Spotlight on Paris: Sorbonne treat

No matter how many times I’ve visited Paris, I always experience something new and exciting. My most recent trip was no different.

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a group of students and faculty from Arizona State University, which was spending two weeks on a photography course in Paris. I can’t imagine a better backdrop than the City of Light for photography students. This is a regular study abroad program that Hart Travel Partners produces for ASU; you can even see some of the previous students’ photos on the HTP website.

On Tuesday morning, the students, faculty and I enjoyed a rare treat at the Sorbonne. One of the school’s caretakers showed us around on a special tour of the world-renowned university. We began our tour in the beautiful 19th century courtyard with the amazing sun clock at one end. You can see the outline of the first building of the original Sorbonne that was founded in the 13th century by Robert de Sorbon (the chaplain of King Louis IX). The school was founded to teach poor students and then over the centuries became the privilege of the nobility. Our students were there taking photographs with their expensive digital cameras, and local students were there typing on their laptops. I wondered if Robert de Sorbon could have imagined such advances in technology.

We then proceeded into the chapel that was built by Cardinal Richelieu (chief minister to King Louis XIII). It features the first stone dome ever built in Paris! It also includes a crypt, where 12 students and professors killed during World War II are interred. This area is closed off to the public, but one of our students seemed to be so fascinated by the crypt that the caretaker made a special exception and took us down there! We felt very special to be allowed into such a private place.

Our final stop on the tour was the Salle Louis Liard, the room where Sorbonne students defend their theses. It is an awe-inspiring room with an incredible ceiling and paintings of famous French academics such as Descartes, Molière and Racine. It definitely conveys the prestige of French higher education. I’ve never experienced anything like that unique tour of such a famous institution of learning.

It is difficult to arrange such a visit to the Sorbonne, and it’s not something that ordinary visitors or tourists to Paris can enjoy. However, with our wonderful team on the ground in Paris, HTP was able to organize this special experience for our group of students and their professors. It’s the type of unique experience that our team in Paris specializes in organizing and the sort of experience we also can help create for your group, regardless of the courses you teach. Some examples from recent HTP faculty-led programs to Paris include:

Art — A visit to a local art studio, such as 59 Rivoli, one of the city’s top contemporary art studios, located in the heart of central Paris.

Business — A behind-the-scenes visit of the flagship Louis Vuitton store on the iconic Champs-Élysées.

Fashion — A visit to a local fashion school and a fashion show.

Food — A guided visit to a local market, a cooking lesson and/or a wine tasting.

We also can tailor experiences around history, literature, language and so much more, including, of course, photography.

The appeal of a short-term study abroad program in Paris also includes the city’s distinct European flair, its delicious cuisine, its urban neighborhoods, its … je ne sais quoi. Our groups get to experience all of it.

While in Paris, all of our groups stay in accommodations in central locations. Our most popular is Generator Paris, located near the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th Arrondissement, steps from cafés, shops and galleries. This cool “poshtel” is both modern and spacious. If you need to meet with students in the evenings for course work, as many groups do, there is ample space. Plus, the view from the rooftop bar is spectacular!

Visiting and studying in Paris, of course, wouldn’t be complete without dining on the city’s world-famous cuisine, so we also ensure that our groups enjoy local fare. One of our students’ favorite restaurants is L’Olivier du Marais. Our groups enjoy terrific meals right on the Place des Vosges in the trendy Marais, nestled amid an array of art galleries and just steps from Victor Hugo's home!

No matter what course you teach, Paris offers something spectacular and new every time you visit. We can arrange fabulous and rewarding experiences for you and your students in Paris and around the world! Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me anytime to discuss how we can incorporate Paris into one of your faculty-led programs.

Bon voyage,

Steve Hart
Hart Travel Partners