France & Holland | Middle School

A Taste of Europe

Join us for an adventurous student travel program across France and Holland, from the sky-scraping Alps to the dazzle of Paris, through the bucolic Dutch countryside to the charming canals of Amsterdam. Hike, bike, and explore the most beautiful landscapes and cities of northwestern Europe, and savor its rich heritage.

June 30, 2018  –  July 16, 2018
At A Glance:
  • Adventure
    Outdoor exploration, hiking, biking, swimming, and other active pursuits
  • Language
    Opportunities to practice or learn the language of your host country
  • The Arts
    Exploration of music, dance, art history, architecture, theatre, and the creative arts
    The Arts
Completing grades 7 – 8
US Gateway City:
New York
Middle School
17 days
Typical Group:
14 – 16 students, 2 leaders
$ 6,190 + airfare


  • Ride a funicular high above Alpine glaciers and hike down through fields of wildflowers
  • Listen to Parisian jazz on the Île Saint-Louis during the golden hour
  • Sample local cheeses as you bike past windmills and farms in Holland’s countryside
  • Discover van Gogh’s favorite haunts in Amsterdam and examine his masterpieces

Leader Profile: GABRIEL ZINN

Education: Reed College, B.A., English Literature

Gabriel was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where he attended Reed College. At Reed he studied literature and the humanities. He has also spent… read more

Gabriel was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where he attended Reed College. At Reed he studied literature and the humanities. He has also spent a significant part of his education studying in Europe, most extensively in Paris and Berlin, and has been teaching in Paris for the last year. Gabriel is primarily interested in the fields of literature and language. He would like to continue this pursuit in graduate school, and ultimately hopes to become a professor. Besides reading and writing, Gabriel is also happy playing or watching basketball, riding his bike in big cities, or road tripping and backpacking across America. Gabriel has twice led Putney’s Pre-College Paris program as well as Middle School France & Holland. He is proficient in French and German.


Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow middle school student travelers and one of your leaders in New York, and fly together to Geneva, SwitzerlandTo learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Argentière • 4 days • Stay in a mountain chalet opposite Mont Blanc in a small village above Chamonix. Hike above glaciers through wildflower fields with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, and enjoy an in-depth orientation to get to know your group leaders and fellow students.

Paris • 4 days • Travel by train to Paris and soak up Parisian life, from its music and cafés to museums and monuments. Explore the neighborhoods of the Left Bank, Île de la Cité, and Montmartre, and visit renowned sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre. 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.

Students explore Paris and Amsterdam on our middle school program in France and Holland

Biking in Holland • 5 days • Head out on a five-day bicycle trip along rural bike paths, through sand dunes, and past windmills and Dutch farms. Along the way, stop to swim at beaches on the North Sea, sail or windsurf on inland lakes, and visit the towns of Noordwijk, Haarlem, Egmond, and Heemskerk.

Amsterdam • 2 days • Relax after your bike trip and explore Amsterdam’s busy canals and cobblestone streets. Visit Anne Frank’s house and admire paintings by Rembrandt and van Gogh at the Rijksmuseum.

Departure • Travel Day Fly with your group and a leader from Amsterdam to New York, then continue on to your final destination. 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.

My favorite experience was going to the top of Aiguille du Midi. Seeing the whole valley in front of you was truly breathtaking, and to do so with people who were just as energetic as I was was amazing.

— Harrison W., Phillips Academy Andover, Wenham, MA

A Day in the Life: ARGENTIERE

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Argentière.

7 AM Breakfast at a local boulangerie
8 AM •  Hop a local train to descend from our alpine chalet to to the Valley of Chamonix
9 AM Ride one of the longest cable-car ascents in the world to the Aiguille du Midi
12 PM Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by panoramic views of alpine peaks and glaciers
1 PM Hike to an ice cave and discover unique ice sculptures hidden in the mountains
4 PM Stop at a local café to rest and enjoy some ice cream
5 PM Hop on the train and travel back to Argentière
8 PM Dinner at your group’s cozy mountain chalet
9 PM Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule

Students hike in the alps on our middle school program in France and Holland

What to Expect

Independent Project Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you.

Physical Activity • This is a physically active summer program. Hiking, biking, swimming, 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 and spending time outside.

Accommodations • Our residences in France and Holland are varied, ranging from comfortable, old world-style hotels to a simple, dormitory-style mountain chalet. Residences are often run by wonderful families or individuals who help set the tone for our experience and introduce us to local people. Rooms are a mix of doubles and triples with ensuite bathrooms. Leaders reside in the same accommodations as students throughout the program.

Meals • We begin each day with a traditional French or Dutch breakfast at our residence. For lunches and dinners, we find small restaurants or hit the markets to purchase food for a picnic.

The Alps were just so beautiful — every day I woke up feeling like I was in wonderland. This trip was one of the best experiences of my life!

— Simon B., Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY

Ask Us

Call Bob at 802.387.5000 or email

The Middle School France & Holland summer program is directed by Bob Pokorney.  If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our summer student travel programs, please get in touch!

Bob Pokorney

Colorado College, B.A., Art; Middlebury College, M.A., French; Monterey Institute of International Studies, Translation and Interpretation

A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Bob has led Putney programs in France and Morocco. Before joining Putney, he guided cycling trips in Europe, taught high school and college French, and interpreted for sports events in France and the United States. Bob is also a sailboat charter captain, landscape painter, EMT, and lifeguard.