March 13-21, 2011

COURSE DESCRIPTION - Explore the rich history and culture of France. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will offer a French travel course during the Spring Break of March 2011. The course will acquaint students with France's history, culture, and society by visiting historical sites, museums, vibrant cities, and the beautiful French countryside. Our trip to France will begin and end in the capital city of Paris. In between we will visit the Loire Valley, Brittany, and Normandy.

Avec Jacques CartierCOURSE OBJECTIVES - To deepen the understanding of the diverse cultural traditions learned in Tier II Human Heritage courses; to examine the historical, social, economic, and political issues of France critically and comparatively; to illustrate the interplay between tradition and history in the context of modern French society; and to produce a reflective project using both course material and first-hand observations.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS - Prior to and after the trip, students will have weekly meetings with Professor Anthony Daly, the faculty leader of the trip, to discuss issues relating to French history, culture and society. Students will be required to finish assigned readings and submit assignments. During the trip, Professor Daly and other guides will give on-site talks and tours, and students will be required to keep a journal. After the trip, students will present a project based on their knowledge of and experience in France.

Students will be evaluated in the following areas: attendance at class meetings, participation in discussions, in-class presentations, written assignments based on the course readings, a final reflective project on the knowledge and experience gained in the course, and behavior on the travel portion of the course.

Eiffel Tower Paris
is the heart of France and some would argue the heart of Europe. Drenched in history and overflowing with cultural opportunities, the "City of Lights" will serve as the beginning and end to our French experience. Highlights will include visits to some of Europe's most famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Élysées. We will also see French Revolutionary sites such as the Place de la Concorde and the Conciergerie. In the Louvre Museum we will see one of the world's great art collections. A stroll through the Latin Quarter and along the Seine River brings us to the heart of the spirit and atmosphere of Paris.

The Loire Valley was the playground of French royalty and nobility in the centuries before the Revolution, and we will experience some stunning architecture in the castles, or chateaux, at Amboise and Chenonceau. No trip to France would be complete without experiencing the Gothic wonder of Chartres cathedral, perhaps the grandest structure in the country.

Chartres CathedralIn naming part of the Loire Valley as one of its World Heritage Sites, the United Nations gave this description: "an exceptional cultural landscape, of great beauty, comprised of historic cities and villages, great architectural monuments - the Châteaux - and lands that have been cultivated and shaped by centuries of interaction between local populations and their physical environment, in particular the Loire itself."

St. Malo - Next we will move to Brittany, on the French coast. We will stay in the port of St. Malo, where we will tour the walled city, and also take in the magnificent abbey of Mont St. Michel, built over 1000 years ago and nestled at the top of a coastal island.

Normandy - The highlights of our time in Normandy, another area with an abundance of both beauty and history, will be visits to the D-Day beaches and memorials and a stay in Rouen, "City of a Hundred Spires." We will stand on the D-Day invasion beaches, as well as visit the Memorial Museum at Caen, a vivid re-telling of the battle for Normandy in World War II. In Rouen, subject of a series of famous paintings by Claude Monet, we will drink in a medieval city with links to the Hundred Years War between England and France and France's most famous heroine, Joan of Arc.

Approximate cost: $2,700 per person (Subject to change)

All inclusive features include:

  • Round trip airfare from Boston to Paris
  • 7 overnight stays in hotels (triple or quadruple occupancy with private bathroom)
  • 7 European breakfasts and 5 dinners
  • Guided sightseeing tours at several sites, as well as admission to a number of attractions.
  • Walking tour of Paris
  • Three upper-level credits for students enrolled at MCLA

Dr. Anthony Daly
Department of History
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
375 Church Street
North Adams, MA 01247