Orientation in Paris

The program begins with a pre-session in Paris which allows students to discover France’s political and cultural capital via guided museum visits, lectures and opportunities to become familiar with daily life in France. This is also a time get to know other program participants and the resident director who finalizes housing placements during this initial period.  

In recent years, the pre-session in Paris has included the following activities (which vary from year to year):

  • Daily instruction from the Resident Director on some aspect of French literature or culture and an introduction to French methodology and academic expectations.
  • Theater outings and concerts.
  • Small-group dinners with the resident director in Paris bistrots.
  • A mini-seminar on cultural difference led by a faculty member from Wellesley's French department.
  • Weekend excursions or day trips to the D-Day beaches and Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, Saint-Malo in Brittany, Versailles, Chartres, Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, Vaux-le-Vicomte.
  • Guided tours of Paris neighborhoods and museums, including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Orangerie; the Opéra Garnier; the Marais and île de la Cité; and Sainte Chapelle, to name a few.


In Paris, students are housed in a Citadines residence-hotel. All rooms are doubles with twin beds, telephones and free wireless access, bathroom, and a fully-equipped kitchenette. Students receive a stipend to cover all meals, laundry and transportation passes (bus and metro) in Paris. The residence includes meeting rooms, laundry facilities and a small exercise room.

Students generally appreciate the opportunity to explore Paris on their own, enjoy the diversity of the city and get to know one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the world. Many subsequently return to Paris for occasional weekends during their semester or year in Aix—a return made easier by the legendary TGV or train à grande vitesse which has reduced travel time from Aix to Paris to a mere 3 hours.

Orientation in Aix-en-Provence

Orientation continues in Aix and focuses on academic aspects, local culture and institutions, and student life. The program includes information sessions on the French university system and course selection process, visits to AMU and Sciences Po, and individual advising sessions with the Director. Other activities include a walking tour of Aix, day trips to Marseille and Cassis, a market outing, and guided museum visits.