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Private Paris: Exemplary Private Sites, Residences, Châteaux & Gardens

Exclusive Cultural Tours

Discover Our 2017 Selection of Exclusive Programs


We are pleased to announce the 2017 Schedule of our unique cultural travel programs, sponsored by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, offering unprecedented, behind the scenes access to exemplary historical sites and exquisite private residences.

We will discover the highest level of architecture, décor, rare art collections, gardens and cultural significance, both classical and contemporary, accompanied by expert lecturers. We will be welcomed by distinguished and influential hosts for privileged lunch and dinner receptions at their sumptuous homes, private palaces, villas, and chateaux celebrated for their unparalleled architecture, glorious interiors, museum-quality art collections, and admirable gardens.

"Andalusia: Exceptional Historic Sites, Estates & Gardens: Granada, Cordoba & Seville"

May 6th to 13th: 8 days & 8 nights
+ Optional Extension "Tangier": May 13th to 16th: 4 days & 4 nights
Join an intimate group of connoisseurs for our momentous discovery of the Treasures of Andalusia, during which we will be received by members of the “Grande de España” families and the cultural elite for private visits of historic, emblematic estates and world-renowned cultural sites, offering a rare opportunity to be inspired by unique architecture, décor, art collections and gardens in Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
Our unique discoveries will be lead by foremost lecturers:
Dr. Serena Van Buskirk, a Fulbright Scholar, resident of Andalusia since 1994, completed her doctoral research on the use of traditional ceramics in the decoration of houses, gardens and ritual displays in Granada. She received degrees in the History of Art and in the Anthropology of Art from Oxford, Vanderbilt and Indiana Universities. Dr. Van Buskirk trained as a museum curator in Oxford and America. She has recently contributed to a book commissioned by the Alhambra on its extensive oral history.
Dr. Cristina Leal, expert in Andalusian history, culture, architecture, art, and gardens, and chairwoman of the Portuguese Association of Tourist Guides, completed a Master's degree in History of Art with a particular focus on the origin and development of glazed tile patterns and techniques in the Iberian Peninsula, including the islamic period. Dr. Leal also completed a Masters' degree on the 16th century European maritime explorations.
Draw inspiration from our exclusive access to singular exemplars of Andalusian architecture, art and gardens, and our privileged encounters with their distinguished owners. Enjoy the breathtaking archeological sites and sceneries, the numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites cradled by high Sierras and lush landscapes, as well as refined culinary experiences in the region, and reside in Andalusia’s luxurious 5-star hotels.
In addition to its great natural beauty, Andalusia has figured prominently in the history of nearly all of the most important civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. As the southern-most region of Spain, its proximity to North Africa has contributed to its rich cultural history. The successive influences from Roman, Moorish, Iberian, and early Christian civilizations have shaped Andalusian traditions, music, art and architecture that endure today. We will explore the significant role of Moorish elements, and admire how seamlessly and elegantly they contribute to this wondrous Andalusian architectural style.
In the 19th century, Andalusia’s culture and unique blend of Moorish and European aesthetic came to be widely viewed as the Spanish culture par excellence. Its impact went even beyond Spanish borders. Many leading architects of Southern California’s Golden Age were inspired by the monasteries, country estates, and simple farm houses of Andalusia; as evidenced by the great houses and missions of this period.


"Private Paris: Exemplary Private Sites, Residences, Châteaux & Gardens"

Friday, June 9th to Saturday, June 17th: 8 days & 8 nights
Back by popular demand, ICAA’s "Private Paris & Beyond" tour offers unrivaled access to the finest classical architecture, decorative arts and gardens in and around Paris, including exclusive visits and receptions with prominent officials, private collectors and acclaimed lecturers.
For eight extraordinary days, "Private Paris & Beyond" will offer participants expert-led, behind-the- scenes visits to outstanding examples of French classical architecture by notable architects François Mansart, Louis Le Vau, Antoine Lepautre, Jules Hardouin Mansart, Ange-Jacques Gabriel and Claude- Nicolas Ledoux, as well as highlights of the 1930s and contemporary architecture.
Guests will enjoy exclusive access to ambassadorial residences, renowned French institutions, private residences and châteaux of distinction, most inaccessible to the public, owned by French aristocracy and distinguished art collectors. With our hosts and expert lecturers, we will view the highest level of décor, rare art collections and gardens and enjoy private receptions, music recitals and dinners with the owners.

