School of History, Philosophy and Culture

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  • Field trips

    One of the highlights of the course is our field trip to Paris, which takes place in the Easter vacation in your second year. We usually stay in a characterful hostel in the Marais, a charming and historic district which is within easy reach of the Louvre and Notre Dame. Students undertake an intensive programme of guided gallery visits and architectural walks.

    Visits vary from year to year, but generally include:

    • The Sainte-Chapelle
    • Renaissance paintings in the Louvre
    • The Musée du Quai Branly
    • The Pompidou Centre (Musée National d’Art Moderne)
    • The Panthéon
    • The Musée Rodin
    • The Musée d’Orsay
    • Monet’s Waterlilies in the Orangerie

    Travel and accommodation for the Field Trip are provided free for History of Art students.

    Field trips

    One of the more unusual optional visits on the Field Trip takes us to a large cemetery just outside central Paris. Père Lachaise was laid out in the early nineteenth century, at a time when the old cemeteries in the centre of Paris were becoming so over-crowded that the packed corpses had begun to burst through the basement walls of neighbouring houses. By contrast the spacious and hilly setting of Père Lachaise gave its designers the chance to lay out a beautifully landscaped cemetery featuring winding paths and trees. The designers of the tombs responded in kind, producing an extraordinary range of fascinating monuments. As a result it became fashionable to visit Père Lachaise, and still more fashionable to be buried there, with the result that many of Paris’s most famous nineteenth and twentieth-century inhabitants now rest there. One of the most intriguing aspects of the visits is seeing the ongoing relevance of some of the tombs for today’s visitors – from the lipstick kisses adorning the tomb of Oscar Wilde to the spliffs tucked optimistically into the tomb of Jim Morrison. Alongside the tombs of the famous are the profoundly moving tombs to the unnamed – to the poor of Paris, and to the deported victims of the Nazis. Away from the noise and crowds of central Paris, a visit to the cemetery of Père Lachaise offers us the chance to spend a peaceful and sometimes very moving afternoon contemplating the artistic commemoration of the dead.

    Harry Mount, Programme Lead in History and History of Art