Most ACCENT programs include a variety of cultural activities in Paris and excursions outside of Paris to some of the following sites. Excursions include guided visits of important museums and monuments in the context of the program. Excursion destinations and monuments vary by program.
Cultural and Evening Activities
Cultural learning is a vital part of a successful study abroad program. Most semester-long ACCENT programs include a series of evening and weekend activities which help students discover both traditional and contemporary French lifestyles. The ACCENT cultural activity series is designed to bring Paris to the students and to open their minds to cultural awareness.
ACCENT students also have the opportunity to attend additional optional cultural activities offered by the Paris Study Center. These activities include traditional French dinners such as fondue or crêpes, cheese tastings, contemporary cooking classes, concerts in some of Paris’ most prestigious venues, boat rides along the Seine, pétanque tournaments and day trips to beautiful towns in the region such as Reims, Chartres and Troyes, to name but a few. All of these are chosen with a view to broadening students’ cultural awareness and giving them the opportunity to benefit fully from a positive and exciting study abroad experience.
Visit the cathedral at Chartres, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. Explore the old city with its labyrinthine streets, picturesque bridges and old houses on the river Eure.
Explore the châteaux of the Loire Valley, the “garden-region” of France. The excursion, depending on the chosen itinerary, may include the royal château of Amboise, Chenonceau which spans the river Cher, Azay-le-Rideau with its facades reflecting in the water of the moats, or Chambord and its amazing double winding staircases.
During this excursion, a selection of the following historical sites of medieval France can be visited: the city of Rouen, capital of Normandy and home to the famous Gothic cathedral; the Mont Saint Michel Abbey and the beautiful town of Dinan. Needless to say we always dedicate part of our time in Normandy to visit the Normandy Landing Beaches and enjoy a walking tour of the ramparts of St. Malo, where all groups stay during this excursion.
The city of Bordeaux is just a 2-hour TGV train ride from Paris. Its historic center is on the prestigious UNESCO Heritage List and considered one of the best preserved, complete and most beautiful examples of French 18th century architecture. Bordeaux owes its dynamic development to its involvement in the triangular slave trade and subsequent commerce with the colonies, this dark page of history is well illustrated in the 18th century rooms of the Musée d’Aquitaine a visit of which is always scheduled for ACCENT groups. Depending on the length of stay and the chosen itinerary, an excursion to Bordeaux might include the visit of Arcachon – the elegant Second Empire period sea resort, Saint-Emilion – another UNESCO Heritage site, a visit to a château/winery, a bus trip to Dordogne to visit the Château des Milandes – the home of Josephine Baker or a trip to Lascaux – a cave with prehistoric parietal art. Excursions to Bordeaux can be a one day visit to a three-day/two-night weekend.
Visit the residence of Louis XIV, the model for most European royal residences since the 17th century and the seat of government in France for 100 years. At the château, enjoy a guided visit of the royal apartments with time to explore the beautiful gardens and the Petit and Grand Trianons.
Discover the Château de Fontainebleau with its amazing Renaissance rooms, the only French royal residence used without interruption since the Middle Ages until the 19th century. Surrounded by spectacular gardens and a vast forest, old royal hunting grounds, Fontainebleau is one of France’s most distinguished monuments.
Visit the lavish 17th century château and gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte, built by the same architect, landscape designer and decorated by the same painter as Versailles.
Discover the sunny South of France with its olive groves and vineyards. Visit Avignon and the 14th century Palace of the Popes, the biggest Gothic building in the world. Explore charming Aix-en-Provence with Cézanne’s studio, and spectacular 2000 year old Roman monuments such as the Pont du Gard or Arènes d’Arles, where you can walk in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh.
Lyon – La Tourette
Lyon, considered the gastronomic capital of France, is a city where you can see monuments built by the Romans 2000 years ago, 18th century houses built for silk weavers and some of the finest modern architecture by Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano or Santiago Calatrava. Continue your excursion to La Tourette, a convent built by Le Corbusier, one of the most important 20th century architects.
Brussels – Bruges
Visit the Grand-Place, the most beautiful square in Europe and see the city where the European Parliament is located. Then go to Bruges, the “Venice of the North,” with its hundreds of canals and the magnificent Flemish architecture.
Reims – Verdun
Reims Cathedral, home to three original stained glass windows by Marc Chagall, is the place where most French kings were crowned (and where you can admire the famous smiling angel on one of the portals). This capital city of Champagne region is surrounded by vineyards. Then visit Verdun where one of the most important WW I battles took place.
Auvers – Giverny
See Auvers where Vincent van Gogh spent the last months of his life and painted some of his most famous canvases. In Giverny you will visit the house which the most celebrated Impressionist painter Claude Monet fell in love with and moved his family into in 1883, and you will see his splendid gardens with water lily ponds which were the source of inspiration for him for almost half of his life.