Begins: Friday 17 May 2019
Until: Monday 20 May 2019
- Lecturer: Dr Alexandra Gajewski
In the last few years The London Art History Society has joined forces with Real Holidays in order to offer study tours to continental Europe. We propose to continue to develop this relationship, and for the 2019 spring tour we intend taking The London Art History Society to Avignon between Friday 17th and Monday 20th May 2019.
Our lecturer will be Dr Alexandra Gajewski, architectural historian and lecturer specialising in medieval art, leader of the Society’s visits to Montpellier in 2012 and to Marseille in 2017 together with several other tours in earlier years. She has devised and led many cultural tours in Europe for leading art history travel companies.
Our visit under the guidance of Dr Gajewski gives the opportunity for a short but intense exploration of the city, its history and culture. We are preparing an ambitious and interesting tour, including direct travel by Eurostar from St Pancras, a 3* hotel in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon on a bed and breakfast basis and dinner at selected restaurants on two evenings. Villeneuve-lès-Avignon is on the opposite bank of the river to the City of Avignon; we shall spend a lot of time here as part of our tour and the hotel seems perfect for our requirements. No suitable hotel at an acceptable price was available in Avignon itself.
All applicants and friends who travel with them must be current members of The London Art History Society at the time of the trip.
Friday 17th May: Eurostar direct from St Pancras, arrive mid-afternoon, transfer to the hotel and assemble for a walk to NotreDame at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. Dinner to be arranged nearby.
Saturday 18th: all day in Avignon: morning in the Papal Palace, afternoon in the Musée du Petit Palais followed by a walk through Avignon and some free time. Saturday evening dinner independent.
Sunday 19th: all day in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon – morning in the Charterhouse, afternoon in the Musée du Luxembourg followed by Tour Philippe le Bel. Sunday evening dinner to be arranged nearby.
Monday 20th: morning – further local exploration in Fort Saint André (open 10am–1pm); mid-afternoon – Eurostar direct to St Pancras.
Once in the region we will stay at the Hotel de L’Atelier in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. Full details can be found on its website www.hoteldelatelier.com.
Travel will be arranged on Eurostar which is offering direct connections, with a return journey to be arranged in the afternoon on the final day of our tour which will leave an adequate amount of time for a reasonable amount of exploration on our final day. The Eurostar 2019 timetable has not been announced but is understood to be similar to the current season.
There is an option to make your own travel arrangements and meet the main party at the station or hotel to join the afternoon visit or assemble later for dinner at 20:00.
The total cost including travel will be £692 per person (£555 if making your own travel arrangements), which includes Eurostar, hotel accommodation, breakfasts, admission charges, dinner on two occasions, along with wine, water and coffee, tips for drivers and restaurant staff, and the services of the lecturer. It is calculated on the basis of shared twin rooms and does not include lunches or dinner on one evening. There are a few single rooms available, however the net additional prices quoted by the hotels give rise to a supplement of £170.
The Tour has been planned on the basis of 15 participants and the prices have been calculated on a non-profit basis in accordance with the Society’s normal policy for foreign tours. This does enable us to provide an extremely attractive package with the best of hotels and guides. If there is sufficient interest, a maximum of 18 participants may be considered but this will be dependent upon the availability of hotel rooms. As on all recent study tours, it is essential to ensure that the Society does not incur a loss and there may be minor adjustments to costs if so required – the tour would still be terrific value and have the bonus of being a very personal weekend.
Travel locally in the city will either be on foot or by bus/Metro/taxi. We hope participants will share taxi costs and have not budgeted for providing local transport, nor taxis. This will include the short journey on arrival and departure between the hotel and the railway station.
NB To avoid fixing the cost at too discouraging a level no allowance has been made for a deterioration in the value of sterling against the euro. We therefore reserve the right to make a surcharge of not more than £100, to cover extra costs caused by a fall in the exchange rate. The exchange rate used for these costings was £1 = 1.11 euros. We work hard to keep costs within the stated package costs but in the unlikely event that there should be any need to cover shortfalls, participants will be asked to contribute.
The above costs also include the services of a travel agent – Real Holidays – which provides professional booking services and ABTA cover. All travel and accommodation (Eurostar and hotels) have been arranged by Real Holidays, who will accordingly handle the financial side of the trip. Bookings can only be accepted if accompanied by a deposit of £200 per person, made payable to Real Holidays.
All applicants and friends who travel with them must be current members of The London Art History Society at the time of the trip. Your attention is drawn to the booking conditions issued by Real Holidays and available for inspection on its website. It is essential that you take out travel insurance cover, and you should also obtain the European Health Insurance Card (which replaced the form E111) from a Post Office. Note that the EHIC is only valid for five years; please ensure that your card will be valid during the period of our tour. We do not know how Brexit will affect the validity of EHIC cards.
The itinerary and locations are subject to unpredictable circumstances. We are visiting churches where funerals and weddings are held and choir practice and enthusiastic organists can disrupt our day. We shall try to work around these little problems but ask for your understanding should they occur. We would like to emphasise the fact that these cultural tours are organised for the benefit of members by an enthusiastic volunteer; they are not commercial operations and we will not be accompanied by a tour manager for the duration of our tour. We rely on participants to be self-reliant and independent. Participants who feel that they may need help should make arrangements for a companion to accompany them who is prepared to give them assistance.
All tours involve a significant amount of standing around in museums or walking, often over uneven cobbled streets – Avignon is a city full of cobbled streets. Participants on all tours should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and/or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest. If you or any member of your party has any medical condition you are expected to know the limit of your abilities and be sensible. Where appropriate, you should consider using taxis or other independent transport.
Dr Alexandra Gajewski lives in France, her main interest being mediaeval architecture. She has published on the Cistercian Abbey of Le Lys and on Cistercian architecture in Anjou and Cîteaux, inter alia. She completed a PhD in Gothic architecture in Northern Burgundy at the Courtauld Institute and is currently leading tours with a number of organisations.