The Cabaret Intourlude Itinerary (as it was in 2015)

Our May 2018 trip will offer a variation of this itinerary ... with the possibility again of staying overnight in Giverny. Who knows what else is in store, what magical moments to surprise us!

Claudia Hommel

DAY 1, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10:

Following an afternoon departure from the States on June 9, our travelers are met by Claudia the next morning at the Charles DeGaulle airport. Our bus takes us directly to Giverny, 90 minutes west of Paris, first for a picnic by the Seine in Vernon, [meal 1] then for a stroll through Monet's house and gardens [event 1], and a visit to the Musée des impressionnismes [event 2]. The latter was formerly the Museum of American Art founded by the Terra Foundation and featured an exhibit on "Degas: but an Impressionist Painter?" .
We join Claudia's friend Patrice Leconte and his neighbors at the westside of the village for potluck dinner [meal 2]. Some of us lodge at his neighbors' homes and some at La Musardiêre.

DAY 2, THURSDAY, JUNE 11

After breakfast, our bus takes us into Paris. We wend our way down the Champs Elysées to the Trocadero and around the town before delivering us to the Gare d'Austerlitz. We stash our luggage and have plenty of time to find lunch at this café or the other, explore the Jardin des Plantes, walk along the Seine.
At 4 PM our train takes us on a 4-hour trip to Brive-la-Gaillarde. Dordogne is the country of foie gras, duck confit, walnuts and truffles, so first stop is dinner at the fabulous En Cuisine [meal 3]. Well sated, our bus takes us to a country manor house in the tiny hamlet of St. Amand de Coly, the Manoir d'Hautegente.

DAY 3, FRIDAY, JUNE 12

Meandering through riverside towns, we climb the rock stairs of the ancient cliff-dwellers village of La Roque St. Christophe [event 3], lunch in Sarlat at the Bistro d'Octroi [meal 4], stroll through Josephine Baker's chateau at Milandes and attend the falconry show there [event 4]. Exquisite dinner awaits us at our manor house [meal 5].

DAY 4, SATURDAY, JUNE 13

After a leisurely morning in the countryside (with an option to take a cab to the nearby Lascaux caves), our driver takes us to the weekly market in Brive and to our train back to Paris. After settling into the hotel, the 3-star Elysa-Luxembourg at the eastern gate of the Luxembourg gardens, folks dine on their own in the Latin Quarter and join Claudia at 9:30 for her performance at the Swan Bar, a "13-minute walk" (1 kilometer) from the hotel [event 5]. She's joined by Detroit-based pianist Stefan Kukurugya and her favorite French bassist Jean-Pierre Rebillard.

DAYS 5 to 8, SUNDAY JUNE 14 to WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17

Our days are open to variation with plenty of opportunity to explore on one's own, map and Metro tickets in hand: shopping, strolling, museums by the half-dozen, sitting in parks, catching a free concert at the Cluny, walking up to see the stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle, visiting artist studios and galleries. Our hotel is around the corner from one of the best jazz clubs in town, Le Petit Journal St. Michel.
Special interests are the spice to our plans! What's on your mind?

SUNDAY

Several travelers take a fifteen minute walk down the hill from our hotel to the foot of rue Mouffetard by the Eglise Médard, to join the neighborhood sing-along where accordionist Christian Bassoul and his friends sing from 11 AM to 2 PM. Get ready to dance. It's a good place to start out on an Ernest Hemingway Walk or to take in lunch on rue Mouffetard, perhaps a guitarist or accordionist at the entry of a bistro to lure you in.
Explore Montmartre if you would like: Claudia especially loves the Musée de Montmartre, rich with the history of this former village, in the building that housed many of the artists associated with the neighborhood from Renoir to Toulouse-Lautrec and Suzanne Valadon.
Find a restaurant in Montmartre because our final destination is the oldest intimate cabaret room in Paris, the Lapin Agile in Montmartre. The show starts at 9:00 [event 6]. Claudia sings around 11:00. The place is packed!

MONDAY

The Louvre is open on Monday, when most other museums are closed. All 8 of our travelers venture instead to the palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte which turns out to be an exquisite alternative to the much more crowded Versailles. (The palace of Versailles was inspired and designed by the same architect, interior and landscape designers as Vaux-le-Vicomte. Nicolas Fouquet, the finance minister of King Louis XIV built a palace fit for a king, the result of his ostentation was to get framed up and imprisoned for life... a fascinating story!)
My friend Jean Gilles is out of town this week, otherwise he would have taken us for a walk to surprising corners of Paris. Maybe in 2016!

TUESDAY

Claudia has tickets for a morning visit to the Musée d'Orsay [event 7] where we are met by art history writer Dennis Broe for a personal guided tour.
The afternoon is open... is this the day we get a pastry class or a visit to the Opera Bastille workshops?
Our BOAT CRUISE begins around 6 PM on Eric Vincent's and Marie-Claude's houseboat Le Madura [event 8, meal 7]. We are feted with a five-course dinner (or was it seven... it was non-stop as was the wine and kir) followed by a private concert by Eric and the surprise of singers within our group. Expect to stay out until the last metro after midnight.

WEDNESDAY

A whole day with nothing to do! OR everything you haven't yet done. A few minutes from the hotel, a farewell dinner at the Morrocan restaurant Le Méchoui du Prince, [meal 8] where we welcome some of the incoming participants of the Singers Jazz Workshop.

THURSDAY

End of the prepaid tour. Return to the States for many of our travelers.


    The tour package includes:
  • Airport transfers and orientation tour
  • Transportation to Dordogne and Giverny
  • 8 nights of lodging (double occupancy)
  • 8 breakfast buffets and 8 other meals
  • Entrance to 8 museums and musical events
  • And Claudia as your bon vivant throughout