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France: A Parisian Perspective

France: A Parisian Perspective

France: A Parisian Perspective

Program Type:Smithsonian Open Enrollment iconOpen Enrollment Learn More

Dates: July 6th - July 15th, 2018  |  Tuition: $2,990 Tuition Details

Service Hours: 20 Leadership hours

SSA Contact: 

Morrison Mast, morrison@SmithsonianSA.com, 202-792-8953

Deadlines: TBD

Enroll Now Make a Payment

Dear Families – Welcome to the homepage for the 2018 France: A Parisian Perspective! If this is your first time on this page, please read through the categories under Pre-Enrollment to learn more about this unique travel opportunity, or peruse the other categories as you like. Once you have enrolled, please check out the Post-Enrollment information. Around one month before departure, we will post the remaining information under Program Prep to review on a call with the entire group. We hope you will join us on the adventure of a lifetime in France!

Program Highlights

  • Window shop on the Champs-Élysées
  • Visit iconic sites including the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and more!
  • Take a trip to Normandy to visit Omaha Beach
View Full Itinerary

Smithsonian Student Adventures was created through a collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution and Walking Tree Travel. Although this video is branded as Walking Tree Travel, it encapsulates the mission and spirit that is present in all SSA programming.

Important Program Details

Click on the sections above to learn more

Program Itinerary

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA - ParisFly to Paris and meet your Smithsonian Student Adventures leader at the airport. We will check into our hotel and get settled. You'll spend the remainder of the day in the Montmartre District where you will view the incredible Sacré Cœur cathedral.Hotel in Paris
2ParisWith so much to see in Paris, we'll spend most of the day visiting monuments and other amazing sites. We'll start the day at the Orsay Museum followed by a quick trip to the beautiful Tuileries Garden where we will enjoy a picnic lunch. Next we'll continue on to the Place de la Concorde and the Place Vendome , a square dominated by a decorated column dedicated to the Napoleonic battle of Austerlitz. We'll move on to the home of the current French President - the Palais de l'Élysée , where we'll enjoy the beautiful view as we stroll by. The afternoon will be an excellent chance to do some (window) shopping at one of the most exclusive shopping districts in the world; Champs-Élysées. We'll finish up the day at the Arc de Triomphe . We'll have dinner at a nearby restaurant and then head to the Palais du Tokyo , Paris' exciting contemporary art museum (open until midnight!). Here we'll see an exhibition and enjoy an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower before heading back to our hotels for a good night's sleep.Hotel in Paris
3ParisToday, we will enjoy a walking tour of Paris. We'll start on the Left Bank or Rive Gauche where we will see the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon , and the Latin Quarter , followed by the Holy Chapel and Notre Dame Cathedral . We'll stop for a picnic lunch in the nearby park and explore the Ile de St. Louis. Then we will continue to the Pompidou Center, where we will see an exhibition. After the museum we will walk to the Les Halles area and explore Rue Montorgueil , the oldest market street in Paris, and the Church of St. Eustache . We will eat dinner at a restaurant in the neighborhood and then head back to our hotel for some rest.Hotel in Paris
4ParisIn the morning we'll visit the Louvre and you will have your chance to see the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory and many other amazing works of art. After the Louvre we will walk to the gardens of the Palais Royal and eat our picnic lunch. From there, we will walk to the Opera and admire the beautiful Palais Garnier . If possible, we'll tour the inside of the opera house. Next, we'll walk on to see the Madeleine , the famous neoclassical Roman Catholic church. We'll stop for Laduree macarons, classic French treats. From there we will stroll to the Place de Clichy and onwards to take photos in front of the Moulin Rouge . We will have dinner in the area and then take the Metro back to our hotel. Hotel in Paris
5ParisToday we will take the RER to visit the palace of Versailles one of the most opulent palaces in the world, with gardens equally as beautiful. We'll enjoy a picnic in the gardens and we’ll visit the historic Hall of Mirrors - the treaty of Versailles was signed here, ending World War I. We'll take the RER back into Paris and stop at the Champs de Mars to see the Eiffel Tower up close. If scheduling allows, we will go all the way to the top! When we get back to ground level, we'll walk over to see Invalides. We'll stroll along the Seine and then head back towards our hotel to eat dinner.Hotel in Paris
6Normandy (Caen, Bayeux)In the morning we'll depart by bus or train for Caen, Normandy, arriving at the Atlantic coast by early afternoon. Once on the beach, we’ll rent bikes and ride along the D-Day beaches, as we remember the incredible sacrifice of what happened here on June 6, 1944. We will stop at the American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, and Utah Beach to learn about the events that took place on the beach that led to the Allied victory in World War II. We'll have a picnic lunch along the way. At the end of the afternoon, we'll return the bikes and head to the medieval city of Bayeux for the evening. We’ll have dinner and check into our lodging.Hostel in Bayeux
7Normandy (Bayeux, Mont St. Michel Bay)After breakfast at the hostel, we will take a look at the famous Bayeux Tapestry from the 11th century, which depicting William the Conqueror’s conquest of England. Then we’ll hit the road, traveling southwest toward St. Malo. We’ll take a guided tour of Mont St. Michel, an enchanting island monastery. We’ll stay in the Mont St. Michel bay for the evening, lodging in a renovated farmhouse. In evening, we’ll take a guided sunset hike on the bay .Hostel in Mont St. Michel Bay
8Brittany (St. Malo)We’ll depart the Mont St. Michel Bay in the morning and continue toward St. Malo. On the way, we’ll stop at a dairy or marine farm and learn about the importance of these industries in northwest France. We’ll arrive in the walled port city of St. Malo by the late morning/early afternoon, and will have free time to enjoy lunch and check out the city center. We'll also explore the oceanfront. In the evening we’ll head back to Paris and check into the hostel where we’ll stay for the remainder of the trip.Hostel in Paris
9ParisOn our last full day in Paris, after breakfast, we will head over to the Jardin des Plantes. We'll enjoy the beautiful gardens and greenhouses and then break for a picnic lunch. After the gardens, we will have the opportunity to visit the Grand Mosquée of Paris, built in the 1920s, and have tea on the tiled terrace. We'll walk over to the bustling Rue Mouffetard , stopping to see the Arenes de Lutece (Roman ruins) on the way. We'll have a festive farewell dinner where we can taste traditional French cuisine: frog legs, escargot and steak frites. We'll head back to our accommodations early so that we can pack and rest up for the journey home.Hostel in Paris
10Paris - USAToday we will head to the airport for the flight home. Bon Voyage!Home

