse guests in the Le Bristol Paris’ history with a guided tour of the Paris of the 1920s. This tour follows in the footsteps of hotel founder Hyppolite Jammet and allows guests to experience the Bohemian haunts of those seminal artists.

The journey calls at the Theatre des Champs Elysees, followed by a private visit to one of the Place Vendome's most prestigious jewelry houses, and finishes with an evening of events at Le Bristol Paris — including a dinner at triple Michelin-starred Chef Eric Frechon’s restaurant. Epicure is included in the package. A reservation at Le Boeuf sur le Toit, the favored meeting place of Jean Cocteau, Darius Milhaud and Francis Picabia, can also be arranged but the cost is not included.

The package is priced in three tiers depending on the room category: Deluxe Room ($1,167), Prestige Room ($1,257) or Junior Suite ($1,438). The Roaring Twenties package includes accommodations, a guided tour of Paris in the Roaring Twenties and cocktails for two at Le Bar du Bristol. Guests who book the Prestige Suite package (beginning at $8,350) will also receive transfers to and from the hotel, dry-cleaning, free soft drinks from the minibar and a 30-minute massage at Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie. The offer is valid until Dec. 31.

In a similar vein, Through Eternity Tours is offering a small group tour in Rome entitled Love and Death: Scandals off the Beaten Path. The tour goes through the back-alleys of the Jewish Ghetto to discover another side of Rome with a focus on public execution, war, amorous passions of emperors and popes and assassination. The Rome group tour itinerary will delve into the gossip pages of history, exploring the lifestyles and morality around which such scandals erupted.

If the love affairs of Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus, Michelangelo, Pope Leo X and other Roman figures don’t move you, perhaps the abuse and corruption of history’s most powerful men will.

PHOTO: Sceptre Tours can put you on the trail of 007 in London. (courtesy Visit Britain's "Great" Campaign)

One Sceptre Tours’ five-night package follows the celluloid footsteps of James Bond through London. As Bond liked his creature comforts, the package includes accommodation at the five-star Inter-Continental London Park Lane, located in Mayfair near Knightsbridge. At the Duke’s Hotel bar you can get your Martini shaken where Ian Fleming himself did. The Spies & Villains Private Black Cab Tour goes around London to all of the top-secret spots where spies and villains throughout the centuries have operated, including Blades fencing club, Le Circle Casino, The Hotel Europe and more before returning to the hotel.

This trip will allow you to see all of the major sites in London plus the nooks and crannies of 007. The package includes round-trip airfare to London, transfers, accommodations, sightseeing, a London Hop-on/Hop-off Bus Tour, the James Bond 007, Spies & Villains Private Black Cab Tour, full breakfast daily, service charges, taxes and more. This tour is priced from $2,354 for travel from New York, $2,581 from Atlanta, $2,532 from Chicago, $2,704 from Los Angeles, and $2,396 from Washington, D.C. in September.

Not all British adventure is as hardcore as those had by James Bond. Miss Jane Austen may not have had a license to kill, but her pen did.

Tours International is offering a three-day Austen tour of Bath this Sept. 11 to 13, retracing Austen's steps accompanied by an Austen specialist. The journey includes a visit to Bath’s Jane Austen Festival as well as Austen's childhood home in Steventon, Chawton, where she revised her most famous works as well as Winchester, where she died and Winchester Cathedral, her final resting place. The package includes two night’s accommodation at an historic Hampshire coaching inn, a Georgian-style afternoon tea, lunch in a typical 18th Century pub and roundtrip transport from London for $700 per person double. 

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