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France 12 Day Cultural Journey

France 12 Day Cultural Journey

France 12 Day Cultural Journey

Dates: TBD  |  Tuition: Request A Quote Tuition Details

Group Organizer/s: 

Your contact info here.

SSA Contact: 

Will Loyd, Will@SmithsonianSA.com, 303-519-6908

Deadlines: TBD

Request a Quote

SAMPLE PROGRAM PAGE: This is an example of what your private program webpage and itinerary might look like, as you decide to organize a program with us. Please begin by reviewing the suggested itinerary listed under the Pre-Enrollment tab, and then feel free to read through other sections to get a sense of the in-depth information and support we provide for all programs.

Program Highlights

  • Enjoy a picnic in the Jardin des Tuileries
  • Visit the Eiffel Tower and other iconic sites!
  • Take a trip to Normandy’s American Cemetery and learn about the sacrifices of the men who fought on D-Day
  • Experience the historic culture of Nantes
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

Sample Itinerary

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA - Parisy 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 and visit the incredible Sacré Cœur .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 trip to the 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 famous 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 up at the Arc de Triomphe . We'll have dinner at a 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 famous Latin Quarter , followed by the Holy Chapel and Notre Dame Cathedral . We'll stop for a picnic lunch in a nearby park and explore the charming 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 a 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 head to our language exchange with a group of French students in their school or at a local activity center. In the evening, 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 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 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 to the Champs de Mars to visit 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 les 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 , stopping at the American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, and Utah Beach to learn about the events that led to the Allied victory in World War II. We'll have a picnic 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 visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry from the 11th century, 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 the 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 the 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 farm 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 have lunch and check out the city center. We'll also explore the oceanfront. Then we’ll drive to Nantes late this afternoon and check into our accommodations there. We'll have dinner and discuss our plans for the next two days.Hostel in Nantes
9NantesAfter breakfast, we will head east into the Loire Valley. After 130 km, we'll stop at Rochemenier and visit the Village Troglodytique, a strange 13th-century town built into stone. And after a few more kilometers, we'll stop in Saumur for lunch. Then we will drive a bit further along the Loire River to Chênehutte-Trèves-Cunault, and to La Cave aux Moines . There, we'll learn how mushrooms and snails are raised (and perhaps taste some!). We will take the bus and head further east, towards Chateaux territory, stopping at Amboise to see the castle there. Finally we'll drive to our accommodations, check in, and have dinner.Hostel near Amboise
10Loire valleyAfter breakfast, we'll head back on the bus and tour more of chateau country (by bus and also by bike if time allows). We'll see the beautiful castle of Chambord . After a picnic lunch, we will return to Paris and check into our hotel. This evening, we will have dinner in an Indian restaurant in the Passage Brady . We'll head back to the hotel together and have a quick meeting before bed.Hotel in Paris
11ParisOn our last full day in Paris, we will head to the Jardin des Plantes after breakfast. We'll take in 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 1920's, 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 you can taste traditional French cuisine: frog legs, escargot and steak frites. We'll head back to our hotel early so that we can pack and rest up for the journey home.Hotel in Paris
12Paris - 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

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for our participants, teachers, and staff ; Program Leaders and Country Directors follow strict guidelines when deciding on lodging, working with partner vendors,  making reservations, and assigning program participants to rooms.

Student participants will always be grouped in rooms and/or sleeping areas by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with SmithsonianSA. Group Organizers and Program Leaders will be roomed separately from each other and from student participants. SSA partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled.

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

Program Tuition Includes

more tuition information

Program Tuition Excludes: Baggages fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed in the itinerary.*

*NOTE: If you are traveling on a program that is completed before September 1, 2018 your basic travel insurance is included. If you are traveling on a program that departs after September 1, 2018 you must purchase travel insurance if you want to have any supplemental coverage beyond what your family’s package may provide. This change is due to new federal regulations.

Estimated Airfare*

International Airfare: In order to give our travelers the best possible price, we break out airfare from the Program Tuition. We will still handle all booking and ticketing via our flight partner who has access to special fares not available to the general public. We will provide full transparency in cost so that families pay what the flight costs and nothing more. You will be invoiced for the flight once we are able to secure the group’s airline contract.

