My First Trip Abroad by Vincent Price | The 1928 journal begins here…

Vincent Price in 1929On the 5th of September 1928, a young 17-year-old Vincent Price arrived back in St Louis, Missouri following a two-month tour of Europe, where he got to lay his eyes of the classic masterpieces of the artists he so admired for the very first time, and explored the sights and the amazing nightlife of places like Monte Carlo and Paris with his fellow travelling companions. You can read all his adventures now from the start, by following the link below (or clicking on the photo).

My First Trip Abroad by Vincent Price | The adventure starts here…
My Trip Abroad by Vincent Price


Goodbye Europe | 25 & 26 August

Le_Havre_1928_postcardDATE August 25th
I waited until this last day to buy me a present from mothers money & boy I go what I wanted. At 4:15 we left Paris for Harve arriving there at 8:30 we got on the boat [1] at 11:30 gee what a day. I want to go home but I love Europe. Lord may I come again. Good bye Europe.

Le_Havre_TSS_Tuscania_1920sDATE August 26th-Sept 3rd
PLACE At Sea RMS Tuscania
The boat rocks everybody seasick with the exception of those like me with cast iron stomachs.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 25_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

TSS TUSCANIA[1] According to, TSS Tuscania was built for Anchor Lines by Fairfield Shipping in 1921, weighed 16,991 tons and featured six turbine engines capable of 16 knots. Cunard chartered the ship between 1926 and 1931. It was then sold to Greek Line in 1939 and was rechristened Nea Hellas, becoming a troop ship during World War Two, and ferrying post-war immigrants to New York. In 1955, it served as the TSS New York until 1961 when she was sent to Japan to be scrapped. For more information on the ship, check out this tribute page.

One of the most significant events of my father’s youth was his 1928 trip to Europe alone, when he was just 17 years old. It had been his dream to see the Continent and the works of the Old Masters, and he had saved his money for years (and gone to summer school to improve his grades) in order to be allowed to go by his parents. That trip changed his life, and gave him the goal of creating a life in the visual arts for himself and for others. I am so grateful that Peter has created this website to share this momentous experience in my father’s life with his fans and with art lovers who may not know the true passion Vincent had for the arts from a very young age! I think you will find reading this journal a wonderful journey yourself.’ Victoria Price

Vincent Price Last Entry

‘I would that this map would determine only a small part of my voyages, that I might explore into unknown places’. Vincent Price’s final entry in his 1928 journal.

Vincent’s diary entries end here. I do hope you enjoyed this journey back in time to 1928.

France | 24 August 1928

DATE August 24th
Our last whole day in Paris I spent as usual in the shops trying to get some few presents for more people. Went back to the junks shops after lunch & saw 3 small etching for which I played 6c [ed.note: six centimes] & then some other small ones. Tonight we went to the Casino de Paris I am bound to see Paris even if it breaks me. This was a great show very clever. Then we went to Pigalle a good club where you dance on numbers & win dolls maybe. Next to the hotel to get some addresses & then we saw Paris.

casino_de_paris_1928We went to a place called ‘Paradis’ & there lay before you Paris. Smoke as thick you could hardly see, an acordian wailing some wild tunes & Nigros dancing with whites both ways. Girls try to pick you up, but you say “J’ai une femm” & then they go saying “Quelle dommage!” buts its Paris. After this we went to a place called ‘Florencés’ entirely run by Nigros & now all Americans & Florence [1] her-self came & sang to us ‘Just Bill’oh Boy such dancing. That’s good by Paris night life, Cab 6am.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 24_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

florence_jones_1928[1] Florence Emery (Embry) Jones (1892-1932) was the first African-American woman to rule the Paris jazz world in the 1920s, captivating audiences at Eugene Bullard’s Le Grand Duc and at Louis Mitchell’s club in Rue Pigalle. Mitchell renamed his club, Chez Florence in 1924. To read a 1927 article from The Times click here. For more about about the importance of black jazz performers in Paris, check out Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris jazz story between the Great Wars by William A. Shack.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

France | 22-23 August 1928

folies_bergere_1928DATE August 22nd
Free day to Layfette Gallerie to buy some more presents. Then home for lunch. Afterwoods I took in all the junk shops along the Seine. Tonight we went to the Follies Bergere [1] which were ruder than Moulin Rouge, and not nearly as well put on. Then to the Cafe that has all the walls fixed up like hell [2]. To a place the taxi driver suggested to us the Gyptsie [3] which was tough as heck real Paris life. Next to a cafe in Montmatre that had two orchestra’s a Spanish & American (L’Abbaye). This place broke us so we came home.

This 8-minute short film starring Josephine Baker was filmed the same year that an impressionable teenage Vincent encountered the raunchy Folies-Bergère. Baker – who like Price hailed from St Louis Missouri but was five years older than him – had become a hit on the Paris club scene with her infamous banana dance in 1925. One could only imagine what would have happened had the two St Louisans met on 22 August 1928? Ooh! la! la!

rivoli_postcard_1928DATE August 23rd
Another free day. Went walking down to the old junk boxes again & along the rue de Rivoli where a group of good shops are. In the afternoon we went around doing nothing in particular. Tonight we went to the Paris Opera house a thrill of a life time. Thaïs playing and with that marvellous opera house staging in it was wond-erful beyond description. Met the mother of our conductor & his wife refined people & very charming.

