Discovery & theme tour


From Sun 17 Sep 2017 to Wed 04 Oct 2017The weekend 16-17 September 2017 is the annual "Weekend du Patrimoine"

This will be the last in the series of History, Culture and Language tours to France with Emeritus Professor Chris Gossip. Slightly shorter and with less travelling involved than with the previous tours, and without any formal French language sessions, the principal aim remains the same - to explore three different regions (in this case Champagne - Aube/Haute Marne - Paris) but with the emphasis as always on aspects which in general are away from what is offered by major tour operators. And as usual, French gastronomy will be an important element in the programme! As always, we want to share all that we like and find interesting in the regions visited.

Of interest to :
Everyone with an interest in France!

Chris Gossip

Programme leader : Chris Gossip
Brought up in Edinburgh where he went to school and university, Chris held academic posts at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Wales Swansea before emigrating with his family in 1991 to take up the Chair of French at the University of New England in Armidale NSW. Since mid-2007 he has been able to devote more time to research and to a major interest, travel. Having spent several years in France and made countless other visits, he looks forward to passing on his passion for its history, geography and cultural heritage.



As at 20 December 2016, there are still four places available

FRENCH CULTURE TOUR 2017 with Chris Gossip

17 September - 4 October 2017


(Que le champagne coule!)

(Let the champagne flow!)


After the usual get-together in Paris, we travel by TGV to Reims - the most important town in the Champagne region, a major World Heritage site with one of the most magnifcent cathedrals in the country and where almost all the kings of France were crowned. (You will remember the famous episode involving Joan of Arc and the future king Charles VII).

But champagne is only a pleasant excuse for visiting the city of Reims and the region of Champagne - taking you from the grandeur of Reims to Veuve Cliquot, to a day organized for you on the theme of champagne by the Institut des Vins de Champagne, but also allowing you to visit one of the five known cryptoportiques in the world, the lovely town of Laon (capital of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne), and having lunch in one of the truly great restaurants of France. Read the attached Day-to-Day Programme and you will find there are plenty of other things planned as well!

After 5 nights in Reims we move to one of the loveliest towns in the Aube region, Troyes, full of history going back to the celebrated medieval Foires de Champagne : which explains why the historical centre of Troyes is so beautiful. Even if you are not (now) interested in workshop tools down the centuries, you will certainly be overwhelmed by your visit to the principal museum of Troyes, and where close by is one of the finest collections of "fauvist" paintings in France, with special reference to Derain. Close by is the superb natural park of the Forest of Orient - a lunch cruise on one of the lakes and a small train trip through the forest will help you enjoy it all! And before leaving Troyes, there will be a whole day spent in the wonderful town of Langres - not only classified one of the 50 most beautiful towns in France, full of history, more than 3 kms of magnificent ramparts - and to crown it all, Langres is the home town of the great 18th century writer and thinker of the French Enlightenment, Denis Diderot. You will also have an introduction to the local cheese, the Langres - on the list of the most prestigious cheeses in France.

The four days upon return to Paris will offer a concentration of quite exceptional experiences - visits on themes which are not usually available to the general French public (let alone tourists!) - the provisional list can be found on the attached programme. Two highlights will involve a late-afternoon and evening visit to one of the great architectural and historical châteaux of the Paris region, Vaux-le-Vicomte, offering a guided visit, the gardens and château illuminated by some 2000 candles, and evening spectacle, and dinner in the principal restaurant attached to the château. As for the Farewell Lunch - this will be in one of the most celebrated restaurants in France, the Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, owned by one of the greatest French chefs of the last 50 years, Alain Ducasse. (After all, the French gastronomic tradition has been classified World Heritage for several years now!)

AND IF YOU WANT TO USE/PRACTISE YOUR FRENCH - although there will be no language sessions as for the previous Language & Culture tours, we are structuring the tour on the same principles as in the past - all the excursions and visits will be divided into two language groups : French and English. And as always in the past, you will be offered ample opportunities to exercise your French at all times (if so wished) with Annie and Chris.

SO IF THE TOUR APPEALS, please be kind enough to follow our usual procedure by returning (by email) the attached Registration of Interest form (no deposit required at this stage). Copies of the provisional Day-to-Day Programme and Details of Costing are attached.

If you have the slightest query or request for further information, please do not hesitate to email us on :

 (NB : the attached photo shows part of the glorious blue stained glass designed in 1974 by Chagall for windows in the chapel behind the high altar in Reims cathedral)






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