"Genoa, Turin & Milan: Exceptional Private Estates, Gardens & Historic Sites"

Sunday, October 15th to Sunday October 21st: 7 days & 7 nights
+ Optional Extension "The Lakes": October 21st to 25th: 5 days & 5 nights
We are pleased to announce our significant and privileged discovery of the Treasures of Northern Italy, accompanied by Contessa Violante Balbo Di Vinadio, during which will be received by members of the Italian cultural elite for exclusive visits of historic, emblematic estates, offering a rare opportunity to savor unique architecture, décor, art collections and gardens in Genoa, Turin, Milan and Lake Como & an optional extension to Lake Maggiore.
Our Expert Lecturer:
John R. Tschirch is an award-winning architectural historian, writer and photographer, specializing in exemplary residences and landscapes. His thirty-year career in historic preservation has brought him across the globe for the study of cultural heritage sites--from Italy, France and Austria to Croatia and Argentina. John has lectured on Peter Paul Ruben's engravings of the palaces of Genoa, Leonardo da Vinci's drawings for Duchy of Milan and the architectural masterpieces of Filippo Juvarra in Turin. His work has been featured in the Magazine Antiques, Antiques and Fine Art, and the New York Times. John Tschirch received his M.A. in Architectural History and Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia. He also teaches the History of Architecture and Decorative Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design.

"Japan: Architectural, Decorative Arts & Garden Treasures"

Friday, November 10th to Sunday, November 19th: 10 days & 10 nights
We are pleased to announce our exclusive discovery of the treasures of Japan, during which will be received by members of the Japanese cultural elite for exclusive visits of historic estates, offering a rare opportunity to savor unique architecture, art collections and gardens – in Kyoto, Nara, Naoshima Island, Nikko and Tokyo.
Private Naples: Exemplary Palaces, Villas, Gardens & Archeological Sites

Discover Our Preliminary 2018 Schedule


Please note that this Preliminary Schedule is subject to change.

"Morocco: Outstanding Private Residences & Gardens: Tangier, Taroudant and Marrakech"

April 19th to 29th, 2018: 10 days & 10 nights
with Dr. Cristina Leal and Dr. Serena Van Buskirk
The US and Morocco share a rare and long standing bond – The Kingdom of Morocco was the first country to recognize United States nationhood and was host to the world's first US embassy. Gateway to Africa, Morocco's exotic melting pot of wide-ranging peoples and cultures, and its legendary tolerance of all religions, throughout the centuries, has culminated in a country of exceptional richness, depth and diversity.
A unique experience, our unprecedented program opens the doors to many of Morocco's most exquisite private residences and gardens, never accessible to the public, celebrated for their unique and unparalleled architecture, glorious interiors, museum-quality art collections, and lush gardens with stunning views. This privileged program reveals the history and culture of Morocco as well as the splendid private lives of our illustrious hosts.
Accompanied by experts, for nine extraordinary days and nights, we will be welcomed into the luxurious intimate worlds of renowned interior designers, landscape architects, European aristocrats, international private collectors and aesthetes, in the exotic cities of Tangier, Taroudant and Marrakech for privileged visits, lunches and dinners.

