IVY: The World's First Social University
November 16 - 20, 2016
IVY Paris, International Arts & Culture Expedition to the City of Light
Long the mecca of the art world, Paris has been inspiring world-class artists and their work for centuries. In 2016, IVY explored the best of Parisian arts and culture through the lens of European artists, historians, and musicians, as we made lifelong friends and immersed ourselves in the best of French history, culture, cuisine, and nightlife. Our four-day, three-night expedition gave us insider access to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. From curatorial tête-a-têtes at the Louvre, to a ravishing dinner and dance party along the Seine, we were swept up in the reverie of Paris’ quintessential institutions. We learned from collection experts how featured masterworks fit in the grander scheme of art history and how to sketch, smudge, and snap our experiences during workshops with local artists who helped sharpen our creative eye.
To further fuel our imagination, we reveled in the world-renowned cabaret Le Lido and enjoyed VIP seats and backstage passes at Ducs de Lombards, an iconic reference on the jazz scene. From sunset cocktails overlooking the city to lunch in Le Jardin des Tuileries, each moment was as picturesque as the next. We embraced the Parisian skyline as we enjoyed a sumptuous, authentic French dinner inside the Eiffel Tower with Paris literally at our feet. And of course, we took everything to the next level in the bustling nightlife with fêtes in Bastille and the legendary Montmartre, including a rousing stop at the infamous Moulin Rouge. Throughout the weekend, IVY members received an immersive Parisian cultural experience, explored varied culinary delicacies, and promenaded in the evening’s shadows across The City of Light!
Day Two, Thursday
- Arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport early this morning. Meet our private guide and enjoy expedited immigration services to our private transport into the heart of Paname.
- Enjoy an overview of Paris, it’s artistic and political heritage, and fascinating tidbits from the funkiest neighborhoods to Napolean’s Tomb.
- Feast your eyes on the sparkling river Seine as we enjoy a delicious welcome brunch and Q&A session with a panel of young artists who have fallen in love with Paris. Pick their brains about the Paris arts scene, experiences training at La Sorbonne, and expertise in design.
- Enjoy a proper curatorial introduction to French art at Musée d’Orsay, which houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world. If the spirit of the Beaux-Arts train station the art is situated in doesn’t sweep you away, masterworks by Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, and Van Gogh surely will.
- Next we’ll stroll over to Musée de l’Orangerie to float further into impressionist heaven by the mesmerizing Water Lillies murals, known as the Nymphéas, painted by Claude Monet.
- Check-in and gussy up at our charming IVY hotel, headquarters for our aesthetic education in the heart of the city.
- Tonight, we will dine in style, witness to the world-renowned cabaret Le Lido, which has dazzled audiences since 1946. Words won’t do this spectacular justice, but perhaps envisioning 2 million crystals, 200 kilos of feathers, a grand orchestra of 45 instruments, and a stage full of “naughty but nice” dancers in stunning costumes will give you an idea. C'est magnifique!
Day Three, Friday
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Today we reconnoiter an institution that needs no introductions: the Louvre. Wander and wonder in the former palace of the Kings of France at a vast and rich collection of art from ancient civilizations, Islamic art and Western art from the Middle Ages until 1848. This deep look into the treasures of humanity—privately guided by a collection expert—just starts with Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, Aphrodite and Ramesses. Oh la la! As part of our private visit in the museum, we will take a beginner’s sketching class to improve your own artistic talent and create your own perfect memento. We’re sure your piece will have that certain je ne sais quoi.
- All that admiring will work up an appetite, which will be thoroughly sated during lunch in Le Jardin des Tuileries, the largest and oldest public garden in Paris.
- Walk back through the gardens and then along the Seine to our hotel.
- After freshening up at the hotel, take a champagne toast to the city at the top of the Eiffel Tower. This 360-degree sunset view from the most iconic monument in France will inspire pure joie de vivre.
- Next, we’ll descend a few floors for a group dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel, and learn about design and architecture with Paris at our feet.
- We’ll top our day with VIP, red carpet treatment at one of the classiest jazz clubs in Paris, Ducs des Lombards. Enjoy exclusive IVY seating in front of the stage, welcome cocktails, and a 90-minute performance followed by a discussion with the artists.
- For those energized by the performance, we’ll enjoy the bustling nightlife in Bastille until daybreak!
Day Four, Saturday
Paris, Je T’Aime
- Breakfast to begin our day that will traverse Paris by land and water.
- Take a walking photography tour from the Old Marais Quarter, the most beautifully preserved quarter of the city, to the winding Saint-Germain district, center of the existentialist movement. Learn how to use your smartphone as an extremely flexible photographic device as we discover medieval houses, historic churches, the Place des Vosges, famous cafés, and of course Notre Dame Cathedral. Professional photographers will lead us on the journey.
- After lunch, we take a curatorial tour of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the leading collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. Opened in 1977, we’ll learn about the visual arts, architecture, design, the major movements of the 20th century and new forms of design, sharpening our critical eye on the spectrum from surrealist to pop art.
- Head back to the hotel to freshen up.
- The river Seine is the lifeblood of Paris, and tonight we’ll experience how bewitching it can be over a candle-lit dinner cruise and dance party to live music. Enjoy fine cuisine and even finer wines as you admire the Notre Dame from a new view, the Conciergerie, the Louvre…Bon appétit!
- We continue our celebration of life with a long night out in Pigalle and Montmartre, including options to visit the infamous Moulin Rouge, Henri Toulouse de Lautrec’s favorite Divan du Monde, and other watering holes and dance clubs in the gritty shadow of Sacre-Coeur.
Day Five, Sunday
- IVY final picnic champagne brunch in the Jardin du Luxembourg, a 23-hectare garden where locals picnic and children sail toy boats in ornate basins.
- Optional tour to Versailles for those on later flights.
- Head to the airport, and depart to home destinations.
- All lodging in a highly rated, ornate hotel in the heart of Paris. Accommodations are double occupancy unless a single supplement is requested at an additional cost of $499.
- Most meals.
- Private bilingual guides and private transportation throughout the trip.
- Admission to all proposed activities and events.
- A full briefing packet for each IVY participant, including country information, final itinerary, logistical and contact information, reading list, packing list, and IVY-branded sketch pads for impromptu inspiration and sketching workshop.
Members are Responsible for:
- Airfare is an added cost due to the varied home destinations of travelers, although we can help arrange flights for members. The flights will leave in the late evening Wednesday, giving NYC, DC, and Chicago-based members a full day of work on Wednesday. The flights will return on Sunday, allowing members to connect back to home destinations by Sunday evening.
We believe everyone has limitless potential. Our mission is to trigger transformative ideas and collaborations that lead to unprecedented human unity, progress, and fulfillment. Through meaningful experiences with inspiring individuals, IVY provides a lifelong supply of new friendships, opportunities, and ideas.
"Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks." — Johann Gottfried von Herder