Here is a YouTube video featuring a piece from Jules Massenet’s 1894 opera Thaïs, based on the 1890 Anatole France novel of the same name.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 22_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

folies_bergere_thumb[1] The iconic Folies-Bergère building in Paris got a big makeover when Vincent Price visited the infamous revue show in 1928. The 1869 building’s original 1872 façade was replaced with a magnificent art deco fresco by the sculptor Pico, while seat capacity was expanded from 930 to 1679. The show started life as the Folies Trévise until 1918 when manager Paul Derval put revealing costumes on his mainly English chorus girls and added outlandish decorations. It was such a success it changed musical theatre forever.

Cafe L'Enfer[2] Le Café de L’Enfer was a Hell-themed café located at 53 Boulevard de Clichy in Pigalle, Paris. One of the premier themed nightclubs of the Belle Époque era – the others being Café du Bagne (Café of the Penitentiary) and Cabaret du Néant, where guests would be served drinks in imitation skulls and dine amongst coffins – L’Enfer operated next door to Le Ciel (Heaven) from the 1890s until 1952.

[3] Gypsy

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

France | 20-21 August 1928

reims_1920s_postcardDATE August 20th
PLACE Paris & Rheims
Today we got up at 5:16 breakfast at 5:45 leave at 6:15 to Rheims & the battle fields [1]. We drove thru Meaux, Dormans the famous ? Woods [2], to the American cemetary where 4000 boys are buried then to Chateau Thierry [3] and Rheims we saw the Cathedral [4] & the reconstructed parts of the town. Much devastation still visible. Then onto 108 Hill where 5000 French were instantly killed, past the Hindenburg line & Back to Paris. Grave yards all along the way. Saw Richtofen’s plane in a heap in an old field [5].

Again from the Oklahoma Historical Society, this home movie footage from 1928 covers much of the same ground as Vincent’s tour group. From 14:44, you can see the same battlefields that Vincent visited the same year. Turn down the sound down while viewing.


louvre_1928_postcardDATE August 21th
Tour of the city today went to the chapel of St Louis & it was very beautiful. Then to Notre Dame which is historical as well as beautifully interesting. Saw Eiffel Tower & Trocadero. The Tomb of the unknown soldiers. After lunch we went to the Louvre* where we saw Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory & The Gleaners. There, too, were millions of paintings by every artists. Tonight we went to Moulin Rouge & I have seen such a beautifully costumed show. The scenery was just as gorgeous as the girls not at all risqué.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

1925_Reims_Field[1] The battlefields between Reims and Verdun were much visited in the 1920s and 1930s with wrecks of tanks like these ones close to Fort La Pompelle becoming tourist attractions post-war, remaining littered in fields until they were scrapped by the Germans during their occupation in the Second World War. This 1925 photo comes from Paul Reed’s WW1 Photos Centenary Website.  Read more here.
[2] The Belleau Woods Monument (read more on the American Battle Monuments Commission website).
[3] You can read more about the 1918 Battle of Chateau-Thierry here or from the Wikipedia page here.
[4] You can read about the reconstruction of Notre-Dame of Reims from the official website.
[5] Read more about Manfred von Richtofen aka The Red Baron here

* In 1962, Vincent narrated an audio tour of the Louvre for Colorslide Tours, a collection of recordings about European travel and art. You can view it here in two parts.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

France | 18-19 August 1928

paris_opera_1928DATE August 18th
PLACE Avignon to Paris
The longest Ride yet 12 hours. Cool and pleasant so bearable. Staying at good hotel at Paris except that its on an awfully dark stretch. We came along the Rhone valley passing through Lyons.

Malmaison postcard 1928

Malmaison postcard 1928

1928 postcards of Versailles

1928 postcards of Versailles

DATE August 19th
Rise up early & go to Malmaison & Versaille. Malmaison was very interesting & so was the latter. Marvelous ceilings & murals by Le Brun & beautiful Gobelin tapestries. Fountains not in play but gardens magnificient. To the Hamlet where Marie A had her private home. Back to the Litre [1] in Paris. We went to a circus that night, but Lucy & I stayed in Luna Park & did all the slides [2].

Luna Park in Paris (1923)

Luna Park in Paris (192o’s)

This home movie footage from 1928 shows scenes from Malmaison, Versailles and Paris. Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Turn the sound off or down before watching.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[1] The 4-star hotel Littré opened in 1924. Picasso, Matisse and Scott Fitzgerald have also stayed at the hotel, which is located between Saint Germain des Prés and Montparnasse. In 1952, soldiers from the US Air Force took over the place following diplomatic instructions, and introduced jazz and Rhythm ´n´ Blues into the place. In 1967, the hotel opened up to the public again.

