What is a Picturesque Voyage?

With the boom of mass tourism there has been a growing desire amongst more discerning travelers to Paris to slow down the pace, to delve deeper into the city and discover it under a unique lens. This yearning can be sourced back to travelers in centuries past who explored Paris with the guidance of Voyages Picturesques. Read on to discover more about this tradition and how we are striving to renew it for the 21st century.

The Original Insider Guides to Paris

In the 18th century, when travellers set out on Grand Tours of Europe, they looked to local guidebooks to provide information about how to discover wonderful sites in Paris. Connoisseurs gave insiders advice about the best places to view works of art, sculpture and architecture, sometimes with helpful hints on how to navigate the city.

These guidebooks were called Voyage Pittoresque because they aimed to give travellers ‘insider information” about the most beautiful art works in royal collections, historic monuments and gardens. The term picturesque – worthy of a picture – was projected onto garden design and influenced the development of the landscape garden movement.  In the early 19th century, when lithography was the most popular way to document travel, new books of French and European landscapes and monuments were published as a series of Voyages Pittoresques.

Our Paris Tours

Our Picturesque Voyages tours are inspired by history of the Voyage Pittoresque books and guides, focusing on historic gardens and their connection to art, history and cuisine. We believe that gardens are living monuments, and the best way to learn about French history and culture. We visit gardens in Paris, exploring the history of gardens in the city and discovering hidden gardens off the beaten track. We organise day trips to remarkable gardens at Versailles or Giverny. Our museum tours concentrate on garden themes. We also discover how sculptures, now in museums, were originally commissioned to be in historic gardens.

Gardens are not only to be seen, but experienced. Natures’ products cultivated in gardens can be sampled on our sensory tours. We move from the garden to the table, tasting fruit confits, coffee, and olive oil or experiment making your own perfume.

Rediscovering the Picturesque in Paris

Through our tours and our blog posts we will endeavor to uncover and present the picturesque in Paris of today. How are the gardens of Paris evolving? How have the city’s historic monuments transformed since their incarnation? Who are the chefs, food purveyors and artisans carrying on the rich traditions of France all the while adding a contemporary touch?

Join us on on of our tours to experience this first hand or follow our Facebook page to stay up to date on our next posts.


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