Join film critic and cinema studies lecturer CJ Johnson in France, to discover the birthplace of cinema and attend one of the cinematic world’s most prestigious annual events.

At a Glance

  • Attend the internationally renowned Lumière Film Festival in Lyon, the cradle of cinematic history
  • Enjoy an excursion to the Beaujolais area and sample a variety of local wines
  • Discover Paris through a cinematic lens, including emblematic heritage cinemas
  • Enrich your experience with insights from your tour leader, film critic and lecturer CJ Johnson

Experience highlights of the week-long Lumière Film Festival, one of the largest international festivals of classic cinema, in Lyon, home of the Cinematograph. Wander through the Musée Lumière and learn about the Lumière brothers, the fathers of cinema and inventors of the revolutionary camera and projector.

Enjoy an excursion to the Beaujolais wine area and visit the thriving town of Beaune, one of the main cities of the Burgundy region.

Finally, explore Paris through a cinematic lens with a visit to the Cinémathèque Française and the private screening of François Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cents Coups (The Four Hundred Blows) at a local cinema.


This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.


10 – 19 October 2024 (10 days)

Tour leader

CJ Johnson

Tour Status


Book now


Arrive in Lyon on suggested flights and make your way to the hotel. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including travel insurance (a condition of travel), a private hotel transfer, accommodation before or after the tour and a room category upgrade.

In the late-afternoon, join your tour leader CJ Johnson and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing followed by dinner.


Start the day with a talk by CJ at the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, built in the 1st century BC during the reign of Emperor Augustus on Fourvière hill, in the heart of the Roman city. The theatre was dedicated to tragedies and comedies and could once seat 10,000 spectators.

Then, enjoy a guided tour of the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière, home to a wide-ranging collection of ancient artefacts found in the Rhône Valley as well as superb mosaics.

Enjoy lunch in one of the city’s famous bouchons (traditional Lyonnais restaurants), before embarking on a walking tour of the Mediæval and Renaissance district of Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), whose remarkable preservation has seen it inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Walk through the narrow cobbled alleyways and the famous traboules (passageways) that reveal superbly renovated architectural treasures.


Following a talk by CJ, enjoy a guided tour of the Musée Lumière, located in the Art Nouveau home of brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière. The museum explores the process of the invention of cinema and gives centre stage to the Cinematograph, the Lumière brothers’ most famous invention, that screened the first ten films on 28 December 1895 at the Grand Café in Paris before the 33 spectators of the first fee-paying public screening.

In the evening, attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Festival Lumière at the Halle Tony Garnier. Since its creation in 2009, the festival has been paying tribute to the history of cinema and those who have dedicated their lives to the art and craft of film. In the presence of special guests and cinema professionals, the ceremony launches a week of film screenings and retrospectives dedicated to great filmmakers, restored prints on the big screen, cinema concerts, master classes and exhibitions at the Village Festival in the Lumière Institute. Every year, the Lumière Award is presented to a personality of the cinema for his or her entire body of work. In 2023, Wim Wenders received the Lumière Award. Other winners have included Tim Burton, Jane Campion, Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne, Francis Ford Coppola, Jane Fonda, Wong Kar-wai, Catherine Deneuve, Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar, Quentin Tarantino, Ken Loach, Gérard Depardieu, Milos Forman and Clint Eastwood.


Today, learn about the inner workings of cinema at the Cinema and Miniature Museum, located inside a striking 16th-century UNESCO World Heritage building. The expansive collection of this one-of-a-kind museum founded by miniaturist artist Dan Ohlmann is home to numerous cinematic paraphernalia, including animatronics, masks, prostheses, robots, costumes, creatures and monsters of all kinds. Discover the secrets of Superman’s special effects from the 1970s and see the strange and wonderful aliens of the Men in Black films, as well as a number of items from the Star Wars series.

The afternoon is at leisure to further explore Lyon at your own pace.

In the evening, enjoy a film screening at one of Festival Lumière’s venues (full program will be available about one month prior to the festival).


Journey north of Lyon to the world-famous Beaujolais region, with more than 17,000 hectares of vines under cultivation. Visit a historic château and enjoy a wine tasting to appreciate the richness and diversity of the region’s wines. Return to Lyon after lunch.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.


Today is dedicated to Lyon as the ‘Food Capital of the World’. Enjoy a morning talk by CJ, before embarking on a guided tour of the historic covered market Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Learn about the country’s rich culinary culture, meet local producers and indulge in a variety of food tastings.

The afternoon is at leisure before another screening at one of Festival Lumière’s venues.


Depart Lyon for the beautiful walled city of Beaune, former residence of the Dukes of Burgundy until the 14th century. Visit the magnificent Hospices de Beaune, established in 1443 as a hospital to provide free care for the poor after the Hundred Years’ War. Incredibly, the Hospices carried on its medical activities until 1971.

Continue to Paris, arriving in the late afternoon.


The morning is at leisure.

In the afternoon, discover La Cinémathèque, housed in a striking, spacious cubist building designed by architect Frank Gehry and entirely devoted to cinema. The exhibition in Musée Méliès, within the Cinémathèque, takes you from the birth of cinema in 19th-century magic lanterns and optical illusions through to the first golden age of the Hollywood studios in the 1930s. Along the way are looped projections of silent films, a panoply of Kinetoscopes and Mutoscopes and a treasure trove of movie memorabilia collected by founder Henri Langlois.

Then, enjoy the private screening of François Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cents Coups (The Four Hundred Blows) with English subtitles at a local cinema. The 1959 coming-of-age drama and directorial debut of François Truffaut is one of the defining films of the French New Wave and is widely considered one of the best films ever made.


This morning, embark on a walking tour following the footsteps of François Truffaut. Stroll from the Trinity Church through his favourite neighbourhood to the Montmartre cemetery, where he is buried.

Then, join CJ and fellow travellers for a special farewell lunch.

The remainder of the day is free to further explore Paris at your own pace. You might want to take a walk along the banks of the River Seine; the right bank was historically associated with luxury, power and commerce, while the left bank was the traditional home of students and intellectuals.


Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.

For those returning home today, make your way to the airport for suggested flights to Australia or New Zealand. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour and travel insurance (a condition of travel).



Per person, twin-share

AUD 10,250

Single supplement

AUD 2,250

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 2,500

Final payment due

09 August 2024

Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us.

Tour price includes

  • Accommodation in centrally-located 4-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
  • Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner), including wines with dinners
  • Tickets to the Opening Ceremony of Festival Lumière and to selected film screenings (program to be announced one month prior)
  • Lectures and talks by your tour leader, CJ Johnson
  • Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and wait staff
  • Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour price does not include

  • International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
  • Airport porterage
  • Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, room service, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
  • Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)


Your hotels
Lyon – Hotel Carlton Lyon – MGallery****
Paris – Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel****

N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.

More Details

Tour code: AG2413

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions here.

Suggested airline: Emirates
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.

Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit France.

Download booking form here.


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