Discovering Historical Paris: The Importance of Collective Memory

May 27/28–June 7, 2014

One of the key characteristics of France is the importance the French give to their history. Much of this history isassociated with Paris and is kept alive through historical monuments, museums, parks and even street names.

June is a beautiful time to visit the City of Light and to wend our way — literally and figuratively — through its richhistory. No matter where one goes in Paris, the past lives on: from Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle of the high MiddleAges through the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIV, from the rise of Napoleon to Haussmann’s renovation of Paris, fromthe Belle Epoque and the Great War through the Occupation, and from the Liberation through the postwar perioddominated by De Gaulle.

But history is never just about the past; it is about the present as well. During our time in the capital, we will see how,during the past two centuries, various groups and political communities in France have used competing constructions ofthe past to define their identities and legitimate their goals. Our journey will also include visits to Chartres, Versailles and Giverny.

Discover Paris

As Paris — and France itself — moves deeper into the millennium, the French fear a loss of identity. France continues toattract record numbers of immigrants from its former colonies. Many native-born French have expressed concern that thecountry will lose the battle to keep its language distinct and unadulterated by foreign (particularly American) slang orcatchwords (e.g. le weekend and le software).

Though Paris is in flux culturally and socially, it lures travelers for the same reasons it always has. You’ll still find classicsights like the Tour Eiffel, Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and Sacré-Coeur, as well as the blooming parks, gardensand squares, the Champs-Elysées and other grand boulevards, the River Seine and its quays, and all those atmosphericcafés. Paris’s beauty is still overwhelming, especially at night, when it truly is the City of Light. (adapted

Program Leaders

Professor of French Wendy Allen and Professor of Computer Science Richard Allen custom designed this program usingtheir intimate knowledge of the topic and destination. Rich and Wendy led the Term in the Middle East for St. Olafstudents in 2001-02, led the Global Semester for students in 2005-06 and in 2008-09. They have done two Travel Studies to Paris, one to Brittany and Normandy, and one to Morocco.

At St. Olaf since 1977, Wendy has taught courses in French language, culture and literature and has lead numerous January Interim courses for students in France. Her particular areas of research include 17th-centure French literature,contemporary France, second language acquisition and pedagogy. She has also been deeply involved with St. Olaf’sForeign Languages Across the Curriculum program. She was recently appointed as the Gertrude Boe Over by Distinguished Professor.

Richard came to St. Olaf in 1975 to create the computer science program and has been involved ever since. For 25 years,Rich conducted research with French artificial intelligence teams in Rennes and Grenoble. He has spent three successive sabbatical leaves in France working on these teams. A result of his Middle East work is a course on Islamic geometricpatterns that he teaches at St. Olaf. An ardent Francophile, he visits France — in particular, Brittany — as often as hecan. Rich and Wendy had a home in Brittany for twenty years.

What to Expect

Paris is best experienced on foot. Be prepared for lots of walking! We will take the subway to and from all of our sitesaround town. This can include walking several blocks to the Métro stop, walking down and up one or more flights ofstairs in the subway station, and walking several blocks to the final destination. Comfortable shoes trump the latestfashion! We will provide precise timing and addresses in the final itinerary so that you may take taxis (at your ownexpense) if you prefer. A couple of day excursions will be made by train or private motor coach.

Accommodations are in standard rooms at the Hotel California, a small tourist class hotel in the 5th arrondissement. The closest Métro stop is Maubert-Mutualité, about two blocks away.

To fully partake in this Study Travel program, you should be able to walk up to five miles per day over possibly uneventerrain (e.g. cobblestones or aged sidewalks), climb stairs that may not have handrails, keep pace with an active group oftravelers, deal with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing a different culture, and be aconsiderate member of the group (prompt, courteous and flexible). Make sure you bring an umbrella.

Temperatures in early June average a high of 70º Fahrenheit to lows in the mid-50s.

Program Fee

The program fee is $3,150 per person through Jan. 15, 2014. Based on double occupancy, it includes conversations led by Richard and Wendy Allen, accommodations, breakfast daily and group meals as listed on the itinerary, admissions forgroup activities, ground transportation (except airport transfers) and gratuities for group meals and group guides. Forsingle occupancy, add $950. After Jan. 15, 2014, the program fee is $3,300 per person, based on double occupancy.

Airfare is not included in the program fee. Please plan to DEPART THE U.S. ON TUESDAY, MAY 27 in order toarrive in Paris on May 28. In order to fully partake in the program, your flight should land in Paris no later than 11 a.m.

Plan to depart Paris for the U.S. at any time on Saturday, June 7.

We recommend you not purchase non-refundable airfare until we can confirm the program has enough participants to go. For assistance with flight arrangements, we recommend Noreen Deiss of Travel Leaders / Suntime Travel. She can be reached at 651-429-0039 or


Payment schedule

Forms for registered travelers:

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