GUEST BLOG – French Immersion with Sean Forester, Lisa Pasold and Ann Kirkland

In Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris, the central character gets into a taxi and finds himself transported back to the 1920s. He walks into a cafe and sits down next to his literary heroes Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. Wow. But then he meets a beautiful girl who dreams not of the 1920s but of the 1880s–La Belle Epoque–and they are transported again to the earlier era of Degas and Zola.

Belle Epoque apartment in Paris

Well, as the saying goes, great minds think alike. After three successful Classical Pursuits trips to Paris to examine the ‘Lost Generation’ of expats writers of the 20s, we will travel further back to the glittering Belle Epoque. From classicism and romanticism to realism, impressionism and art nouveau, Paris in 1885 was the centre of European culture. The 19th Century was a time of tumult and change, and Paris was the place where cultures and ideas collided to give birth to the modern world. We will look at some of the great French painters, sculptors, and writers of the time. We will also focus on Americans in Paris such as Whistler, Sargent, Cassat, and Saint-Gaudens.

Sean Forester

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Sean Forester, a classical painter and frequent leader for both Toronto Pursuits and Travel Pursuits. I teach at the Golden Gate Atelier in San Francisco and am planning a summer program in Paris for young realist painters. Along with Lisa Pasold, Paris resident, poet, and walking guide extraordinaire, and Ann Kirkland, I’d like to invite you to join us in Paris next September for La Belle Epoque in Paris.


Paris Street; Rainy Day, by Gustave Caillbotte

As we wander through the museums, churches and streets of the French capital, I’ll try to help you see art as a practicing artist sees it. During our week together, we will have much fun exploring the people and places of the the Belle Epoque through its painting, sculpture and literature. Would you like an amuse-bouche? Here are two books and an opera that give you a taste from the comfort of your arm chair. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough and Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris  by Graham Robb. Check out this full-length classic Met production of La Boheme, portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s.

***This is Ann speaking to urge you not to delay. We want to confirm needed rooms in our perfect left bank hotel, Le Trianon Rive Gauche.  Call Tenney at Worldwide Quest to register today. 1.800.387.1483 or email





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