The Grand Tour Of Europe Essay

830 words - 3 pages

The Grand Tour of Europe

Young English elite’s of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
often spent two to four years travelling 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.

Richard Lessels introduced the term Grand Tour in his 1670 book Voyage
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 travellers 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 centres 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.

A Tourist would not carry much money due to the risk of highway
robbers so letters of credit from their London banks were presented at
the major cities of the Grand Tour. Many Tourists spent a great deal
of money abroad and due to these expenditures outside of England; some
English politicians were very much against the institution of the
Grand...

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