2019 Horace Mann French Homestay Adventure

Dear Families – Welcome to the homepage for the 2019 Horace Mann French Homestay Adventure. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Horace Mann School! Please read through the details about your program below and peruse our Resource Center, which contains lots of helpful information about our organization, tuition, safety, insurance, and more. We hope you will join us on the adventure of a lifetime in France!
Travel Dates: June 11, 2019 - June 25, 2019
Group Organizer(s):
WTT/SSA Contact:
Program Tuition: $4,200 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $750
Deadline(s): Enrollment deadlines forthcoming

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Program Tuition: $4,200

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From the City of Lights, to beautiful Mediterranean towns, to small villages tucked between picturesque vineyards, to campgrounds in the rugged Pyrenees, France is a country with an enriching adventure for every kind of traveler. With one of the most influential, distinct, and celebrated cultures in the world – combined with a history richer than its famous food – France is a magnificent destination to consider. Our programs will immerse travelers in the French language and introduce them to wonders of France!

Cultural Journeys

Cultural Journeys

Cultural Journeys provide deep insight into the history, culture, and natural heritage of our host countries through authentic immersive experiences. Students will explore ancient ruins, sample new foods, and develop valuable leadership skills.

Program Highlights

Check out some of the possible featured experiences of your coming adventure! Each customized itinerary is unique, but these are just a few of the activities which may be available during your program.

Explore the Palace of Versailles, one of the most opulent places in the world

Visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, the Louvre and more!

Enjoy a picnic lunch in the Jardin des Tuileries

Window shop on the Champs-Élysées

Visit Normandy's American cemetery

Visit the Eiffel Tower and other iconic sites

Travel to Normandy‘s Omaha Beach

Visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, the Louvre and more!

Visit Siena's world renowned cathedral and crypt

Take a bicycle tour through the Roman hillside

Tour a local olive farm

Learn to make true Italian food in a private cooking class

Head to Murano Island and witness Venice's famous glass blowing

Hike Mt. Vesuvius and tour the fascinating ruins of Pompeii

Explore the famed Colosseum

Explore Lyon's scenic Farmers Markets

Explore La Basilica di Santa Croce, where greats like Niccola Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei, and Michelangelo are buried

Discover the Loire Valley region with its Châteaux and vineyards

The Itinerary

We work hard to create engaging, educational, and truly immersive itineraries for our travelers. However, we also know that travel can be unpredictable, so we always design our experiences to be flexible enough to allow for adjustments based on group interests, unexpected opportunities, and any weather or safety concerns that may arise during your program. