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This year's weekend trip will be to Alsace.


On Friday, we'll travel by TGV to the the charming town of Colmar, called the "Venice of France" because of the lovely canals and beautiful architecture. After checking in to our hotel, you'll have a walking tour introduction to the town. Dinner is hosted by ESA at the hotel.

On Saturday, a bus will pick us up and take us to visit three Alsatian villages. First stop: Eguisheim, ranked as one of the prettiest villages in France, where you'll find plenty of sites for fun photos and charming cafés for lunch. Then on to Riquewihr, situated on the Route de Vins. Finally, we'll stop at the famous Beauvillé textile factory in Ribeauvillé for souvenirs. You can pick up a tea towel, a tablecloth or other linens at great prices compared to retail. Free time for dinner back in Colmar.

On Sunday, you can have a leisurely morning at the hotel, take a last stroll through Colmar, or join us for a visit to the Unterlinden Museum where the Isenheim Alterpiece, painted by Mathias Grunewald will astonish you with its beautiful colors and ominous depictions of life in Hell.  After lunch (on your own), catch the TGV back home to Paris.

Image by Shalev Cohen
Image by Vered Caspi



 Albert Kahn Gardens  

Day Trip:
Chateau de Maintenon

The history of Madame de Maintenon is the stuff of fairytales. The widow of the poet Scarron, Françoise d’Aubigné, was initially appointed as governess for the illegitimate children of the King and Madame de Montespan (his mistress).


After several years of tireless devotion to her work, she earned the recognition and then the love of the Sun King, and they secretly married. The “secret wedding” was not so secret, however: it was the talk of the Court, and the news even reached the Pope, who sent the couple wedding gifts. The story of Madame de Maintenon is one of a governess who became the King's wife!

Choose between

Malmaison &

Chateau de Vincennes

For our second excursion day, you'll be able to choose between one of these two sites just outside Paris:

* Malmaison (right):  See the home of the Bonapartes where Joséphine tried to cultivate "the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe" while her husband, Napoléon, was conquering Europe.


* Chateau de Vincennes (left) & (optional) Mini-Golf. Visit the medieval chateau that was the home of kings, as well as a famous prison. Afterwards, visit the Parc Floral and play a round of mini-golf.

Photo of Empress Josephine (right): Pierre Poschadel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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