France: French Language & Culture

Language and Cultural Discovery

Take an unforgettable culinary and linguistic journey through France. Receive formal language and culinary training from renowned institutions.






Physical Activity



June 30, 2020


Program Description

Start your culinary journey in Paris, France’s beautiful and historic capital. Mingle with Parisians in a café for a morning croissant before strolling the streets of Paris to the Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, or the Louvre. After working up an appetite, taste traditional baguettes, cheeses, and local delicacies, and enjoy a picnic in one of the city’s many parks. Go on a chocolate tour with a local connoisseur, tasting samples from various specialty shops. Later, you will explore the Montmartre arts district beneath the spires of Sacré-Coeur and dine at quaint cafés that serve regional specialties from throughout the country.

Prepare to enhance your culinary knowledge and French language skills with 50+ hours of training both through formal language instruction and cooking classes taught in French at the famed Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon. The institute was founded by Paul Bocuse, one of four Chefs of the Century and the ambassador of modern, or nouvelle, cuisine, who has inspired some of today’s most well-known chefs from Gordon Ramsay to Jacques Pépin. There, you will learn from professional chefs how to cook French meals and desserts such as quiche, crème brûlée, and macarons using fresh, sustainable, and high-quality ingredients. You’ll get to eat what you make! During your culinary adventure, you will also visit Lyon’s popular indoor food market, Les Halles, a foodie paradise with countless gourmet delights.

Continue to enhance your language skills during your homestay by practicing with your host family and local peers. Get to know the unique culinary specialties of your homestay region by tasting traditional meals. Your culinary and linguistic journey concludes with final exploration and reflection in Paris.



French (at least one year)


June 30, 2020 - July 29, 2020

Program Fee:


Group Airfare Cost:


Depart/Return City:

New York


Paris, 2-4 days


Montélimar or Pierrelatte,* 12–15 days

Other Accommodations:


Sample Itinerary

    Day 1-4

    Orientation in Paris

    • Learn about the history and culture of France as you visit famous sites and museums throughout the city, such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe.
    • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
    • Navigate the capital city and its famed metro as you explore diverse neighborhoods, from tracing the steps of the Lost Generation writers in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, to the roaming the typical residential districts like a local Parisian.
    • Sample French cuisine in street-side cafés and shop for picnic ingredients at open air markets and boulangeries.
    • Visit various chocolate shops with a local connaisseur to sample a variety of treats and specialties.
    • Practice your French language skills with the locals and shop clerks.
    • Pick up your chef outfit at a local specialty store.

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

    Days 5-19


    • 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 community and the surrounding area with organized outings, such as to the local lake or to a nougat factory for a tour and tasting.
    • With members of your host family, visit the seaside town of Saintes Maries de la Mer to see how the French vacation and dip your toes in the Mediterranean Sea.
    • Go to nearby Avignon to soak in the history and culture of this significant town, tour the Palais des Papes, and see the world heritage site Pont d’Avignon.

    Thematic Focus

    • Attend French language classes in the mornings then practice what you learned in the community on outings with your teachers.
    • Learn about regional food specialties and recipes as you share meals and swap recipes with your hosts.

    During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Montélimar, Pierrelatte, Lapalud, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteax..

    Days 20-27

    Thematic Focus in Lyon

    • Travel to Lyon, which some say is the “gastronomic capital of the world,” take a tour of the historic Vieux Lyon, and explore the city with your group.
    • Take cooking classes at the renowned Institut Paul Bocuse with top French chefs, learning technical skills, classic French recipes, and the chef’s favorite modern dishes.
    • Cook in the mornings and afternoons, and for lunch enjoy the world class meal you prepare.
    • Visit the famous Halles Paul Bocuse, meet with local producers, and sample the finest of cheeses, chocolates, and other French staples.
    • Earn your certificate of completion from the institute during a graduation ceremony.

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

    Day 28

    Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Paris

    • Enjoy a final Parisian meal and farewell with your group.
    • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

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

    Day 29


    Please note: 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 above.

Itinerary is subject to change.

Past Group Leaders

  • Mark Anthony Arceño

    Philippine-born and Metro-Detroit-raised, Mark Anthony Arceño graduated from Albion College in 2010 with a BA in French and international studies and concentrations in ethnic studies and public policy and service. He studied and conducted independent research throughout South Africa with SIT Study Abroad’s Cape Town: Multiculturalism and Social Change program and studied in Paris and interned in Fontenay-sous-Bois Cedex. Additionally, Mark Anthony’s undergraduate coursework brought him to Noisy-le-Roi, France, New Orleans, and Québec. He has been studying French for the past 16 years, and 2014 marked his third summer leading an Experiment program to France.

    Currently, Mark Anthony is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at The Ohio State University, and he authors a food and culture blog based on the notion of “learning through food.” His principal research focus is the intersection of food, place, and identity, with an emphasis on local/regional French gastronomies and cultures. Prior to OSU, Mark Anthony was the program coordinator in the Office of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs at Denison University. Mark Anthony also enjoys movies, photography, and tennis.