Philosophy Of Travel

Our mission is to inspire the next generation to become global leaders by taking an active interest in the world around them. With a dedication to learning, along with an enduring passion for exploring the world, Smithsonian Student Adventures designs transformative and meaningful travel programs that uncover the authentic culture of each destination and inspire students to take action in their local and global community.

Smithsonian Student Adventures stands for a more open, curious, and compassionate approach to travel. We partner with select schools around the world to provide memorable small-group experiences, and invest in cultivating and maintaining longterm relationships with our partner communities. If you are interested in our organization and philosophy of travel, click here to learn more about us.

Accommodations

SSA partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are clean, safe, centrally located, and provide modern amenities. Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.

Paris: www.fiap.paris

Mont St. Michel Bay: www.ferme-auberge-35.fr/

Bayeux: www.lafermedesepis.com

Nantes: www.hifrance.org/auberge-de-jeunesse/nantes.html

Loire Valley: www.gites-les-tropes.com

Lyon: www.cis-lyon.com

Nice: www.hifrance.org/auberge-de-jeunesse/nice–les-camelias.html

Standards of Behavior

SSA provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with SSA.

Tuition & Fundraising

Tuition Includes:
all accommodations, basic travel insurance, 3 meals per day, drinking water, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, full time leadership team and taxes and tips.

Tuition Excludes:
 International airfare, baggage fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed on the itinerary.

We believe that cost should not prevent enthusiastic students from having the opportunity to join an SSA program. We are pleased to offer opportunities for fundraising and payment plans to help make this goal a reality. Please visit our Tuition and Funding page to find out more about tuition, fundraising, payment options, referral discounts, and more.

