Paris Academia Seminars

Choose Your Seminar

Choose a major seminar and a minor seminar, and dive deep into your academic subjects. Major seminars meet six days a week for three hours; minor seminars meet three days a week for two hours. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Then take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with experts, and guest lectures from distinguished academics and renowned scholars.

Art History

As the epicenter of Western artistic development, Paris is home to the most renowned artworks in the world and iconic architectural landmarks. In this field-based seminar, explore art history from prehistory through today, using the city as your classroom. In the blockbuster galleries of the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, and the quieter corners of the Brancusi studio and Musée Jacquemart-Andre, follow movements that shaped history and inspired generations of artists. Focusing on movements that were nourished in France, discuss how they reflect the history of Paris and its people. Trace the development of religious imagery in altarpieces and tapestries at the Musée de Cluny and on the façade of Notre-Dame. Cross the Seine on the city’s Renaissance bridges, studying the masquerons on the Pont Neuf and the ornaments on Saint-Eustache. See the world through the eyes of the Impressionists at the Musée de l’Orangerie, walk in the footsteps of Renoir, Dalí, Picasso, Modigliani, and van Gogh, and see where many of their groundbreaking works were completed. Take day trips to experience the opulent classicism of Versailles and the quiet beauty of Monet’s garden at Giverny, and visit studios of contemporary Parisian artists challenging the role of traditional art history in their work.

Business, Banking, & Markets

Meet the economic protagonists of finance, both new and old, and explore challenges and opportunities of the expanding sustainable economy. With role-playing, guest speakers, and lectures, consider the practical aspects of green business, including management, finance, marketing, advertising, and public relations. Meet traders at Euronext, and discover what role the Cac 40 index plays in European and global markets. Discuss environmental initiatives with students from the Paris School of Economics, and examine the importance of global ethical concerns in setting economic policy.

French Cuisine

Named in 2010 by UNESCO as part of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, French gastronomy is fundamental to identity, family, and tradition. In this hands-on seminar, trace the history of food from the Gauls to the slow-food gastronomic movement, and meet Parisian chefs, bakers, and food writers. Scour neighborhood markets for the finest ingredients, learn how to prepare traditional recipes like boeuf bourguignon and confit de canard, and serve them to your peers in tasting groups. Meet with fifth-generation boulangers and learn the secrets of the perfect baguette, or interview a local fishmonger about getting the day’s fresh catch from the coast to the city. Explore regional distinctions, and discuss the importance of global influences on French cooking with chefs who blend Senegalese, Moroccan, or Vietnamese ingredients with traditionally French techniques. Discover how food-rights activists are working to end hunger in France, and how climate change is imperiling some of the country’s most prized agricultural traditions.

French Language: French Cuisine (Advanced/Intermediate French)

In this immersive language course taught entirely in French, experience the rich and diverse world of French cooking, eating, and culture. Each day, prepare a new recipe in our private kitchen with your classmates as you travel across the city in search of the freshest ingredients at local markets, discuss techniques with Parisian chefs, and learn the vocabulary of cooking. Visit biointensive urban farms that use minimal amounts of water and supply herbs and vegetables to local restaurants, and discuss how nutrition meets equity and justice with local food advocates. On a day trip to Normandy, meet with apple farmers whose families have grown heirloom varieties for generations, and cheesemakers who craft Camembert, Pont-L’Evêque, and Livarot. In the city, combine traditional French dishes with global influences, and meet restaurateurs, servers, and cooks who make their living in the industry. A minimum of two years of French study is required.

French Language: Streets of Paris (Advanced/Intermediate French)

With Paris as both backdrop and classroom, combine classroom instruction, real-life scenarios, and authentic experiences to improve comprehension and spoken command of the language. Explore Paris’ dynamic contemporary cultural scene, learning about French society, youth culture, film and media, music, dance, and cuisine. Interview Parisian market-goers to find the city’s best cheese, croissants, and other French specialties, talk with a museum guard at the Musée d’Orsay about their favorite Degas painting, or prepare a discussion about the role of French hip-hop. Limited class size allows you to set personal language goals together with your instructor so they can provide guidance in the areas you most want to improve. You are required to speak only French in class, and may research an independent topic of your choice relating to French life, which you present during the last week of the program. A minimum of two years of French study is required.

French Language: Conversation (Beginning French)

In this introductory language seminar, lay the groundwork for a solid understanding of French grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Through classroom instruction and real-life practice with native speakers, learn how to communicate effectively in everyday situations. Daily interactive language lessons provide opportunity for individualized instruction, while visits with students, shopkeepers, and musicians offer immersive experiences and real-world practice. Students may research an independent topic of their choice relating to French life or language, which they will present during the last week of the program. One year of French study is required.

History’s Secrets

Since the establishment of Lutetia in the first century B.C., Paris has been shaped by some of the most significant events in human history. From Roman settlement through the Middle Ages, and from the Enlightenment through the World Wars, Paris has a rich and storied history. But there is much more to the city’s past than meets the eye. In this field-based history course, dig into the city’s more complicated past, from the top of Montmartre to the bottom of the catacombs. What was it like to live through the Bubonic plague in the 14th century? Were the French Wars of Religion really about religion? Who supported the Resistance during the Nazi occupation, and who did not? Explore the city’s complicated historical record, along with art, literature, and music as you and your group travel across the city to find answers to these questions.

Law & Society

In this seminar, explore legal principles to better understand why laws exist, their place in our social world, and the state’s role in defining what may be ambiguous or evolving doctrine. Examine the different forms of constitutional governments, and apply a critical lens to the relatively modern concept of constitutions as governing documents. Learn about the various multinational institutions—including the UN, the WTO, and the International Court of Justice—that work independently and together to establish order throughout Europe and beyond. Examine the scope of their regulatory and enforcement power and discuss controversial cases and legal doctrine. Compare and contrast the French and American legal systems, and meet with international law professionals.

Medicine

Led by a senior professor of medicine, this seminar introduces students to every aspect of medicine, including the science prerequisites in the pre-med major, the systems of the body and how they correlate with the various specializations in medicine, possible career paths in clinical practice and research, and the latest developments in medical research today. Meet with researchers and medical practitioners to gain a better sense of the challenges doctors face today and how the practice of medicine continues to evolve.

Paris & the Creative Imagination

From its cafes and museums to its boulevards and parks, Paris has served as muse for centuries of artists, creators, and visionaries. In this field-based creative course, immerse yourself in this palpable tradition as you hone your own artistic vision and explore new perspectives and media. Explore the city’s hidden corners and famous landmarks with your sketchbook and camera, and follow the footsteps of the many artists who worked in the city. Sketch studies of the Champs-Élysées in the rain, study the play of light on the façade of Notre Dame, and photograph street musicians playing on the Quai d’Orsay. Balance your field-based explorations with readings, film, and music: read Gertrude Stein’s musings on painting, screen Godard’s Breathless, and study the significance of Josephine Baker on Paris and its creative voice. Prepare a final exhibition for the rest of your group to share your own Parisian works.

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$800 tuition discount + no application fee

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