France | Grades 10 – 12 | Language Learning

From Alpine Peaks to the Riviera

Immerse yourself in French language and culture as you explore villages and cities in five regions of France. During your travels, bike to village markets and interview local fishermen, make truffles with an artisan chocolatier, savor the high culture and cuisine of Paris, surf in the Mediterranean, hike to glaciers in the Alps, and spend a week with a French host family.

July 1, 2017  –  August 2, 2017
At A Glance:
  • Adventure
    Outdoor exploration, hiking, biking, swimming, and other active pursuits
  • Beach
    Stay on the ocean with time to swim, surf, boat, or snorkel
  • Homestay
    A stay paired with a host family and children, sharing their home
  • Immersion
    Language Immersion: Speak in the target language with local people and your Putney group
Completing grades 10 – 12
US Gateway City:
New York
Language Learning
33 days
Typical Group:
14 – 16 students, 2 leaders
$ 8,990 + airfare
  • Discuss famous paintings at the Louvre with your group — en français
  • Head to market with a village fisherman and learn about Breton heritage
  • Celebrate Bastille Day with your French host family and new friends
  • Learn to surf on the Mediterranean and go canyoning in the Alps


Education: Baruch College, B.A., English; New York University, M.A., Humanities and Social Thought; University of Pennsylvania, M.S.Ed, English Education

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised outside of Paris, Matthew completed school in France before returning to the U.S. for college. While pursuing his bachelor’s… read more

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised outside of Paris, Matthew completed school in France before returning to the U.S. for college. While pursuing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in New York, Matthew taught English and French to speakers of other languages. He currently teaches English at a Philadelphia high school while pursuing a master’s degree in English education at the University of Pennsylvania. Matthew has visited over 30 countries across Asia and Europe, and recently had the chance to bike all 220 miles of the Romantic Trail in Germany. He is fluent in French, proficient in Spanish, and studied Russian for seven years. He has led Putney’s Language Learning France program.  This fall, he will begin his full-time career as an educator while earning a degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.


Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in New York, and fly together to Paris, France. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Brittany • 5 days • After landing in Paris, board a train to spend five days in a traditional Breton fishing village on the remote coast of Brittany. Stay in a small family-run inn on an educational farm, and explore the area by bike. Warm up your speaking skills by working alongside local shop owners, market vendors, and artisans.

Paris • 6 Days • Return to Paris by train and spend six days savoring the pleasures of Parisian life and taking in the world-class glamor. Discover your favorite boulangerie, visit the world’s most renowned art collections, taste escargots at grand Art Deco brasseries once frequented by Picasso and Sartre, and cruise down the Seine River to see the city illuminated at night. Explore the neighborhoods of the Left Bank, Île de la Cité, and Montmartre, and visit our favorite local spots as well as renowned sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the Musée d’Orsay.

Homestay in Alsace • 7 Days • The next stop is Alsace. Immerse yourself fully in French language and culture by spending a week living with a local family. Both leaders remain in the same town as students throughout the homestay, and the group gets together for excursions during the week.

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Provence • 4 Days • Head south to Aix-en-Provence to explore this university town and take day trips throughout the region. See van Gogh’s home, Cézanne’s studio, and swim beneath the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct.

The Riviera • 4 Days • Continue south to the Mediterranean coast and relax on the sunny beaches of the Riviera in the town of Saint-Raphaël. Spend your days on the glittering sea learning to sail, surf, and tube in the warm waters. Sample seafood and peruse the waterfront night markets.

The French Alps • 4 Days • Journey to a small village on a mountainside above Chamonix. Stay in an Alpine chalet opposite Mont Blanc, the highest point in western Europe. Hike above glaciers through wildflower fields with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, try canyoning with professional guides, and raft in the valley with the spectacular backdrop of the Alps.

Return • Travel Day • Take a chartered bus to Geneva, Switzerland, and fly with your group and a leader to New York. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

A Day in the Life: SAINT RAPHAEL

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Saint Raphaël on the French Mediterranean Riviera.

9 AM  Breakfast on the terrace of our waterfront hotel, steps from the Mediterranean
10 AM  Language lesson focused on modern art
11 AM  Take an excursion to the tiny medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence
1 PM  Shop for local specialties and picnic on the medieval fortress walls
2 PM  Relax, enjoy some downtime, and join a game of boules in the village square
4 PM  Head to the nearby Fondation Maeght, a tucked-away wonderland of modern art
7 PM  Head back to our hotel on the waterfront, cool off in the Mediterranean waves, and sample fresh seafood at a beachside restaurant
8 PM  Take an evening walk along the beach and shop at the nightly market
10 PM  Get some gelato and watch fire jugglers dance on the beach, or dance to live music
11 PM  Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule

The leaders were respectful, knowledgeable and made our daughter feel safe. They are what we had hoped for – someone we could trust to care for her while giving her the opportunity to be independent.

—Lisa & Scott Nazar, Harrisburg, PA

What to Expect

Language Pledge • The goals of this language immersion program are to improve your fluency in French by building vocabulary and confidence in speaking, and to explore France’s culture through outdoor activities and interactions with locals. Each day, leaders hold dynamic conversational language lessons designed to help students let go of their inhibitions and communicate more easily. Language lessons are fun, interactive, and incorporate active, hands-on elements such as scavenger hunts, games, and informal interviews. This travel program is designed for students who are excited about immersing themselves in language and culture, open to new experiences, and willing to challenge themselves to step out of their comfort zone. Students on this program are required to speak French during the program and must sign a pledge to do so, not only with the many local people you meet, but also with the leaders and within the group. Students on this program must have completed at least two years of French. To learn more about our Language Learning programs, click here.

Independent Project • Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you — set up an easel at Cézanne’s favorite lookout and paint a landscape in his style, create a recipe book with traditional recipes from your homestay family, or interview mountaineers preparing to climb Mont Blanc.

Physical Activity • This is a physically active summer program. Hiking, surfing, canyoning, and walking are all activities in which you might participate during this program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations • Accommodations in France are varied, ranging from Old World-style hotels to mountain chalets. Many of our residences are run by welcoming French families that Putney has known for years. Rooms are a mix of doubles, triples, and quads. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals • We begin each day with a traditional French breakfast at our residence. For lunches and dinners, we complement meals at restaurants and bistros with delicious picnics and plenty of stops at cafés and boulangeries. The French savor their meals and take time to gather with family and friends at the table, eat slowly, and enjoy their company.

Maggie LOVED her homestay! She improved her comprehension of the French language, and gained a sense of how big and interesting our world is.

— Ann Marie & Jeff Jennison, Ladera Ranch, CAls, VA

Ask Us

Call Susannah at 802.387.5000 or email

The Language Learning France program is directed by Susannah Poland. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our high school student travel abroad summer programs, please get in touch!

Susannah Poland

Stanford University, B.A., Anthropology.

Susannah is an anthropologist and musician who grew up in the New England woods and has traveled and conducted research in East Africa, Mongolia, Nepal, and francophone Europe. For her thesis, Susannah documented oral histories and healing traditions in northern Tanzania, studying the meaning and usage of traditional beadwork. She then worked for the curatorial department of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, researching emergent African feminisms and contemporary artists. Before joining Putney, Susannah did fieldwork on a climbing expedition to Mount Everest to study decision-making in extreme environments. She organizes programs in francophone Europe and the Caribbean, and Nepal.