"The French air cleans up the brain and does good – a world of good."- Vincent van Gogh
Take in a breath of fresh air from the lavender-scented fields of Provence to the salty beaches of Poitou-Charentes as you explore the landscapes that have beckoned creative minds for centuries. Coco Chanel, Vincent van Gogh, Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse and Jules Verne are just a few that once called France home, all drawn to the rolling valleys and colorful cities for inspiration and learning.
For our 2019 Destination of the Year, we could only think of one place as rich in culture as it is in beauty: France. Whether you’ve never ventured to France or are a seasoned traveler, you’ll find there’s always something new to learn and somewhere new to explore. Here are our top five reasons you should celebrate France with us in 2019 …
See our learning adventures in France!
From Julia Child to Jacques Pepin, countless chefs have flocked to France to learn from the culinary greats before them. The result has been a hotbed for haute cuisine that has changed the way the world dines forever. Try something sweet like a silky crème brûlée and the famous Parisian macarons. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try grenouille (frog legs) and foie gras (duck liver) to truly feel like a local. Looking to learn how to whip up French classics on your own? Take a Road Scholar cooking program to channel your inner Éric Ripert.
See our full collection of food and wine programs in France.
Van Gogh. Monet. Matisse. Cézanne. Picasso. Degas. Renoir. The list of French artists is seemingly endless, and there’s no greater feeling than experiencing the landscapes that inspired their masterpieces. Discover the white cliffs of Etretat that moved Monet or journey to Aix-en-Provence to discover Cézanne’s impeccably preserved studio. Not to mention the hundreds of museums that house priceless pieces of art all over the country that are sure to light your creative spark.
See our full collection of art programs in France.
There’s deep-rooted history in Europe that you just can’t experience in the U.S., and France has some of the best examples. Time stands still in small, countryside villages where locals walk home along cobblestone streets to their half-timbered houses. These historic villages are such an important part of French culture that there’s even an association to help spread the word about them called Plus Beaux Villages de France, or “the most beautiful villages of France.” As of 2016 there were 156 historic villages in the association, each begging to be explored. Bike to Les Baux-de-Provence, a hilltop village inhabited since the Bronze Age, or spend the day in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to learn about this important stop on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
France is like a fairy-tale. If the medieval villages don’t have you singing in the streets, the opulent châteaux are sure to make you feel like a king or queen. There are thousands of castles in France, each with a special history and character of its own. Discover the Château de Pierrefonds, a 12th-century masterpiece that was bought and restored by Napoléon Bonaparte and his family. Or, walk along the Cher River with an expert to learn about the Renaissance history of Château de Villandry and explore its impeccable gardens.
If the delectable cuisine or the extravagant castles aren’t enough to draw you to this unique country, in 2019 France will be commemorating a very important event: the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Learn about one of the most significant battles of World War II at the beaches of Normandy and pay your respects to fallen soldiers at the American Cemetery. Join a Road Scholar expert to gain valuable historical context as you explore the memorials and landmarks of D-Day.
See our full collection of D-Day programs in France.
See our complete collection of learning adventures in France to learn about its authentic charm from rolling vineyards to lively cities.
Bon Voyage in 2019!
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