Passport & Visa Check

US CITIZENS
Passport valid for 6 months after final day of program, including one open visa page.
No Visa Requirements for US Citizens traveling to France.

NON US CITIZENS OR THOSE TRAVELING FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE USA
Non US citizens should check with their country’s embassy abroad to verify vaccination and visa requirements.
US citizens traveling from a country other than the United States should check the State Department website (www.travel.state.gov) for more information regarding additional visa or vaccine requirements.

Please contact us for further information regarding vaccination and visa requirements.

Health and Safety

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. SSA will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

VACCINATIONS
Vaccination information and requirements can change frequently. Because of this, and for more information, we suggest that you consult your local travel clinic and/or family physician for specific details.

Travel Insurance

Our experience has taught us that international travel can sometimes be unpredictable. As such, SSA will purchase basic secondary travel and medical insurance for all SSA travelers via Travel Insured International. This service provides the following coverage at no additional cost to our participants:

PLAN COVERAGES

$500 Return Airfare for Trip Interruption
$750 ($150 per day) Trip Delay of six hours or more
$500 (Three or more hours) Missed Connection
$1500 ($250 per article) Baggage/Personal Effects
$300 Baggage Delay – 24 hours
$25,000 Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
$100,000 Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
Emergency Assistance Non-insurance Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services Included

Once you have been accepted onto your program, SSA will be in touch regarding this insurance and other additional options (see below).

ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL COVERAGES

The following additional optional coverage upgrades are available upon request for an additional premium charge to the traveler. For further information on the premiums associated with these optional coverage enhancements, please email your inquiry to our travel insurance program administrator, Hayashi Insurance Solutions: travelinsurance@jshinsurance.com

– Trip Cancellation Coverage – Reimburses the traveler up to the trip cost insured up to a maximum of $10,000 per person if the trip must be cancelled for unforeseeable life events including but not limited to; medical/health reasons, bereavement, etc.

– Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) – Reimburses the traveler for 75% of the non-refundable trip cost. Cancellation must be made 48 hours or more prior to scheduled departure. Must be purchased at the same time as initial plan purchase and prior to final trip payment. *This benefit is not available to residents of New York State.

The Plan is administered by Hayashi Insurance Solutions (CA DOI 0F61680) a licensed Insurance Agency authorized to transact this insurance under the express authority of Travel Insured International, Inc. and its representatives, and on behalf of Walking Tree Travel, Inc. The Plan contains insurance benefits underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company. Fairmont Specialty and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company. The Crum & Forster group of companies is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best Company 2015. The Plan also contains non insurance Travel Assistance Services that are provided by an independent organization, OnCall International, and not by United States Fire Insurance Company or Travel Insured International. Review the Plan Document for complete terms, including benefits, conditions, limitations and exclusions that apply. Coverages may vary and not all coverage is available in all jurisdictions.

Global Leadership Curriculum

Walking Tree Travel has developed a curriculum that helps SSA travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame their experience, and prepare them to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and in the future. For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the Walking Tree Travel Global Leadership Curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More

Language Resources

DUOLINGO

Want to learn a new language and be better prepared for your travel program? Duolingo is the easiest, most entertaining way to start learning and using a new language right away! The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to communicate with locals in your host country and help your fellow travelers navigate a foreign environment.

Tap the Duolingo owl to get started, or download the app to your mobile phone.

duolingo owl logo

Group Flight Information

In an effort to make the flight booking process as smooth as possible, we have partnered with STA Travel. This partnership provides our participants with discounted fares through STA’s contracts with the top airlines to help our travelers get the best possible rates. To learn more about STA as an organization, please check out their website at www.statravel.com.

STA Travel will help our families and travelers book their round trip travel between their home city and our host countries. We are excited to offer this premium service to our participants so that we can focus on what we do best – providing meaningful adventures around the world.

Open Enrollment participants are responsible for booking and paying for their own international flights. You have two options for making your flight arrangements:

1. (Preferred) Book a seat on the chaperoned international group flight.

Each Open Enrollment program has a suggested, chaperoned, group flight that will depart from a designated departure city in the United States and arrive to the destination country. Participants on these flights will have the support of our on-scene Airport Liaison as well as an accompanying Program Leader, on-flight. The Airport Liaison will help gather, coordinate and direct the arrival and departure of our participants in the airport and the Program Leader will accompany the group to and from the host country while on the flight. The vast majority of our travelers choose this option. 

