Language & Culture
Mount Saint Mary's College

Language & Culture

Ten Days in Paris: Medieval France to the French Revolution

May 20 - 31, 2010

Mount St. Mary’s College
Department of Language and Culture
Dr. Michele Fine and Instructor Courtney Spikes

I just came back from Ten Days in Paris where Professor Courtney Spikes and myself escorted 30 students, some with a relative or friend. Every day was a treasure of pleasure. Lectures in the morning, visits in the afternoons, a lot of exploring on foot, and of course the food, the wine and the camaraderie complemented this memorable experience. As this Department of Language & Culture Travel Study course was so successful, we plan to offer it every two years.

Michele Fine
Michele Fine

Courtney Spikes
Courtney Spikes


Trip Itinerary

20 May, Thursday

  • Evening
  • Depart Los Angeles, LAX Air France

21 May, Friday — Gallo-Roman France

  • Morning
  • Arrive in Paris. Private coach to hotel.
  • 10:30 a.m.
  • Breakfast at hotel.
  • 10:30 a.m.
  • Breakfast at hotel.
    Orientation tour of Neighborhood.
    Musée de Cluny which houses artifacts from the late Gallo-Roman and the medieval eras.
    You'll also see the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.
  • 3 p.m.
  • Class meeting in hotel breakfast room (Mandatory).
  • 6 p.m.
  • Bike tour of Paris.
    Ride along the ancient routes of kings and revolutionaries to the Lourve, Champs-Elysée, Notre Dame and more. We end with a view of the capital city on a boat ride along the Seine and see the splendor of le Tour Eiffel sparkling with its evening lights.

22 May, Saturday — Medieval Paris

  • 10 a.m.
  • Musée Carnavalet, explore the history of Paris housed in the 17th century mansion of la Marquise de Sévigné, starting with artifacts from 3,000 BC to the French Revolution.
  • 1 p.m.
  • Group Lunch at Trumilou, traditional French brasserie.
  • 3:30 p.m.
  • Lecture and walking tour of Medieval Paris, ending at Place des Vosges

23 May, Sunday — The Right Bank of Paris

  • 8:30 a.m.
  • Optional Activity: Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral (12th Century).
  • 10 a.m.
  • Lecture and walking tour to explore Church of Saint Eustache where Louis XIV received communion and in which Madame de Pompadour and Mozart where baptized. Guided tour of the Paris Opera House, Palais Garnier at 11:30 a.m. or 2:30 p.m.

    Optional Activity: Lunch on the famed rue Montorgueil, Au Rocher de Cancale.
  • 7 p.m.
  • Group Dinner at Boullion Racine experience the belle époque.

24 May, Monday — Cultural shifts from Medieval to the Early Modern Eras

  • 9 a.m.
  • Lecture and walking tour of Marie de Medici's 17th century palace (now the French senate) as well as see the twenty statues of French queens and saints. Afterwards, we will also visit the Panthéon, formerly the church of Saint Geneviéve (patron saint of Paris founded by King Clovis I), where the "grands hommes de France" are buried.
  • 12:30 p.m.
  • Picnic (optional) at the Jardin de Luxembourg.
  • 3 p.m.
  • Lecture (Hotel Breakfast Room) on the evolution of food from medieval times to 17th century and how dining practices and food preparation reflected societal, political and economic changes in France.

25 May, Tuesday — Louvre Palace and Museum

  • 9 a.m.
  • Lecture on the evolution of the Louvre Palace and the role of Paris as a religious and political center of power in Medieval France. Guided tour of Louvre to follow with free time in the afternoon for students to explore at their leisure.
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • Group meal at Le Reais l’Entrecôte, famous steak-frites.

26 May, Wednesday — Versailles and 18th Century France

  • 9 a.m.
  • Private coach and guided tour of Versailles where we will explore the palace of the Sun King and the amazing gardens once walked by kings, queens, courtiers and even revolutionaries. We are leaving early so we can avoid the crowds.
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • Optional Activity: For those of you who are interested, we will return to the historic Palais Garnier to watch the famed Ballet de L'Opéra of Paris perform La Bayadére with the original 1992 staging by Rudolf Noureev.

27 May, Thursday — The French Revolution in Paris

  • 9 a.m.
  • Lecture and walking tour of the French Revolution as we trace the paths of the revolutionaries, visit their homes and their meeting places.

    Lunch together at Polidor After lunch, lecture and tour of the gothic chapel Saint Chapelle famed for its stunning stained-glass windows, then we will walk the tourte from the Conciergerie prison to the guillotine at Place de la Concord.
  • 7 p.m.
  • Optional Activity: Dinner at the oldest restaurant in Paris, the historic Le Procope, where revolutionaries gathered to discuss politics and flee from their creditors.

28 May, Friday — Preparation for Student Presentations

  • Day
  • Time for students to research and prepare for their group presentations.

29 May, Saturday — Free Day and Candlelight Tour of Chateau Vaux le Vicomte

  • Day
  • Free time for students to explore Paris!
  • 5 p.m.
  • Private coach and lecture en route as we travel to chateau that inspired the glory of Versailles. Every Saturday evening during the summer, Chateau Vaux le Vicomte and its gardens are illuminated by over 2000 candles. "This festival of lights is complemented by classical music in a section of the gardens, designed by Le Nôtre. Visitors can allow themselves to be transported back in time by this magical illumination to a memorable page of history, the only party given at Vaux le Vicomte by Nicolas Fouquet, on 17 August 1661, in response to a request from the young king Louis XIV."

30 May, Sunday — Presentations and Farewells

  • 2 p.m.
  • Student group presentations (Hotel Breakfast Room)
  • 7 p.m.
  • Farewell meal at Le Grand Colbert.

31 May, Monday — (Memorial Day USA)

  • Private coach to Airport and flight to Los Angeles, arrive LAX same day.