"The French & Italian Rivieras: Emblematic Private Villas, Estates and Gardens"

Saturday, June 16th to Sunday, June 24th, 2018: 8 days & 8 nights with expert lecturer and author Caroline Holmes
+ Optional Extension: "French Provence: Exemplary Private Residences & Gardens": June 24th to 27th, 2018; 3 days & 3 nights, with expert lecturer Pierre-Jean Cornuat
We are pleased to present our exclusive discovery of the treasures of the French & Italian Rivieras during which we will be received by distinguished owners and members of the cultural elite for exclusive visits of historic estates, offering a rare opportunity to savor unique architecture, art collections and gardens.
Our Expert lecturers
Caroline Holmes is a garden and architectural historian, author of many reference books, including “Follies of Europe – architectural extravaganzas” (2008), “Monet at Giverny” (2011), “Impressionists in their Gardens” (2012) and “Water Lilies and Bory Latour-Marliac, the genius behind Monet’s Water Lilies” (2015). Caroline Holmes lectures at Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education, the NADFAS and the Landmark Trust, and is a regular contributor to BBC television and radio. Caroline Holmes will accompany us during our main program, June 3rd to 12th.
Mary-Lynn Riley is a specialist in 19th- and 20th-century modern and contemporary art. She completed her Master of Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and worked at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, before moving to France where she teaches art courses and art appreciation workshops for adults at the Musée Bonnard in Le Cannet and the Espace de l’Art Concret at Mouans-Sartoux. Mary-Lynn Riley will accompany us during our extension program, June 12th to 15th.

"Private Naples: Exemplary Palaces, Villas, Gardens & Archeological Sites"

Saturday, Sept. 15th to Sunday, Sept. 23rd; 8 days & 8 nights
with expert lecturer Antonella Rizzo
Breathtaking Naples' rich and captivating history dates back 3,000 years and bears the mark of the great early civilizations and Europe's most powerful royal families. Yet behind this ancient port city's legendary palaces and castles, monuments and archeological sites lies a Naples accessible only to the privileged few. Our unique program will offer an intimate group of discerning travelers exclusive access to sites of unparalleled historic importance and incomparable beauty in Naples, Ravello, Positano, Caserta, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Phlegraean Fields—many listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
By personal invitation, we will be received by Italian nobility and esteemed members of the Neapolitan cultural elite for private visits, luncheons, receptions and dinners in their exemplary private palazzi and villas with stunning décor, museum-quality art and antiques, spectacular gardens and breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples. We will travel to the gorgeous towns of Ravello and Positano, which have inspired centuries of artists and writers.
Guided by our expert lecturers, we will enjoy behind-the-scenes visits to outstanding monuments and museums in Naples and the surrounding areas to observe some of Europe’s finest masterpieces of architecture, art and sculpture, interior and garden design, as well as several of the world's foremost archeological sites.

"Venice and the Veneto: Emblematic Private Palaces & Villas"

