Book clubs travel

Is your book club dreaming of going to France?

I’ve talked to book clubs that have gone to Malmaison and Paris after reading the Trilogy, and others that have gone to Versailles after reading Mistress of the Sun. It’s not an impossible dream!

For two excellent travel guide suggestions, click here.

Scroll down for a few suggestions from my Research page to tempt you. Have fun—and be sure to report back. I’d love a report … with photos, of course.

A wealth of travel options are available for readers of Mistress of the Sun, which takes place in many of the most beautiful castles of the Loire Valley and Ile de France. (For details, see the map on the Mistress of the Sun page.) Here’s an account of a traveller who prepared for a trip to Versailles by reading Mistress of the Sun.

For readers of the Josephine B. Trilogy, Malmaison has been beautifully restored. It’s a day-trip from Paris. From Malmaison, one can walk to the church of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul in the village of Rueil-Malmaison to see Josephine’s and Hortense’s tombs. The Fondation Napoléon has set out an excellent travel itinerary for visiting Malmaison and other spots of interest in the area.

In Paris, I recommend a visit to Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes, formerly the Carmes Convent, where Josephine and her first husband were kept prisoner during the Terror. A guided tour took me deep into the crypts where skulls are on display in glass cases. In the reception area above, I could see the blood stains on the walls from the days of the Terror.

A visit to Plombieres-les-Bains, the spa Josephine frequented,  is a delightful experience. It’s still very much a simple mountain village, as it was in Josephine’s day. The food was excellent, the rates more than reasonable, and, of course, the many and varied spa treatments were a delight. For more on this, read my article, Mud Baths and Dusty Coffins: in Search of Josephine B.

In Martinique, Josephine’s homestead La Pagerie has been restored for tourists. In Trois-Islets, the church Josephine attended, the Eglise Notre-Dame-d-la-Délivrance, is on the central square.