Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour – Facts


The novel starts in Chichester where Timothy lives. Chichester  is a cathedral city in West Sussex, in South-East England. One of the places that Timothy likes to walk along is the marina.

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Oliver, Timothy’s son, lives in Guildford. Guildford  is a large town in Surrey, located 43 km southwest of central London.

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Timothy decides to travel like some travellers from the eighteenth century who went on a Grand Tour. The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper class European young men of sufficient means and rank (or those of more humble origin who could find a sponsor), as well as young women if they were also of sufficient means, and accompanied by a chaperone, such as other family members, when they had come of age (about the age of 21 years old. The custom flourished from about 1660, until the advent of large-scale rail transport in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage.

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One of the travellers who he makes reference is Joseph Addison. Joseph Addison (1 May 1672 – 17 June 1719) was an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. One of his literary ventures was an account of his travels in Italy, Remarks on several parts of Italy, &c., in the years 1701, 1702, 1703, published in 1705 by Jacob Tonson, which was followed by an opera libretto titled Rosamund.

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Another guide that Timothy uses is Baedecker from 1904. Verlag Karl Baedeker, founded by Karl Baedeker on July 1, 1827, is a German publisher and pioneer in the business of worldwide travel guides. The guides, often referred to simply as “Baedekers”  contain, among other things, maps and introductions; information about routes and travel facilities; and descriptions of noteworthy buildings, sights, attractions and museums, written by specialists.

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Timothy leaves England from St Pancras Station.

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In Paris he is staying at the Hotel Plaza Athenée. The Hotel Plaza Athénée is a historic luxury hotel in Paris. It is located on 25 Avenue Montaigne, near the Champs-Élysées and Eiffel Tower.

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In Paris Timothy visits most of the places I also saw in my two visits to Paris.

Versailles, which is where he first meets Francine. Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France from 1682, when King Louis XIV moved the royal court from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789, within three months after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.

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Musée Rodin. The Musée Rodin in Paris, France, is a museum that was opened in 1919, dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Here he makes a reference to Van Gogh’s Dr Gachet and The Kiss.

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Notre Dame. Notre-Dame de Paris is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.

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The Louvre. In the Louvre Timothy is disappointed by the glass pyramid and the size of Mona Lisa. The Louvre  or the Louvre Museum  is the world’s largest museum and a historic monument in Paris.

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Montmartre. Montmartre  is a large hill in Paris‘s 18th arrondissemt. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded.

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In Montmartre he visit the cemetery where many famous people are buried. He mentions the graves of several famous people.

  • Hector Berlioz, a romantic composer.

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  • Edgar Degas, the painter

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  • Jacques Offenbach, another composer

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  • Nijinsky, a ballet dancer.

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He also visits the Bois de Bouloge. The Bois de Boulogne is a large public park located along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.

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The last day Francine invites him to the opera. The Paris Opera  is the primary opera company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV.

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The next destination for Timothy is Monaco where he stays at the Hotel Hermitage. The Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo is a prestigious and luxurious palace style Belle Époque in the heart of Monaco on the French Riviera .

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When he meets Archie, they are in Port Hercules. Port Hercules  is the only deep-water port in Monaco.

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Timothy also visits the Jardin Botanique. The Jardin Exotique de Monaco  is a botanical garden located on a cliffside in Monaco.

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When Archie takes to meet Rosamund, they drive along the Grand Corniche. The road that runs roughly between Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (east of Nice) along the sea to Monaco has been colloquially called The Corniche.

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Rosamund live sin Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a commune of the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France. Its tranquillity and warm climate make it a favourite holiday destination among the European aristocracy and international millionaires.

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Florence is another destination I have also visited. Timothy visits many of the places I also saw while I was there on holiday:

  • The Bronze doors of the Baptistery.  The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style. The Baptistry is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures. The south doors were created by Andrea Pisano and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The east doors were dubbed by Michelangelo the Gates of Paradise.

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  • It Duomo

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  • Boboli Gardens. The Boboli Gardens  is a park in Florence, Italy, that is home to a collection of sculptures dating from the 16th through the 18th centuries, with some Roman antiquities.

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Timothy makes continuous references to Forster’s A Room with a View when he is visiting Florence. A Room with a View is a 1908 novel by English writer E. M. Forster, about a young woman in the restrained culture of Edwardian era England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century.

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In Rome Timothy visits:

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  • The Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are a set of steps , climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.

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  • The Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in Vatican City. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected.

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  • The Fontana di Trevi. The Trevi Fountain  is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome,  designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 metres  high and 49.15 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.

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The novel ends in Bosham where Timothy moves in after returning from his trip. Bosham is a coastal village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex. Its land forms a broad peninsula projecting into natural Chichester Harbour where Bosham has its own harbour and inlet on the western side.

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