Saturday, October 6th to Sunday, October 14th, 2018; 8 days & 8 nights
with expert lecturer Contessa Giuliana di Thiene
Fascinating Venice and Veneto, priding a rich heritage of art, architecture, and décor, are ultimately unique. Beyond the usual tourist ventures, there is a secret Venice and Veneto, known to Venetians of nobility and the privileged few.
As a participant of this exclusive program, you will have the opportunity to join an intimate group of discerning travelers and be invited by members of the esteemed cultural and social world of the Veneto and Venice to private visits, luncheons, cocktail receptions, and dinners in magnificent villas and palazzi of Venetian nobility, rarely opened to outside visitors, accompanied by a historian of the Venetian community.
Following the 500th anniversary of the birth of the great Italian classical architect Andrea Palladio, we will enjoy seven days of private visits and receptions in the most important Palladian villas in the Veneto and in palazzi in Venice, with their proprietors, specially organized for you.
We will observe the development of Venetian art, décor and architecture through its beginnings to the emergence of the Renaissance and the peak of Venetian heritage in the 16th and the 18th centuries.
Countess Giuliana di Thiene, expert lecturer and member of Venetian nobility, will guide us throughout this unique cultural travel program to the Veneto region and to Venice.
For the first three nights, we will stay in the picturesque, medieval town of Asolo, “city of a thousand landscapes”, set on gentle hills that inspired Titian and Giorgione, offering stunning views of the countryside. We will reside at the 4-star luxury hotel Villa Cipriani, originally built during the Palladian period, once home to the famous poet Robert Browning, perched above Asolo, surrounded by stunning gardens, offering a peaceful setting with spectacular views and warm hospitality, providing access to the villas of the Veneto region.
For the remaining four nights in Venice, we will reside at the 4-star luxury Starhotels Splendid Venice, recently handsomely renovated, situated near Piazza San Marco, rated by “Trip Advisor” as the top 18th hotel out of 450 in Venice. The welcoming and attentive staff will make our stay even more memorable.
Please note:
My highly exclusive cultural travel programs are destined for knowledgeable, cultivated, and discerning individuals who have already visited at least once, as tourists, the destinations that I offer.  For the full appreciation of the highly privileged private visits and receptions with our distinguished hosts that I offer, it is better to have a knowledge of the destination and the historic sites that are open to the public--which we do not visit, unless on the day that is not open to the public.  
Because of the exclusivity of my significant programs, and to assure quality exchanges with our distinguished hosts and experts, the maximum number is set at 21 participants.
Japan: Architectural, Decorative Arts & Garden Treasures

Welcome To Exclusive Cultural Tours

Resident of France for over 25 years, Pamela Huntington Darling specializes in creating and organizing exclusive, custom-designed cultural travel programs in Europe for distinguished travellers, connoisseurs, corporations, and museums. These incomparable events and travel programs take place in eminent and celebrated cultural sites—both public and private—with the intervention of leaders, officials, and experts whether in the area of the Arts, gastronomy, fashion, sports, government, or industry.
Pamela Darling specializes in meeting the needs of her clients from planning and conception through implementation of the most appropriate and effective cultural travel programs. Based on the interests of the client and participants, Pamela Huntington Darling and her associates create one-of-a-kind, incomparable programs and events—in the most timely and cost-effective manner—including cultural, leisure and sporting activities, business meetings, with the intervention of high-level officials, experts, and art historians.
These unique and privileged travel programs can last 1 to 8 days and can be organized in a leisurely or highly sophisticated fashion. The number generally ranges from 8 to 18 participants. For a special reception, the number of participants can range from 8 to 1,500:
• Custom-designed cultural travel programs for 6 or more participants;
• Exclusive receptions ranging from 8 to 800 participants;
• Major corporate or institutional events ranging for up to 1,500 participants.
Pamela Huntington Darling provides privileged, unequaled access to government and private institutions, coveted privately owned town residences and country chateaux with their proprietors, private collectors, and officials, internationally renowned Champagne and wine estates, luxury institutions, and exclusive private clubs. Innovation, quality, and taste are the hallmarks of her programs. Examples of events include:
• Private visits and receptions with their official hosts in renowned museums, embassies, government institutions, art galleries, and luxury product institutions;
• Visits and receptions in exclusive private residences and chateaux with their distinguished proprietors—collectors of the Arts—and renowned architects and artists;
• Luncheons or dinners in exclusive, private clubs; such as, the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée, the Jockey Club, the Travellers Club, and the Polo Club de Paris;
• Private visits and cocktail receptions at world-renowned fashion houses;
• Private tours, Champagne and wine-tasting ceremonies and luncheons in prestigious wineries and chateaux with their hosts;
• Gala evenings in world-renowned chateaux, museums and private mansions.
Recognized by American and French officials as a trusted professional providing premier quality service, Pamela Darling is known for delivering the event or travel program in the timeliest, precise, and most cost-effective manner.

