Discovering Art, History and Culture in France
France is a magnificent country to visit, but it has a special draw for our Student Discoveries passengers. French is a very common language that is taught to students in high school. After you have been studying a language for many years there is no better experience than going to a country where they speak that language to polish off your technique. French accents change depending on which region you are visiting. This is an educational experience for anyone who has studied the language. You could be speaking beautifully in Paris, only to find out you have trouble understanding the locals in a more centrally located city like Amboise. Mixing with the French people and learning about their historic culture is a delight for students. Student Discoveries can help this experience really come to life for students and faculty alike.
Almost all of our tours will start and end in Paris, the French capital city. This is possibly the most cosmopolitan city in the world and it is impossible not to be amazed by the sights, sounds, and culture. In Paris, Student Discoveries can provide your group with inside visits led by Local Guides to some of the city’s most famous landmarks. We can help you design an itinerary that will take you inside the gothic Notre Dame Cathedral. Our travelers visit all of the most famous Parisian sites: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides, and the Champs Elysées. We can customize your experience with an inside visit to the Louvre museum with all of its glorious artwork from around the world, including the Mona Lisa. Your group can also visit the stunning Palace of Versailles, which is located just south of Paris. The grounds a Versailles are breathtaking and shrouded in French history.
No trip to France would be complete without a visit to Giverny, which was home to Claude Monet. Monet was the founder of French impressionist painting and an avid lover of nature. Stepping onto the grounds of Giverny is like taking a stroll through Monet’s art. The house is modest and filled with art from painters Monet respected. The gardens at Giverny are gorgeous, and it is obvious why Monet did have to travel much farther than his own yard to find such incredible sources of inspiration for his paintings. One of Monet’s greatest paintings, Water Lilies, was inspired by the pond on the grounds of Giverny. It is such a unique experience to see in person the natural inspiration for such a masterful painting. There is a lot more to see in the French countryside after you visit Giverny. You can visit Rouen and marvel at its great cathedral. You must make a stop in the lovely harbor town of Honfleur. The cafés and homes that surround this harbor town are old and very well kept. The streets are clean and it feels like a place anybody would be proud to call home. To add to the ambiance, there are sail boats docked in the harbor. Honfleur is one of the most picturesque places to take photographs and stroll through town. After Honfleur, many of our groups overnight in the seaside resort of Deauville, where the seafood is excellent.
One of the most impactful sites in history is in France, and no student group should miss a stop at the landing beaches of Normandy, where Allied forces landed over 60 years ago to fight against the Nazi regime. There are many great movies about WWII and the landing at the Normandy beaches, but nothing compares to standing there, looking down upon the very beaches where countless brave warriors lost their lives. The Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha is sacred ground where words simply don’t do justice to the experience. Instead, the landscape and monuments tell the tale of a great generation that courageously fought to save the world from evil.
Mont St. Michel is another fantastic site in France. This enormous working monastery is built on a tidal island that is rich in history and connected to the mainland by a bridge. The lower areas can only be accessed during low tide, and once the tide comes in, they are submerged in water. Strolling around the grounds of Mont St. Michel is like taking a step back in time. There are shops and vendors in the lower areas, and many visitors will see the monks that live at Mont St. Michel. The walk to the top is amazing—from the stained-glass windows to the incredible views. A single visit to Mont St. Michel can take your breath away. After your visit you can take a drive down the coast to the fortified seaside resort of St. Malo, where visitors can admire its cathedral and ancient walls.
Chateaux Country is another must-see area when you visit France. Student Discoveries can provide your group with a marvelous visit to Châteaux de Chenonceaux, now privately owned and the most visited castle in the Loire Valley. There are many vineyards in this area and you can almost always count on an art show inside the Châteaux. Almost all of the rooms are open to the public, which soon discovers that this is one of the most peaceful and serene places in France. Next stop is Amboise, where Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life. This area of France is where the countryside really shines and you can tell why so many amazing properties were built in this area of the country. From here you can drive to Orléans for a short stop to take photos of the statue of Joan of Arc. Another highlight of this area is Chartres, which is home to an incredible gothic-style cathedral.
Student Discoveries can put all of these sites together in an 8- to 10-day trip to France. We are always willing to customize the itinerary to meet the needs of any student group. Your students will return from France with a memorable, life-changing experience that will open their eyes to the amazing world outside of the United States. It can provide inspiration for their future, while adding to their global knowledge. France is quite simply an unforgettable experience.
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