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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. ...read more.


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 Tour. Arriving in Paris a Tourist would usually rent an apartment for weeks to several months. Day trips from Paris to the French countryside or to Versailles (the home of the French monarchy) were quite common. Visiting French and Italian royalty and British envoys was a popular pastime during the Tour. The homes of envoys were often utilised as hotels and food pantries, which annoyed the envoys, but there wasn't much they could do about such inconveniences brought on by their citizens. ...read more.


However, these other spots lacked the interest and historical appeal of Paris and Italy and had substandard roads that made travel much more difficult so they remained off most itineraries. While the goal of the Grand Tour was educational a great deal of time was spent in more frivolous pursuits such as extensive drinking, gambling, and intimate encounters. The journals and sketches that were supposed to be completed during the Tour were often left quite blank. Upon their return to England, Tourists were supposedly ready to being the responsibilities of an aristocrat. The Grand Tour as an institution was ultimately worthwhile for the Tour has been given credit for a dramatic improvement in British architecture and culture. The French revolution in 1789 marked the end of the Grand Tour for in the early nineteenth century, railroads totally changed the face of tourism and travel across the continent. ...read more.

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