About Pamela Huntington Darling

Pamela Huntington Darling is a prominent member of the French and American community. Dedicated to the Arts, she is a long-standing member and donor of the Chateau of Versailles, the “Demeure Historique” —association of the most important owners of private chateaux in France, the Paris Opera Association, the Decorative Arts Museum, the Orsay Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Center, the quai Branly Museum, and the Louvre Museum. Ms. Darling is a long-time member of prominent French-American organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce in France, American Club of Paris, National Museum of French-American Friendship, and France-Amériques. She is also a member of exclusive, private clubs: Cercle de l’Union Interallié and the Polo Club of Paris, and enjoys privileged access to other private clubs in France.

Thanks to the council of Pamela Darling's father-in-law, the late Charles Otto Zieseniss—Honorary Foreign Curator of the Chateau of Versailles for 30 years, benefactor of many French museums and a renowned expert and private collector—and to the support of his friends, high-level members of the French cultural community, Ms. Darling has dedicated her public relations career since 1984 to the organization of distinctive cultural events and travel programs.

Over the years, Pamela Huntington Darling has appeared in many articles in the international press for the outstanding quality of the events and cultural travel programs that she has organized, including: Avenue Magazine; AmCham’s Commerce in France; Communication & Business; L’Expansion; Femme; Le Figaro; Le Figaro Madame Magazine; Harper’s Bazaar; International Herald Tribune; Point de Vue, Vogue Homme ; Women’s Wear Daily, and most recently, Robb Report: Luxury Home (Summer 2006).
Andalusia: Exceptional Historic Sites, Estates & Gardens: Granada, Cordoba & Seville

Testimonials

The following testimonials are excerpts taken from letters of appreciation, which are available upon request. A list of references is also available upon request.

“Dear Ms. Darling,
We are so thrilled to be able to offer your exclusive and amazing tours in France. I have heard such great things about them from the participants – and I hope one day to be able to be among them. It is a pleasure to chair the ICA&CA travel committee and to work with the committee to come up with such a diverse and enlightening selection of tours. Many thanks for your creativity, dedication and vision.”

William Brockschmidt
Member of the Board of Directors, Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, ICA&CA
Brockschmidt & Coleman, LLC
Decoration and Design
New York, NY 10010


“The cultural tours that Pamela Huntington Darling creates are very exclusive, extremely well organized and beautifully orchestrated. I have attended two of her unique tours; the first time, upon the recommendation of a friend, during the Biennale des Antiquaires, the Paris Antiques & Fine Arts Fair. Recently, I asked Pamela to organize for a group of friends a special program within the French historic time frame, "Monarchy to Empire". For this special tour, Pamela offered us access to amazing sites, most inaccessible to the public or others closed to the public the day we went, lead by experts. It was fun, informative, and very exclusive.

Obviously, there was a great deal of thought and effort put into our special request to make for a terrific trip. We are all soaking up the memories. It was just wonderful.”

Joan L. Gamble
San Francisco, California


"An enthusiast of art, architecture, culture and international travel, I have been privileged to participate in two extraordinary, prestigious, and unforgettable cultural travel programs organized by Pamela Huntington Darling. One of the tours was in April 2008 in Paris and surroundings sponsored by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, of which I am a member, and the other was in May 2009 in Venice and the Veneto.

Pamela Darling’s exclusive programs are extremely well organized, the lecturers are admirable, and the presentation could not be better. Mrs. Darling has a wide range of highly impressive contacts and privileged access to outstanding public and private institutions as well as private residences with extraordinary art collections and décor. She combines years of knowledge and relations in a remarkable way that results in the most significant programs offering the finest in organization, exclusive access to privileged sites, and encounters with high-level hosts, dignitaries and experts, resulting in outstanding and memorable cultural travel programs.

Additionally Mrs. Darling has a wonderful understanding of the host culture of the countries where she offers programs, and she conveys a sense of being a genuine member of the culture being presented. Each and every day of the itinerary is planned with extreme care, precision and the utmost thought to detail and to her attendees.

Pamela Darling’s programs are the best that I have ever experienced, and I look forward to travelling with her again. I cannot recommend her highly enough."

