Oscar Wilde’s London and Paris
the gay history and art of Europe’s two great cities
Next tour: August. 14-22 2018
“Every day was such a feast for the senses and we learned so much from the incomparable Andrew Lear, that we are already looking forward to our next journey with Oscar Wilde Tours.” — Ken A.
Europe’s two great capitals each played a central part in the rise and fall of the great gay martyr (and great author!) Oscar Wilde. They have also had an outsize role in gay history and culture, from Shakespeare and Henri III to Yves Saint Laurent and Stephen Fry. Explore Wilde’s fascinating life and the gay culture of two of the world’s greatest cities, with our nine day tour of Oscar Wilde’s London and Paris.
Gay London: City of Triumph and Tragedy
London and Oxford (which we also visit) were the stages for Wilde’s greatest triumphs as a dandy, wit, and playwright; his arrest, trial, and imprisonment also took place here, and we will see many places that had a role in this story as we explore the city’s rich gay history. We begin our visit to the British capital with an amazing tour of Westminster Abbey, where we see graves and monuments of fascinating people ranging from James I’s favorite George Villiers (Duke of Buckingham) to Mr. Wilde, to whom a window was dedicated in 1995. This launches a series of walking tours that explore the city’s gayest neighbourhoods and monuments, including Oscar Wilde’s haunts in St. James and a guided tour of the numerous gay greats in The National Portrait Gallery.
In the next days, we’ll wander a bit further afield, to Oxford, where we tour the university while learning about its fascinating gay greats—and others, such as Lewis Carroll. Our visit to Wilde’s (and Tolkien’s) college is highlight. We also visit Bletchley Park, where the gay war hero and inventor of the modern computer Alan Turing helped save the world from Nazism.
From same-sex love in Renaissance England to the spy scandals of the 1950s, you’ll encounter Britain’s gay history hiding in plain sight—and see how that history shaped modern gay identity. And of course we’ll leave you enough time to discover the pubs, shopping and hidden corners of contemporary London, one of the most exciting cities on the planet.
Gay Paris: City of Liberation and Refuge
Art, architecture, fashion, cuisine—the history of Paris is the history of the modern world. It is also the city that revolutionized modern attitudes to sex and sexuality. And as a result, it is where Wilde found refuge after his fall (as many others did for similar reasons before and after).
We begin our visit with a walking tour of the Left Bank, from the studio of Gertrude Stein to the café where James Baldwin wrote Giovanni’s Room, and finally to the hotel where Wilde lived his last, sad years and finally died. The next day takes us across the Seine, to Père Lachaise Cemetery—Wilde’s final resting place as well as that of countless other fascinating people, gay (such as Proust and Gertrude Stein) and not (such as Chopin and Jim Morrison). We follow this with a visit to the Marais, the heart of today’s gay Paris.
We’ll then head to the nearby countryside of the Loire Valley to visit the castles associated with France’s gayest king, Henri III, and gay genius Leonardo Da Vinci (including Chenonceau, the best preserved of all France’s royal castles). Finally, back in Paris we’ll have a “Gay Secrets” tour of the Louvre (like Oscar Wilde Tours’ well-known tour of the Metropolitan Museum), following gay themes from the ancient Greeks to Renaissance French kings to surprising homoerotic works from Napoleon’s France. Naturally we will also leave you time to explore Paris on your own, to indulge your taste for food, shopping or more art and culture!
In both cities, we will stay in specially selected hotels and dine in exceptional restaurants—with all breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners included. Our farewell dinner in is in one of Paris’ most charming restaurants—a fitting end to a journey that will introduce you to a Paris and London that you never imagined even existed.
To learn more, contact us at email@example.com or (646)560-3205.
Group Size: Maximum 16
Single Supplement may apply
Please note that this tour includes daily walking tours of cities and museums.
Gay History and Art Tours of:
* Westminster Abbey
* The National Portrait Gallery
* The British Museum and Bloomsbury
* Bletchley Park
* The Left Bank
* Père Lachaise Cemetery
* The Loire Valley
* The Louvre Museum
Frequently Asked Questions
click on the question to reveal the answer
Who Is Professor Andrew Lear?
Professor Andrew Lear combines a love of travel with a passion for gay history, and he brings both of those attributes to Oscar Wilde Tours.
Professor Lear holds a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from UCLA. He has published a widely praised book on male-male love in ancient Greek art, as well as a number of important scholarly articles in this area… READ MORE
What is included?
Our tour starts and ends at our Paris hotel. It includes hotel accommodation; 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, a welcome tea in London and a farewell dinner in Paris; services of escort and local guides; admission to all sights on the tour, and transportation to them (by taxi, minibus, and train).
What meals are included?
Breakfast is included every day in our tours, and on most days we include either lunch or dinner, according to the itinerary. On this tour we include 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, a welcome tea in London and a farewell dinner in Paris.
What is the level of the hotels?
Our hotels are chosen for excellent 4* quality, historic charm, and central location.
Is this a good tour for single travelers?
Singles are very welcome! Our groups generally consist of a mix of couples and singles, and there is generally a nice group ethos, so no-one will ever feel left out. Single rooms are available, with a supplement; we are also happy to try to find you a room-mate if you would prefer.
Will we have any free time to explore on our own?
In each city, we include a free afternoon, so you can explore, shop, or visit museums not included in the tour.
Is this tour designed for first-time visitors?
We try to design our tours both for repeat and first-time visitors. We include a number of lesser-known sights, but also major sights—which we see from the perspective of their often ignored gay history.
Who is this tour a good fit for?
Our tours focus on LGBT history and art and are designed for groups of LGBT people. They are however open to the LGBT-friendly as well.
Is this a good tour for people with difficulty walking?
All of the main sights in the tour are visited on foot, on walking or museum tours. There may be uneven ground, for instance in archaeological sites, and steps in some museums or historic houses. The amount of walking is not, however, excessive: we rarely exceed 2 miles a day. We travel from site to site by train or air conditioned bus (or at times, in major cities, in fleets of taxis or limousines).
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