The New Age Grand Tour: How to Holiday like an Aristocrat
The Grand Tour: A 17th-19th century custom of tradition, a coming-of-age trip through Europe for the higher nobility of British society, a defining journey in search of art, history and philosophy… now principally recognised as the name of a television show about fast cars.
The original Grand Tour, of which we speak, began in the latter half of the Stuart period and was considered to be an educational rite of passage undertaken by young aristocrats of society. Beginning in France and heading Eastward, this European escapade was particularly popular for its once in a lifetime opportunity to lay eyes on Roman sculptures and Renaissance artwork.
Walk in the footsteps of British noblemen and allow Penhaligon’s to chaperone you on this new age Grand Tour. Albeit, unlike their troop of servants, we shan’t be so obliged to wash one’s socks after a hike up the Alps (though we may be able to assist with the smell).
Stop 1: France
French was the superior language for the elite during this period and thus a trip to delight in France’s fine art was the first port of call. Quite unlike us, this well-to-do bunch would travel via riverboat to the Alps, either travelling up the Sienna or up the Rhine River to Basil. Today? One is quite happy to nip over by plane, a spectacular view may be lacking but duty free is what really sets the tone of a holiday.
Stop 2: Italy
After a brief sojourn up to Lake Geneva, one’s tutor was almost certain to recommend a stopover in Italy. For the Englishmen “of quality”, an Anglo-Italian society was waiting to greet them in Florence. So forth, the noble tourist would bumble about the country in search of culture and ancient roman architecture, eventually finishing this chapter in Venice, the epitome of the Grand Tour. If one should so choose to journey down the boot today, they may soak up the same sites as their ancestors years ago.
Stop 3: Greece
If one was so lucky that his lineage acquired a yacht, he might attempt an intermission in Greece. Waited on hand and foot, the heir to a family of fortune should be well advised to stick to the shade (they were yet to discover the magic healing powers of aftersun or a cold power shower.
Stop 4: Germany
Finally prepared to face the British weather once more, the day soon arrives that our travelling tourist makes his long journey back to the cliffs of Dover, but not before stopping over in Germany, of course. A period of study is required at one of Munich’s leading Universities, a final test in the gent’s very trying travels. Not to worry though, these days the city is great place to celebrate Oktoberfest, should your return home be slightly later than planned.
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