[2] Vincent had a lifelong love for amusement parks and rides, especially rollercoasters. In the 1970s, he also narrated the documentary America Screams about the country’s fascination with coasters.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

France | 16-17 August 1928

monte_carlo_1928DATE August 16th
Morning free. Went swimming & had lots of fun. Then to Monte Carlo after lunch & I won 100 francs. More fun. Had a date with Helen Ruth Loll and went dancing again. Monte Carlo was marvelous though it was very much out of season.

avignon_postcard_1928DATE August 17th
PLACE Nice to Avignon
Dull ride from here to there & arrived at Avignon at 3:00. We were rushed into a rubber neck bus & went to the Pope’s palace. Interesting, but tame to Rome. Rotten hotel & rotten dinner. Too tired to move afterwards. Saw the famous bridge of Avignon across the Rhone. Went through Marseillaise [1] going along the coast of the blue Mediterranean.


Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[1] Marseille not Marseillaise, which is of course the national anthem of France.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Italy to France | 13-15 August 1928

The Holy Stairs 1928DATE August 13th
Free day so I went with a bunch to the Holy stairs in the afternoon (morning just loafing) and we all kneeled up them and kissed the place where Christ’s blood dropped. Then to St. Peter’s to kiss the foot, then to the hotel.

Pisa and Genoa 1928Columbus in GenoaDATE August 14th
PLACE Rome to Genoa via Pisa
Dull ride from Rome to Pisa & Genoa. Saw the Tower [•] & then went to Nice. where we stayed at the Ruhl a very good hotel. Marie & I went to Maxims club to dance & had lots of fund. Another day ended perfectly by steady dancing from 8 to 3.

[• Vincent added this later in his journal] Then to Genoa. August 15th The next morning we went to Columbus’ birth place [2] & a general tour of the city then left after lunch for Nice.

Hotel Ruhl, Nice 1928 PostcardThis 1928 home movie footage from the Oklahoma Historical Society, sections of which have been shown in previous posts, includes scenes of Genoa.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 13_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Pisa_1928[1] It was only in 1911 (the year of Vincent’s birth) that precise measurements of the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s inclination commenced using a theodolite. In 1928, the year that Vincent and Tour 22 visited the site in Italy, four level stations were being added around the tower’s plinth level to help monitor changes in the inclination of the structure.

Columbus birthplace in Genoa[2] Underneath the two towers on the Via Porta in Genoa is the alleged home of Christopher Columbus, although there is much speculation about the validity of this claim. The house was destroyed in 1684 by the French, but was later rebuilt.


[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.


Italy | 11-12 August 1928

Rome_CollageDate August 11th
Rome the eternal city the mother of Christianity the center of antiquity consumes four days well deserved.

• The Sistine chapel is very beautiful as is all the work of Michelango.
• Visted Emanuel II buried in Parnthenon.
• In church of Quo Vadis there is the place where Jesus appeared to St Peter.
St John the Lateran is one of many churches in Rome contains the heads of St Peter & St Paul & the holy table the Baptistry contains the place where Constantine stood & the singing doors.


St Pius V_Saint_Peter_in_ChainsDATE August 12th
The second days sight seeing tour.

• In St Pauls [1] there is a glass case in which the body of St Pius V is held… on his finger is a very large diamond & his original vestments are on him… he wears a silver mask.
• In St Peters one half of the bodies of St Peter & St Paul are kept.
• Caputian church contains Guido Reni‘s famous Saint Michael & the decorations with skulls.
• Saw Saint Peters Church & many things Forum of Trajan where 85 cats now live. Got special permit to go thru Kings palace. St Mary the Greater has the ceiling made of solid gold brought by Columbus from his first trip to America. In the church of Saint Peter in Chains the original chains are preserved with which St Peter was bound & above Michelangelo’s famous Moses. In St Pauls the other half of the bodies of the two Saints are ???? [2]. This is a new church & very beautiful in its simplicity. The mosaic of St Peter contains diamonds for his eyes.

This 1928 silent movie from the Oklahoma Historical Society, sections of which have appeared in previous posts, follows the same route that Vincent’s tour took of Rome. Turn down or off the sound before viewing.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 11_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

These pages in Vincent’s journal are made up of notes about the sites of the city that Vincent and his tour visted, written around a cutting from the tour guide.
[1] Santa Maria Maggiore
[2] I have yet to work out which Saint’s Vincent refers to here. Can you help?

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Italy | 9-10 August 1928

capri_1928_postcardDATE August 9th
PLACE Sorrento to Capri
Left the hotel early & took a boat to Capri. A beautiful & cool ride. We went in the Blue Grotto & had lots of fun then to Capri for lunch afterwards shopping & up the mountain for a view. Catch the boat to Naples staying at same hotel. Nothing to do after dinner.

This home video film footage from 1928 (courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society) includes scenes of Naples and Capri that Vincent’s tour also visited the same year.

naples_1928_postcardDATE August 10th
PLACE Naples – Rome
This morning we took a sight seeing tour of Naples visiting the museum where most the relics of Pompeii & Herculeum are housed. After lunch the train to Rome. Arrive Rome for dinner. After dinner a raffle of a cameo more fun.


Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 9_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

• Check out the official website for the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.
• Vincent’s tour would spend the next four days in Rome, staying at the Hotel Ludovisi, still one of the top hotels in the city today. Click here to view the website.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.