Many of us travel for relaxation or to spend time with our families. However, travel is and always has been a way to broaden our horizons, learn about the world and be inspired. It teaches us new ways of doing things. Have you ever been to a McDonald’s in Europe? You order from a kiosk and then go pick up your food – very cool. Seen DaVinci’s inventions? Travel teaches you about so many things that I think make you a well rounded person – politics, literature, art, theater, geography, cuisine, science and more. While we do not send our children to Europe for 2 years traveling Europe, it is still important to see the world to be inspired and well rounded. Here is an article on the original Grand Tour.
Grand Tour of Europe
The Travels of 17th & 18th Century Twenty-Somethings
By Matt Rosenberg
Young English elites of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries often spent two to four years traveling around Europe in an effort to broaden their horizons and learn about language, architecture, geography, and culture in an experience known as the Grand Tour. The Grand Tour began in the sixteenth century and gained popularity during the seventeenth century.
The term Grand Tour was introduced by Richard Lassels in his 1670 bookVoyage to Italy. Additional guidebooks, tour guides, and the tourist industry were developed and grew to meet the needs of the 20-something male and female travelers and their tutors across the European continent. The young tourists were wealthy and could afford the multiple years abroad. They carried letters of reference and introduction with them as they departed from southern England.
The most common crossing of the English Channel (La Manche) was made from Dover to Calais, France (the route of the Channel Tunnel today). A trip from Dover across the Channel to Calais and onto Paris customarily took three days. The crossing of the Channel was not an easy one. There were risks of seasickness, illness, and even shipwreck.
The Grand Tourists were primarily interested in visiting those cities that were considered the major centers of culture at the time – Paris, Rome, and Venice were not to be missed. Florence and Naples were also popular destinations. The Grand Tourist would travel from city to city and usually spend weeks in smaller cities and up to several months in the three key cities. Paris was definitely the most popular city as French was the most common second language of the British elite, the roads to Paris were excellent, and Paris was a most impressive city to the English.
The tours that The Family Odyssey offers are based on some of the cities that people thought were important to see and I think still are – Paris, London and Rome. We have also added a few of nature’s wonders as well simply because they are magnificent. We hope you will plan your own Grand Tour this summer.