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Neighborhoods of Venice, Paris, and London: Discovering Hidden Gems

Session 2 of 3-Session Evening Course

Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1M2025B
The San Paolo district has been the site of Venice’s main market since 1097

Venice, Paris, and London are made up of historic and evocative neighborhoods that linger in the imagination, whether or not you have ever set foot in them. Each of these capitals of great empires exerted immense influence on world taste, culture, the arts, and economics. In return, they gathered within their city walls (and waterways) countless extraordinary artistic and culinary treasures, many of which are now forgotten. 

Even in districts as familiar as the the Piazza San Marco, Left Bank, or Trafalgar Square, there are special places and hidden gems that are beloved to locals but often overlooked by visitors.

Fred Plotkin, a popular Smithsonian speaker on culture, history, and music, has lived in and visited Venice, Paris, and London for more than 40 years. Join him for a richly illustrated series in which he looks at these places though the eyes of a flâneur, a French term for person whose casual strolls through city streets produce delight in their chance discoveries. He shares what he’s found on his strolls: churches, theaters, specialty shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, and unusual museums just a stone’s throw from world-famous landmarks.



More than most cities, Paris and its neighborhoods are an unmatched expression of the people who live there. Its 20 arrondissements each reflect their own history and character on streets that offer superb food and life—and plenty of charming surprises. There are beaches next to Notre Dame, vineyards in Montmartre, and small museums devoted to Delacroix, Hugo, Piaf, and even the invention of Braille. The city is also dotted with markets in cul-de-sacs that Parisians jealously guard.

If you are interested in other sessions or viewing the full course, click here.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)