Connie Hamilton Greenspan
Altour Travel International
New York, New York


"Thank you again for a wonderful Parisian experience. All of your efforts and contacts paid off handsomely for those of us fortunate enough to have partaken in your in your exclusive cultural travel program. I would highly recommend your programs to anyone considering participating.

We are getting setttled into our routine here in Carmel and getting back to a somewhat normal life. But what is normal after all the fabulous things and places we experienced and the incredible people we were fortunate to meet through your good offices!

Your tour is the highlight of all our travel experiences!!"

Claude and Joan Keyzers
Carmel, California


“As former president of the Biennale des Antiquaires Communications Commission, I take pleasure in expressing my gratitude for the seven-day cultural program offered by the Syndicat National des Antiquaires to its guests that you created and organized for our +120 VIP participants—directors, curators, trustees and benefactors of American museums as well as the most important American interior designers. The cultural program was, as described by the participants, a great achievement made with top level of professional expertise and efficiency”.

You worked diligently to establish what has been referred to by our guests as “the best ever” cultural program. The access to the prestigious historical sites that you were able to secure, including exclusive private residences, the high level of prominent officials who hosted these prestigious events, including the Minister of Culture, the Joint Mayor of Paris, the Ambassadors residing in the most beautiful residences in France, all contributed to its success.

It is a pleasure for me to once again recommend you as a talented, devoted, and trustworthy professional. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you and your associates.”

Member of the Board of Directors
Syndicat National des Antiquaires


“ This is the third time that the New Orleans Museum of Art has been honored to participate in the Syndicat National des Antiquaires' Cultural Program on the occasion of the Biennale des Antiquaires. While the previous two Programs have been outstanding, the Program for the XXIInd Biennale will be the best ever, with an extraordinary schedule of visits to historic buildings, private collections and museums.

As in the past, Pamela Huntington Darling has created and organized the Program with the highest level of professional expertise and efficiency.”

Director, New Orleans Museum of Art


“On behalf of the members of the Los Angeles County Museum’s Decorative Arts Council that had the rare opportunity to participate in the cultural program which you so competently organized, I wish to thank you again for planning such an outstanding program.”

Chair, Decorative Arts Council
Los Angeles County Museum of Art


“The success of Ernest & Julio Gallo's first and second year as official sponsor of the Deauville American Film Festival is thanks to the public relations program that you created and implemented for us. All of us at E. & J. Gallo Winery France express our sincere gratitude for your professionalism, creativity, perfect organization, and relentless commitment to assuring full satisfaction of our guests, 300 VIP’s invited over a ten-day period, for a program of prestigious events.

As well, you created and assured our internationally renowned gala evening in homage to the actors and producers honored by the Festival. It was recognized as the most successful gala during the Festival. We look forward to our future collaboration for other public relations events.”

Director of Marketing
E. & J. Gallo Winery France


“I would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for all that you did to assure the success of our board of directors' (5-day) program in and around Paris. Not only did you work at maximum intensity for a very long period of time, but also your good taste and judgment resulted in a program that could not have been surpassed by anyone else. Our Directors have been full of praise for the entire trip."

President & CEO
Schering-Plough France & Benelux


“Pamela Darling is a true and trusted professional who has continuously demonstrated top level and extremely effective skills in all aspects of public relations, VIP travel programs and event management. We praise her for her outstanding service.”

Managing Director
Pepsi-Cola France & Benelux


“We faced a very tough crowd, yet your creativity, your tireless devotion, your ability to handle the public relations aspects resulted in an event that was outstanding in its conception, execution, and impact.”

Minister Counselor of Commercial Affairs
American Embassy, Paris
and the Motion Picture Association of America


“I support you with my highest possible recommendation. I have seldom had the pleasure of dealing with a team that does its work as well, as efficiently, and as cost effectively with the client's best interests in mind. We gave you an incredibly short time frame; what you accomplished was a "tour de force"...”

Vice President of Finance
Ryder System, Inc.


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