I hope you will forgive me the occasional brag, but I can’t help sharing this lovely email I received from Pam, one of our guests on our last Papa’s Paris Tour in June. She loved it so much she not only plans to take another of our tours, but she would take our Papa’s Paris Tour all over again! Enjoy!
“I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris this past June through Travellati Tours on the Hemingway themed tour, Papa's Paris, led by the organization’s founder, Liz Kemble. I was hooked last fall (late September 2016) when Liz described her travel business and the tour. Liz has been an acquaintance for several years, and I was confident in her ability to deliver what she offered. Liz also kept everyone’s interest piqued between signing on and the actual trip through wonderful newsletters, chock full of pictures, history, and helpful travel hints, like how to order coffee in Paris. Liz even gave those who had signed on by New Year’s a thoughtful holiday present to add to the pre-trip excitement. And, about a month or so before we were scheduled to leave, for us local folk and other guests, Liz treated us to a lovely lunch at a local tea shop. I was so enthusiastic about the trip that I went two days ahead of schedule and stayed an extra day. As the tour’s hotel was full before our check-in date, Liz thoughtfully provided me with a short list of comparable hotels.
Liz did not disappoint on the actual trip, adjusting the itinerary for individual needs and because during our first six days Paris, there was an extraordinary heat wave, which left us all wilted. Liz coped with a hand fan and hats, and I purchased a wonderful hat in a flea market and thought ahead to bring suntan lotion. But, Paris did cool down in the evenings and there were fans, requested by Liz, in our hotel rooms.
Ah, let’s mention the hotel. We stayed in a wonderful boutique hotel in the heart of the Latin Quarter, which was central to all of our day’s adventures—either walking, taking the bus, taking the Metro, and train. My room was large and quite airy—even being on the top floor. There was adequate lighting and a large bathroom with soaking tub and shower. Breakfast was served in the secluded garden by friendly staff, who gladly refilled your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Yes, I did drink hot chocolate in theheat because it was heavenly. The garden was a great place to meet and relax and converse with other guests—Americans, Scots, Canadians—people from all over the globe that found this gem.
From top: Guests meeting Ernest Hemingway at La Closerie des Lilas, his favorite "haunt;" F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald having a spirited discussion in the Café Select; Gertrude Stein and Hemingway debating art in the Luxembourg Gardens. Photo Elizabeth Kemble.
Liz thoroughly researched our daily excursions and was very knowledgeable about the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s and she showed us where they lived (I took pictures of all the plaques) and played. Actors were hired to play Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and the Fitzgeralds. Their performances were enchanting and very enjoyable—I had hoped that they would be a bit longer—like watching a play and not wanting it to end.
My absolute favorite excursion was the train trip to Giverny, Claude Monet’s home and gardens. We traveled by Metro to a train station to board a local train, which sped along at 100 miles an hour. We were met by a taxi van and driven to the local inn for lunch and then a short walk to Monet’s home and gardens, which were heavenly and a great introduction to view the Water Lily paintings at the Orangerie Museum in Paris later in the week.
Another truly memorable part of this tour was the selection of places to have lunch and dinner. Liz chose fancy restaurants, bistros, cafés, and mom-and-pop places. There were no restrictions on what to order—I think that Liz was extremely generous and gracious during all of our meals. A couple of the restaurant choices were off the cuff, because due to the heat and other considerations, we were not able to dine at places that Liz had already vetted. However, these were marvelous, and I got to experience all different types of food and spirits. We all shared our different dishes and Liz was expert in translating the menus and speaking to waiters about particular guests’ needs, like how many ice cubes we wanted. A lot of the menus were also in English and by week’s end, I was familiar with the offerings.
I went off on some adventures on my own and Liz worked with me and showed me on my set of street maps where to walk and what Metro line to take.
Some advice to other interested travelers: Be prepared for lots of walking and taking the Metro, which has lots of stairs to navigate. Liz packs a lot of sight-seeing into her tours and likes to keep a moderate to fast pace. However, for me, even given the extreme heat, being older and overweight, I had no real difficulties in matching Liz’s pace. I was disappointed that due to the heat, Liz had to change some of the tour. We all agreed that a day at the races when it was 100 degrees should be avoided. However, Liz had a backup plan, and we spent extra time shopping for light-weight clothes and in the air conditioning of the Musée d’Orsay.
To enjoy this unique tour, you must be willing to be enthusiastic and open to enjoying all that Paris has to offer. You’re in France, not the USA, embrace another culture—learn some key phrases, be courteous at all times, and do your own research before you go—read up on Hemingway (an author whom I do not like personally but am fascinated by) and the areas that you’ll be visiting.
Bottom line, I have told Liz that I most likely will repeat the Papa Hemingway tour and sign up for other tours, whether in Paris or another location. I highly recommend Travellati Tours for the enthusiastic, not the casual traveler, and particularly to individuals who do not have a travel companion as you won’t have to worry about folks pairing off for meals, unless it’s your choice. Bon voyage!”
Thank you to Pam for making my week! For those of you intrigued enough to join us, we have a Picasso’s Pyrenees Tour coming up from September 10-18, 2017, and a Papa’s Paris Tour from September 23 - October 1. Book now to ensure your spot. Reserve by July 30 and save $570 on our Picasso’s Pyrenees Tour and save $670 on our Papa’s Paris Tour.
And don’t forget to introduce us to your family and friends who would love our tours! We would be happy to thank you for any introductions with a generous referral bonus.