——

Need help to organize your ideas around fundraising to travel with us? Find everything you need at our Fundraising Center!

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

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC France website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

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.

 

Travel Insurance

If you are traveling on a program which departs before September 1, 2018 the following travel insurance is included in your tuition:

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

If you are traveling on a program that departs after September 1, 2018 you must purchase travel insurance if you want to have coverage beyond what your family’s package may already provide. This change is due to new federal regulations.

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers while on program, experience has taught us that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we strongly encourage families to purchase travel insurance which would cover you in the event your student needs to withdrawal before travel due to a covered reason, loses baggage in route or encounters an emergency while traveling, among other unforeseen circumstances. Please see a summary of a recommended plan below and follow the link for a more detailed explanation or to purchase the plan for your traveler.

Classic with Trip Plus*
Trip Cancellation Up to 100% of Trip Cost
Reimburses your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.
Maximum coverage: $100,000.

Trip Interruption Up to 150% of Trip Cost
Reimburses for the unused, non-refundable portion of your trip and for the increased transportation costs it takes for you to return home or to continue your trip due to a covered reason. Maximum coverage: $150,000.

Missed Connection $1,600
Reimburses for covered expenses resulting from a covered delay that causes you to miss your scheduled flight or cruise.

Travel Delay $1,600
Receive up to $200 per day per person to cover additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a departure delay of six or more hours.

Medical Protection: 
Emergency Medical and Dental $50,000
-This primary coverage provides reimbursement for expenses incurred during your trip due to covered medical and dental emergencies. No deductible.
-$750 maximum for emergency dental care.

Baggage Protection
Baggage Loss/Damage $2,000
Covers loss, damage or theft of baggage and personal effects.

Baggage Delay $600
Covers the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if your baggage is delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for 24 hours or more. Receipts for emergency purchases are required.

Assistance Services
Emergency Medical Transportation $1,000,000
Provides medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate facility following a covered injury or illness. Also covers the cost of your transportation back home following a covered injury or illness.

24-Hour Hotline Help Included
Help is just a phone call away with Allianz Global Assistance. Our staff of multilingual problem solvers is available to help you with any medical, legal or travel-related emergency.

*Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A­” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101­C series or 101­P series, depending on your state of residence. Plan(s) may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company or its affiliates. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson InsuranceCompany. Non­Insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer may be responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800­284­8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.

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 the experience, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and in the future.

For more information about student learning objectives and format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit Walking Tree’s online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

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

Program participants will meet the group organizer at the below airline check-in counter three hours before the departure flight. If you have trouble locating the group, please notify your group organizer or contact SSA.

DEPARTURE FROM USA
Airline:
Flight:
Date:
Departs:
Arrives:

RETURN TO USA
Airline:

Flight:
Date:
Departs:
Arrives:

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. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.

SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please also make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

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 if 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 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. Meet your support team!

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

Travelers will be able to keep in touch with family and friends at home by using Wifi (when available at hotels and restaurants) via Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.

During the program we keep families and friends updated on the group’s adventures as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, please 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. In case of an emergency, please dial 303-997-0310.

The group’s blog link is – coming soon –

Photos which appear in the blog will become available after the program ends. We will send out a link to the photo gallery, where you will have access to view and download as many of the photos as you like!

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

Program tuition includes: All accommodations, 3 meals per day, drinking water, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, full-time leadership team,  taxes, tips and estimated airfare*.

Program tuition excludes: Baggages fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed in the itinerary.

*Estimated Airfare: In order to give our travelers the best possible price, we break out airfare from the Program Tuition. We will still handle all booking and ticketing via our flight partner who has access to special fares not available to the general public. We will provide full transparency in cost so that families pay what the flight costs and nothing more. You will be invoiced for the flight once we are able to secure the group’s airline contract.

Insurance:  If you are traveling on a program that is completed before September 1, 2018 your basic travel insurance is included. If you are traveling on a program that departs after September 1, 2018 you must purchase travel insurance if you want to have any supplemental coverage beyond what your family’s package may provide. This change is due to new federal regulations.

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