Cultural Discovery

Discover the richness of France through its diverse cultures and regions—from Paris to a border community and its neighboring country.

  • Art

  • Culinary

  • Language

  • Outdoor Activity


Start your journey with an immersive introduction to French history and culture in Paris, “The City of Light.” You will visit the city’s most iconic sights and museums, including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Élysées. Explore diverse neighborhoods and sample French cuisine in quaint street-side cafés as you deepen your understanding of Parisian culture and the city’s role within France.

Discover la vie quotidienne, or daily life, of a French family during a 11-day homestay in another region of France, usually near the country’s border. You will get an intimate look at French life and the unique culture specific to the region. Enjoy getting to know your host siblings, checking out local sites, and enjoying meals with your new family before heading to your next destination.

After saying goodbye to your host family, you will cross the French border with your group into Germany or Switzerland to explore the cultures, landscapes, and sights of a neighboring country. You might find yourself strolling through Germany’s picturesque towns and picnicking in the Black Forest. Or you may find yourself enjoying cafes and walking around Lake Leman in Switzerland. As your program comes to a close in Paris, you’ll reflect on the deeper insights you’ve gained into the diversity of France and the culture of a neighboring country. 

Notice: The 2024 Olympics are being held in Paris, therefore be aware that there may be limited and restricted entry to major tourist attractions and monuments due to safety and security and the high volume of visitors.


The Experiment’s programs are designed to build skills that will help you succeed. In France, you will learn:


  • French language
  • French cooking


  • Time management
  • Intercultural communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Relationship-building


  • Temperatures and humidity can be high in France during the summer.
  • There is a lot of travel throughout the region, requiring 2- to 5-hour train/bus trips. Be prepared to carry your luggage up and down stairs and to lift it into overhead storage compartments.
  • Water activities may include kayaking, canoeing, or boating.
  • Students will explore urban life by foot (lots of walking!) and learn to navigate the public transit system.
  • While French cuisine is centered on meat and cheese, vegetarians and vegans can find alternatives.
  • Access to the internet is limited and internet speeds and connectivity vary.
  • The diverse personal and social identities of participants may, in part, shape their experience abroad. In-country partners will discuss cultural norms and the local context during orientation. . Please read our approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for further information. All students will have a safe space within the program spaces and with the local staff and group leaders.
  • The Experiment program structure is rooted in experiential learning and cohort-based learning. The participant group experience is a major source of learning for Experimenters and is facilitated by trained Experiment group leaders.


Program Availability

No Longer Enrolling

Program Date

Jul 1 - Jul 22



Program Fee*


(does not include airfare)
Group Airfare Cost


Departure City

Philadelphia, PA

*Program fees may increase by
$500 -$1000 to account for changes
to lodging accommodations.

  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • All program activities
  • In-country transportation
  • Health insurance
  • Experienced group leaders

Families or partner organizations are also responsible for arranging and paying for participants' domestic travel to the international departure/return airport in the U.S., whether flying, driving or by other means. By its nature, domestic airfare varies by airline, timing, destination, and availability.

This trip allowed us all to create lasting memories and friendships while at the same time gaining quality knowledge and experience, which we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Sample Itinerary

This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented below.

View Itinerary Details

Days 1-3

Orientation in Paris

  • Learn about the history and culture of France.
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions.
  • Visit famous sites and museums throughout the city such as the Eiffel tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Navigate the capital city and the metro as you explore diverse and historic neighborhoods, from Ile de la Cité to Champs Élysées to Montmartre.
  • Sample French cuisine in street-side cafés and shop for ingredients at open air markets and boulangeries for a picnic at the Luxemburg Gardens or along the Seine. Practice your French language skills as a group and by interacting with locals.

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 4-15


  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a French family and community as you share meals and family activities with your hosts.
  • Explore your host communities and the surrounding area through nearby excursions with your group. These will vary by area but may include, canoeing, swimming, biking, and visiting nearby castles, farms, and towns.
  • Visit the European Parliament Strasbourg and spend a day admiring the gothic architecture in Metz during your homestay.

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities:  Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, or in Bruley, Nancy.

Days 15-19

Thematic Focus 

Germany and Alsace (5-night excursion)

  • Travel to the vibrant and picturesque town Freiburg, your base for the next few days, where you will have a guided visit of the medieval old town.
  • Go on an excursion to Titisee-Neustadt to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Black Forest and picnic on the lake.
  • Go canoeing in Colmar and bike through the countryside, passing vineyards, and stopping to taste local products.

During this excursion, you and your group will stay in hotels.

Switzerland and Haute-Savoie (5-night excursion) 

  • Travel to the charming and peaceful town Montreux, your base for the next few days, where you will have time to discover the old time and walk around the lake  
  • Go on an excursion to Gruyère a charming medieval town to discover the secret of the famous Swiss cheese and Chocolate  
  • Go canoeing in Annecy Lake and you will enjoy time in the city to discover the typical shops and culture 

During this excursion, you and your group will stay in hotels. 

Days 21-22

Reflection and Wrap-up in Paris

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program.
  • Enjoy some last-minute shopping and a final French meal.

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Day 23


Past Group Leader

The Experiment’s group leaders go through a rigorous selection process and have extensive experience with youth education, local expertise in the country or region of their program, language abilities, knowledge in their program theme, travel logistics and management know-how, and experience with health, safety and risk management.

Ahonui Bowman

Ahonui was born and raised playing on the picturesque beaches of Kauai, Hawaii, where she spent countless afternoons frolicking in the waves developing a love for the ocean, but not, oddly enough, for surfing. As a child, she spent most of her time reading, writing stories, and trying to convince her parents to move to France so that she could “be” French; however, she had not yet developed the debate skills necessary for this endeavor. She did not touch French soil until she was fifteen, when she attended a music workshop, in Biarritz, France – oddly enough, known for its surfing. She returned as a college junior and spent a year exploring the streets of Paris, eating stinky cheese, snails, scoffing at day-old baguettes, and finally “being” French, in general. Ahonui graduated with a degree in music composition and art history with a minor in French from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004 before returning to her hometown of Anahola, HI, where she worked for Expedia as a Concierge Manager, overseeing seven concierge desks on the island. Ahonui currently lives near the beach in Vietnam, where she teaches 3rd grade at an international school. She still does not like surfing.

Program experts

The Experiment's programs are led by accomplished and experienced faculty and staff who typically live in the country of study. Program leaders are responsible for instructional content, classroom and field experiences, and daily program operations.

Halix Mourrier

Halix Mourrier is a graphic designer & artist, committed to queer identities. It was during a complete course in applied arts in Etienne from 2006 to 2011 that she committed to transidentities, and carried out OPÉ-TRANS, in collaboration with the association OUTrans, a project relating to the various operations feminizing and masculinizing for trans* people. In 2012, she joined the Beaux-Arts de Paris, and specialized in ceramics, installation, and performances. At the same time, Hélène responds to graphic design orders for feminist circles and collaborators and belongs to several collectives fighting for LGBTQI + people.

In 2018, she completed her course by following the Ateliers des Horizons training course at the Magasin de Grenoble. Halix now teaches graphic and editorial design, while continuing her transdisciplinary practice, and is part of the inclusive typographic research collective Bye Bye Binary. She made her first short film in 2021: HERMAN @ S (Les Adelphes).

From 2014 to 2018, Hélène worked with CEI & The Experiment to teach plastic art to young people in Paris, Arles and Aix-en-Provence. The program focused on the discovery of Impressionism and contemporary photography.