France: Americans in France in the Era of the World Wars

For the first half of March break, students will travel to Paris, the Western Front, and Normandy Beach to share in a unique learning experience studying the role of Americans in France in the era of the world wars. By visiting, engaging with, and experiencing various important sites, figures, and stories of this time period, students will deepen their understanding of connectedness and citizenship in a complex and dynamic world.

This journey will begin in Paris by introducing and exposing students to the milieu of Lost Generation of the 1920’s.  We will walk in the footsteps of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, visit Gertrude Stein’s apartment, and the bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. We will explore the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay to see the paintings of Picasso, Cezanne, Braque, Dali and others that shaped modernism and the aesthetics of the 20th century.  Students will discover the steep streets of Monmartre and the cafes of the Left Bank, such as Closerie de Lilas and Café du Dome to understand the essential backdrop to Paris’s vibrant artistic and literary scene.

We will then travel by bus to the battlefields of the Western Front where we will visit the Last Post at Ypres’ Menin Gate, Tyne Cot cemetery, Flanders Field, and follow in the last steps of the poet, Wilfred Owen.  We will stay the night in Arras, and then journey south, perhaps stopping at Mont St. Michel on our route to Normandy.  Students will walk on Omaha Beach and the World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, as well as the Longues-sur-Mer Gun Battery. The next day we will return to Paris, capping our evening off with a cruise down the Seine to view the Eiffel Tower and the lights of the city. Students will return with a much-enriched understanding of the complex and dynamic relationship between America and France.

This program is open to all students with a preference towards those with a demonstrated interest in the history of France and the USA. All interested students are encouraged to apply by November 4. Financial aid is available for all trips with priority for students who have not previously received aid for a Deerfield trip.

Preliminary Itinerary:*

March 6: Depart New York or New England Airport to Paris

March 7-11 – Paris

Activities likely to include:

  • A walking tour of the Left Bank, stopping by Hemingway’s former residences, Gertrude Stein’s apartment, the different homes of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, the original location of Sylvia Beach’s bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, as well as its current home across from Notre Dame.
  • Trips to the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, and the Musee de L’Orangerie
  • A walking tour of Monmartre and the locations of Picasso and George Braque’s studios
  • Afternoons exploring cafes, Café du Dome, Brasserie Lipp, Les Duex Magots, and others.

March 10 – 11:  The battlefields of the Western Front, overnight in Arras

  • Visit Last Post at Ypres’ Menin Gate, Tyne Cot cemetery, Flanders Field, and the last steps of the poet, Wilfred Owen

March 11-12: Mont St. Michel and Normandy Beach, overnight in Normandy

  • Visit Omaha Beach and the World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, the Longues-sur-Mer Gun Battery

March 12-13: Return to Paris, evening cruise on the Seine,

March 13: Depart Paris-USA

*This itinerary is subject to change.

Program Notes:

  • Families are responsible for transportation from U.S.-based airport to the student’s destination for the remainder of March break.
  • During this trip, students will stay in inns and hotels. Meals will be shared in at hotels, restaurants, or picnic-style

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