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FranceFrom Coastal Villages to the City of Light

Immerse yourself in French language and culture as you explore the cosmopolitan cities and off-the-beaten-track villages of France. During your travels, explore Mont Saint-Michel and the D-day beaches in Normandy, savor the high culture and hidden neighborhoods of Paris, swim and picnic beneath the Pont du Gard, try zip-lining or surfing, and spend five days becoming part of a French family through daily activities and excursions.


June 23–July 13, 2023
21 days
$ 8,290 + airfare
Departs from New York
14-16 students, 2 leaders


  • Discuss masterpieces of painting at the Louvre in French 
  • Enjoy a pain au chocolat as you relax at a sidewalk café 
  • Canoe with your host siblings to a Roman aqueduct 
  • Go ziplining or rock climbing with professional guides

Meet featured leaders


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

  • Departure
  • Travel Day

Meet your fellow middle 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.

  • Normandy
  • 5 days

Travel by train to the idyllic seaside town of Trouville-Sur-Mer, the oldest seaside resort in France, with extravagant Belle Époque architecture and a welcoming Normand culture. Stay in a seaside inn and explore the Atlantic shoreline by bike, chat with Norman fishermen in the historic fish market, and adapt to the rhythm of life in France. Visit the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey on its tidal island, and learn about World War II history at Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery. Language instruction begins on your first day, and continues throughout the program.

  • Paris
  • 5 days

Board a train to Paris and savor the pleasures of Parisian life, 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 by 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 the South of France
  • 5 days

Head south to Montpellier, an elegant and multicultural Mediterranean city, where local host families welcome you to their hillside village above the small city. Immerse yourself in everyday French family life and culture as you explore the region with your host brothers or sisters and on group excursions. Both leaders remain in the same town as the students during the homestay, and the whole group gets together for activities throughout the week.

  • Bordeaux and the Atlantic Coast
  • 4 days

Journey to the village of Arcachon, on the sun-drenched Atlantic coast near Bordeaux. Enjoy the beach, hike on the pristine sands of Europe’s tallest dune, and try surfing, zip-lining, paddle boarding, or horseback riding.

  • Return
  • Travel Day

Fly with your group and a leader from Bordeaux to New York, then continue to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

"The leaders, Jessamine and Jack, were fun, safe, organized, and caring. Her group became like a 'family,' including the leaders."

— Kathleen Baldwin & Jared Sandberg, Brooklyn, NY

A Day in the Life: Trouville-sur-Mer

  • Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Trouville-sur-Mer, in Normandy.
  • Have breakfast at your seaside hotel
  • Engage in a language lesson focused on traditional farm life
  • Visit a dairy farm for a workshop with the local cheesemaker
  • Shop at the Trouville market and make a picnic with a sampling of local cheeses
  • Picnic and relax on the beach
  • Hop aboard a small ferry and head to the neighboring town of Deauville
  • Learn about racing and polo traditions, and take a horseback ride along the coast
  • Try local seafood at a beachside restaurant in Deauville
  • Ferry back to Trouville and gather on the beach under the stars for Group Meeting

View Photo Gallery

What to Expect

  • Language Learning

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 and interactive and incorporate active, hands-on elements such as scavenger hunts, games, and informal interviews.

  • Language Pledge

Students on this program must have completed at least one year of French. Each student signs a language pledge to speak only French during the program, not only with the many local people you meet, but also with your leaders and within your group. 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 on Picasso’s favorite street in Paris and paint in his style, create a book of traditional recipes from your homestay family, or spend a day shadowing fishermen that bring their daily catch to the village market in Normandy.

  • Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer program. You can expect to hike, surf, go horseback riding, and do a lot of walking 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 family-run inns. 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.

Explore the Destination

"Being able to order snacks and food by myself was a big accomplishment, and I gained a lot of cultural knowledge and new friends."

— Jordan H., The Nightingale-Bamford School, New York, NY

Next Steps

This program is directed by Katie Bourque. If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

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