Gertrude Stein’s France

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specialGertrude Stein’s fame derives from a private modern art gallery she assembled, from 1904 to 1913, with her brother Leo Stein in Paris. One of the most famous bohemian ex-patriots of her time, Gertrude was outré not only for her Salon where artisits and writers such as Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway and Pound would meet every Saturday night but for being outspoken about her lifelong companion, Alice B. Toklas. Gertrude’s fame also included being an author, writing an opera and being a playwright. Gertrude Stein’s France takes you on a literary romp through Paris before exploring Bilignin and its surrounding area near the Swiss border. Gertrude Stein’s France introduces you to one of the most charismatic people of our times.

Day 1 – Paris
Arrive in Paris where you will be met and driven to your hotel.

Day 2 – Paris
After breakfast, you begin your literary adventure with a Paris city tour before retracing the steps of Gertrude Stein. See the famous landmark the Eiffel Tower which has become synonymous with the name “Paris”. Morning guided tour of the Louvre and lunch and sightseeing cruise on the Seine River. In the afternoon see Notre Dame and the Opera House.

Day 3 – Paris
See the famous art Salon at 27 rue De Fleurus which Gertrude shared with her life partner, Alice B. Toklas along with being a meeting spot for artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne and Manet. There is a plaque near the front door that says Gertrude did live there. Rue de Fleurus is near the western side of the Luxembourg Gardens and is a small out of the way street. See the apartment and the attached gallery where Gertrude and her brother Leo hung one of the best collections of modern art of that period. Also see the last place that Gertrude lived at Christine #5, closer to the Seine, which had once been owned by royalty. Gertrude had to sell some of her paintings during the last years to subsist.She died in 1946. Lunch at Montparnasse. Stroll the same streets vibrant with cafes and shops that Gertrude and Alice frequented. After lunch explore Montmartre, home of Picasso, where Gertrude would take a horse drawn cart all the way to the 18th to visit him at his own studio.

Day 4 – Paris/Bilignin/Belley
When it got hot in Paris, Gertrude and Alice would load up the car and head for the tiny village of Bilignin near Belley east of Lyons near the Swiss border. Visit the house with its boxwood garden they once called “home”. Gertrude rented a beautiful Louis XV chateau, which she spotted while driving through the countryside. Here she received visitors and she wrote her books, including the famous Autobiography of Alice B Toklas, gave advice to the villagers while Alice tended the garden. Today there is a plaque on the entranceway at Bilinin, donated by the University of Southern California. It is a popular visiting place for Stein scholars. The building still remains in the hands of that same family, Leligois. You’ll notice that the high ceilings and ornate wall decorations are throwbacks to another age.The surrounding area is a gourmand’s paradise with famous cooks and restaurants abound. You will taste this delitable cuisine and have lunch in Belley. Time is free to explore or shop as you wish.

Day 5 – Belley & Area
Today explore the breathtaking area around Belley with visits to Chambery, Aix-Les-Bains and Artemare. Visit the Château de Chambéry, Fontaine des Éléphants and Cistercian Abbey of Hautecombe in Chambery. See the Faure Museum, an art museum at Aix-les-Bains, founded in 1949. This museum houses the second collection in France of works from Rodin and the second collection of impressionist paintings of France. See the small village of Artemare and the charming countryside.

Day 6 – Belley/Culoz
Gertrude and Alice moved from Bilignin to Culoz during WWII in the area called Ain. The town is small and about 30 K from Aix-Les-Bains and Annecy. These towns are located on sparkling lakes, fed by the waters coming down from the Alps. Annecy is one of the most idyllic towns in France. Nearby Aix is more cosmopolitan with its spas and gambling casino. Gertrude often visited these places and ate the fish from the two lakes. See Le Clos Poncet, Gertrude’s Culoz wartime home. There is statue in front dedicated to her.

Day 7 – Culoz/Paris
Return to Paris. The rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish.

Day 8 – Depart ParisTransfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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