Victor Hugo, poet, novelist, dramatist. By far one of France’s greatest writers of the 19th century and a leading supporter of the Romantic Movement. Hugo’s fame primarily comes from his poetry and then from his novels and dramas, which are considered incredible pieces: ‘Notre-Dame de Paris,’ ‘Les Travailleurs de la Mer’ and last but not least, ‘Les Misérables,’ which has been even more popularized by stage, film, and musical adaptations. This extraordinary man lived an extraordinary life and in this article we revisit all the places that marked Victor Hugo’s life in one way or another. Where can we begin?
We start our journey at the birthplace of Victor Hugo. Hugo came into this world as the third son of Joseph Hugo and Sophie Trébuchet. He was born in Besançon, a city in eastern France bursting at the seams with art and history, and which is also a World Heritage Site. Besançon is a beautiful, calm and peaceful area. Its inhabitants tend to keep to themselves, and that makes discovering this unrevealed area even more exciting, knowing millions of tourists have not touched this city! During his childhood, Hugo went to school in Madrid; these exotic memories are found later in his poetry and plays. But in 1812, Hugo’s mother grew tired and did not enjoy her unstable life as an army wife, so she moved to Paris with her three sons; they settled there just perfectly.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Lycée Louis-le Grand
Lycée Louis-le Grand in Paris. Founded in 1563, the school is located in the heart of Paris’ Latin Quarter. A stunning area known for its incredible history, culture and of course the architecture. Here is where Hugo started writing tragedies and poetry. At the age of only 15 years old, he made his debut and took his first steps towards public recognition. While he was still unknown then, he would later turn into one of France’s greatest writers. Only a couple of years later Victor Hugo’s poem, ‘The Virgins of Verdun’ was awarded the golden amaranth, and his ‘Ode to the Restoration of the Statue of Henry IV’ won the grand prize of the ‘Golden Lily’ at the poetry competition called the ‘Floral Games,’ which was organized by the Academy of Toulouse.
Place des Vosges
What about where Hugo lived, I hear you ask” Victor Hugo and his wife moved into their rented apartment at the Place des Vosges in 1832 and lived there until 1848. It is here where they raised their children, Léopoldine, Charles, François-Victor and Adèle. By this time, Victor Hugo had already published his first full-length book, ‘Notre Dame de Paris,’ in 1831, and also was planning to write a major novel about social misery and injustice. These were the initial ideas that would give birth to ‘Les Misérables,’ a story following several characters, especially ex-convict Jean Valjean and his struggles. An oblivious Monsieur Hugo would have been starstruck as to how successful his novel was to become, and how it would remain so to this very day. The novel took an incredible sixteen years to complete. When he did complete it and it was published, the novel was considered negatively by critics. However, it was considered a great success globally, and was soon added to the agenda of the National Assembly of France. Who hasn’t seen the film adaptation of ‘Les Misérables'”
Victor Hugo and Brussels had a very strong connection. He fled there in the 1850s after Napoleon III seized power in 1851, managing to cross the border on a forged passport, and his mistress soon followed his footsteps. During this time, Hugo was working on ‘Les Misérables,’ which he was able to finally finish in 1861 while also writing a variety of pieces including, ‘Histoire d’un Crime’ and many other poems, due to the freedom of thought in Brussels.
Hauteville House, Guernsey
For 14 years, Hauteville House in Guernsey was the home to Victor Hugo during his exile from France. Hugo bought the house in 1856 and his time there was spent writing several of his other well-known pieces.
Avenue d’Eylau, Paris
124 Avenue d’Eylau was partially renamed for Hugo’s 80th birthday and then fully took his name after his death, it is now called Avenue Victor-Hugo. This was the last home to Victor Hugo until his death, once he finally returned to France. One of the greatest parades in France was held in his honor. The parade travelled from Avenue d’Eylau towards the heart of Paris to commemorate his 79th birthday and entering his eightieth year. Hugo watched from the window of his town house while the people marched for several hours in front him.
Hugo’s final resting place is located at Le Panthéon, in Paris. In 1885, Mr. Victor Hugo, at the grand age of 83 years, was laid to rest after being struck by an infection which led to his death. This incredible man who published one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, was mourned heavily with millions paying tribute to one of France’s greatest writers.
By Joanna Addison
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.