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  • Writer's pictureStephen Himes

Victor Hugo *Is* France

Post-Napoleon, no figure looms larger over the development of modern France than Victor Hugo. More than just the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (a work that is credited with saving the venerable church from being torn down), we was a Revolutionary, politician, and statesman who played a significant role in every iteration of the French state through both republics and monarchies. He envisioned a united European, giving speeches advocating for what today is the European Union.

Not only will we discover the hidden alleys of the barricades in Les Mis, but we will trace the steps of a young Hugo when he first heard the gunshots of the 1832 June Rebellion against the regime of King Louis-Philippe, running from the Tuileries (where he was writing) to the barricades in the streets around Les Halles. We'll explore the Paris underground that Hugo documents as the beginnings of modern Paris. And, when it opens, we will explore the majestic Notre Dame that Hugo likely saved.

Our journey, though, will begin in Brussells, where the exiled Hugo actually wrote much of Les Mis and produced a stage play. From there, we'll take the Eurostar to London to see the famous Delfont-Mackintosh version of the musical, and from there to Paris, ending with a dinner inside Victor Hugo's home itself, now a museum near the former site of the Bastille.

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