ESA Civilization Program

ESA offers a complete introduction to French civilization, as well as special lectures, walking tours and seminars designed to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the rich cultural heritage of France. Lectures, walking tours and most museum visits include a French option for intermediate to advanced students.

French Civilization: Origins to the 21st Century

With about 12 hours of lecture plus visits in and around Paris, we study the relationship between French political life, social structure, art, architecture and urbanism in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, 17th Century, Enlightenment, Revolution and modern period. The streets of Paris become your textbook and classroom as we visit historic sites, monuments, and museums.

This course is offered in English for beginning students of the French language and in French for intermediate and advanced students. A few visits are in English only.

Visits associated with the ESA Civilization Program (includes suggested independent visits, as well as ESA group tours):

  • The Middle Ages
    • Paris: la Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame de Paris, St Séverin, le Quartier Latin, Musée de Cluny (medieval art; Roman baths)
    • Rouen: Place Jeanne d'Arc; la Cathédrale; medieval and Renaissance neighborhoods
  • Renaissance and 17th Century
    • Paris: les Invalides; Palais du Louvre; le Marais (17th-century aristocratic neighborhood); Place de la Bastille
    • Outside of the city: chateau of Versailles, Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte
  • 18th-century, the Revolution and the 19th-Century
    • Musée d'Orsay,, Garnier Opera House, Musée des Arts et Métiers

  • 19th-century, the Revolution and the 19th-Century
    • Musée Rodin, Giverny (Claude Monet’s home in Normandy), Garnier Opera House, Musée des Arts et Métiers
  • Modern Paris
    • le Centre Pompidou, Pyramide du Louvre; the Forum des Halles, Trocadéro, la Défense, la Villette (museum of science and industry), l'Institut du Monde Arabe