Ancient Greek Culture Through the Journey of François-René de Chateaubriand
See Greece through the eyes of French writer and traveller, François-René de Chateaubriand!
In Greece everything is smooth; everything is softened; everything is as full of calm in nature as in the writings of the ancients. One almost sees why the architecture of the Parthenon possesses such happy proportions, why ancient sculpture is so little troubled, so peaceful, so simple, when one has seen the clear skies and graceful landscape of Athens, Corinth and Ionia”–
François-René de Chateaubriand
One summer morning, on the 10th of August 1806, a boat coming from Trieste dropped anchor off the coast of Methoni, in southern Peloponnese. A lonely passenger, wrapped in a long cloak, was standing on the bow staring at the distant land with a dreamy and impatient look, ready to disembark. In front of his eyes he saw a medieval town surrounded by half-ruined Gothic fortifications. “Not a boat in the harbour, not a man on the shore: everywhere silence, abandonment and neglect.” When he reached the shore he was greeted by a group of locals who all spoke at once and asked a thousand questions trying to understand who this enigmatic stranger was and why he was there.
This stranger was a restless, romantic dreamer and an adventure seeker, François-René de Chateaubriand, a French aristocrat and writer who had left Paris a month ago, with the dream to chase experiences and images of another era. What he wanted to see in Greece was Sparta and Athens, the two famous and rival cities of Greek antiquity. The impressions that he gained through this journey are included in his book “Record of a Journey from Paris to Jerusalem and Back”, a unique book that gives a really captivating account of Greece on the eve of the revolution against the Turkish occupation.
During the 22 days he spends in the Peloponnese and Central Greece, Chateaubriand is fascinated by ancient Greek culture and the Greek landscape. In every place he visits he is constantly searching to see the faces of Leonidas, Lycurgus, Themistocles etc and to relive the glory and splendour of Greek antiquity. Let’s take together this journey following in the footsteps of the romantic French writer François-René de Chateaubriand and explore the cities and the archaeological sites he visited.
Key highlights of this journey:
– Ancient Corinth and Mycenae
– Wine tasting in Nemea
– Ancient Sparta and Byzantine Mystras
– Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta
– Pylos, Methoni and Koroni
– Ancient Messene and Tegea
Departure6 Filellinon Street, Syntagma Square
Departure TimePlease arrive by 8:15 AM for a prompt departure at 8:30 AM.
Dress CodeCasual. Comfortable athletic clothing, hiking shoes, hat, light jacket.
Day 1: Corinth, Mycenae, Nemea
Day 2: Mystras and Sparta
Day 3: Koroni, Methoni, and Pylos
Day 4: Ancient Messene, Tegea and return to Athens
Here is a map with the places we visit during this half day tour