  • Rajai Bimbo

    A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Rajai Bimbo graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, in 2004 with a BA in anthropology and sociology. While at DePauw, Rajai studied abroad in Paris, France, and in Bamako, Mali. In 2004, Rajai joined the United States Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa, where he served two years as a community health agent and teaching assistant at a school for children with disabilities. Later, he returned to Greencastle in the position of study abroad advisor, where he spent four years advising hundreds of students for long- and short-term experiences abroad. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in language education in France. In his free time, Rajai enjoys unicycling, contemporary dance, sign language, and theatre.

  • Lauren Hull

    A graduate of Wake Forest University, Lauren Hull majored in economics with a focus in international development and a second major in French. After four years in North Carolina, she received her BA in the spring of 2013, and she set off for France to teach English as a foreign language. Originally from the plains of the Midwest in St. Louis, Missouri, Lauren developed a desire to travel from a young age. She has lived and learned in Europe and Africa, specifically in France and in Cameroon, where she studied abroad with SIT. A former camp counselor, Lauren enjoys all outdoor activities including hiking, climbing, and especially running.

  • Kelly O'Brien

    Born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York, Kelly O’Brien graduated from Fordham University in 2013 with a BA in American studies and minors in French and philosophy. Following graduation, she went to Montréal, Canada, on a Fulbright research grant to study the transnational subculture of graffiti and street art. Kelly is an alumnus of the SIT Study Abroad Language, Community, and Social Change program in Toulouse, France. She has also lived in Connemara, Ireland, as part of Fulbright Ireland’s Summer Gaeltacht Award program and traveled in Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, and the Czech Republic. A current resident of Chicago, Kelly now divides her time between tutoring high school students and working at the University of Chicago. When she’s not interviewing graffiti artists or learning a language, Kelly loves scouting out new and local cuisine, going to the theater, riding her bike, and photographing the world around her.

  • Taylor Saia

    Born and raised outside of Philadelphia, “The City of Brotherly Love,” Taylor Saia grew up in a loving, rambunctious family of seven. He graduated magna cum laude from American University in Washington, DC, in 2013 with a BS in business administration and French. Recently, he completed a Fulbright in Indonesia, where he served as a cultural ambassador on behalf of the US Department of State and taught high school English. He has previously instructed ESL in France and math in Washington, DC; has interned at National Geographic; and has led a fabulous Experiment in International Living program in France that focused on French cooking and culinary traditions. Currently, Taylor lives in New York City and works as a market researcher where he spends his days analyzing social media data, making pretty charts, and discovering some of the craziest hashtags you’ve ever seen. Whether in a recreational or professional context, his experiences in international education and integrated communications have bolstered his passion for listening to people and making meaningful impacts on their lives.

    Taylor first became fascinated by the art of travel after a trip to France in high school, which inspired him to return to the French Riviera to live and teach for a year. His excitement for exploration and foreign cultures has since propelled him to journey widely through Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In addition to his enthusiasm for international adventure and service, Taylor enjoys singing, playing ukulele, and people-watching on the New York subway.

  • Nancy Strom

    A two-time Experiment leader to France, Nancy has a rich teaching and traveling background. After college, Nancy spent three years in Paris living with a host family, studying French and art history. She then studied in Germany, lived briefly in Spain, was a student-teacher in Mexico, volunteered in Guatemala, and, many summers, returned to Paris to teach. With her experience studying languages and living in other cultures, and a master’s in language education from SIT Graduate Institute, Nancy has committed her career to helping her adult ESL students with English and cultural competency skills, coordinating college-level ESL programs and teaching literacy classes.

    In addition to her teaching career, Nancy’s lifelong passion has been to research Paris, study art, and spend time in Paris museums. She enjoys cooking, especially French, Mediterranean, and Vietnamese cuisines, and she assists in professional cooking classes. Nancy is married, has two children (ages 18 and 21), and lives in Seattle.

Student Voices

  • Cooking at Paul Bocuse Institute was a amazing experience. Before The Experiment, I did not know how to cook, but I believe I learned how to prepare, cook, and decorate meals at a high level. The most important advice I have for future Experimenters is to watch your surroundings and to get off your phone, the reason why is because you have a amazing opportunity to travel abroad and experience the beauty of France.

  • I just can’t even explain how wonderful the cooking experience was. It was hard work but we were able to make wonderful and beautiful creations. And we got to taste the best food I’ve ever tasted in my life. It’s not everyday you get to eat food cooked by a world famous chef at a Michelin star restaurant.

  • I was given the opportunity to also take classes at the Institut Paul Bocuse, learn more culinary termed language in a class setting, and still get to visit many of the touristic cites France has to offer

  • The language classes were so very different from what I was accustomed to at home. At home, we learn vocabulary and grammar that is of course important, but not as useful in France. In these language classes, we went over the phrases and words that we would need to function in a French family, but are not normally in a textbook. This really prepared me to live in the home stay. I discovered so many types of cheeses that I had never before heard about. My favorite activity of Saint Rome de Dolan was canoeing in Les Gorges du Tarn, an incredibly beautiful canyon near Saint Rome de Dolan. It was definitely the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Traveling through the crystal-clear water at the bottom of gigantic cliffs was simply breathtaking. The only thing I regret was not having a waterproof camera with me so that I could have taken pictures! This time in Saint Rome de Dolan prepared us perfectly to speak French constantly during out upcoming homestay.