2. Book your own flight to the host country.

For this option we require travelers to arrive at the same time, or earlier (no more than 3 hours), than the suggested group flight’s planned arrival. We ask participants not to arrive later than the suggested group flight’s time of arrival. If travelers arrive on their own prior to the rest of the group we will arrange to have the second Program Leader or the Country Director meet them as they land in the host country. 

With either option, we strongly encourage you to book your flights through STA, but it is not required.

Please wait to make any flight arrangements until we have sent you our chaperoned group flight information by email, which we will post by April 1, 2018 with instructions on how to proceed. 

A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event SSA is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries.  Notwithstanding, our travelers’ well-being and safety is always our number one priority in all facets of our operations and programming, so please know that in case flight delays or cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will keep family members updated on developments as we are able.

Important note: Please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

BAGGAGE POLICY
SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage
or for lost or stolen luggage. We strongly encourage all travelers to pack a carry-on bag if possible, or to at least put all valuables and a change of clothes or two in a carry-on along with all important medications and basic toiletries such as a toothbrush, deodorant, glasses, contacts etc.

UN-ACCOMPANIED MINORS
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm whether this is required on your flight.

Leader Profile

SSA will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the Smithsonian Student Adventures staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

  • Sarah Hofmann
    Sarah Hofmann France Operations

    Carnegie Mellon University, B.A. Francophone Studies and Anthropology; Columbia University, M.A. Cultural Studies

    Born in Tokyo, Sarah was raised in an Ecuadorian-American family in Singapore, Paris and the D.C. suburbs. Basically, she had no choice : she was going to be an implicated world citizen whether she liked it or not. After finishing a self-defined undergraduate major in Francophone literature, Anthropology and Painting – with a semester-long stint in Bamako, Mali squeezed in – she continued to study, travel and work in the francophone world. Since completing her undergraduate studies she has lived in the French antilles, worked in Haiti, completed a Masters in Paris, braved the mean streets of NYC, and taught French in Dakar, Senegal. She has now landed in Bordeaux in the south of France where she has learned that biking along the Garonne River can, in fact, give a person a whole other take on life.

    Group Roster

    Please have all travelers check below to ensure their name is spelled exactly how it appears on your passport. For edits, email lacey@SmithsonianSA.com.

     

    Community & Project Details

    This is where your host community information will appear, along with your community project, if applicable to your program.

    Communication & Blog

    The easiest way for students to keep in touch with family and friends at home while traveling will be using Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants) via Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.

    SSA tries to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, they should direct all general inquiries to info@SmithsonianSA.com. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S.

    Here is the link to your blog: -Coming Soon-

    Packing List

    What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

    Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

    France Packing List

    CLOTHES:

    7-9 pairs of underwear
    6-8 pairs of socks
    6-7 t-shirts, tank tops or work shirts
    2-3 long sleeve shirts
    1-2 sweatshirt/jacket
    2-3 pairs of shorts
    2-3 pairs of jeans/pants
    1 swimsuit
    1 rain jacket
    1 pair of sturdy shoes (appropriate for lots of walking/athletic activity)
    1 pair of sports sandals ie Chacos/Tevas etc. (optional)
    1 pair flip flops (optional)
    1 hat

    TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

    Bring the BASIC toiletries you need plus:
    Sunscreen
    Band aids and Neosporin and other basic first aid supplies
    Hand Sanitizer

    MISCELLANEOUS:

    Sunglasses
    Journal and pen
    Quick dry towel
    Book/s
    Alarm Clock and watch
    Visa/MasterCard debit card or US dollars (we recommend students bring between $100-$200, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
    Durable water bottle
    Flashlight/headlamp
    Batteries

    HOMESTAY GIFTS

    Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this…  Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!

    Tuition Details

    Tuition Includes:
    all accommodations, basic travel insurance, 3 meals per day, drinking water, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, full time leadership team and taxes and tips.

    Tuition Excludes:
     International airfare, baggage fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed on the itinerary.

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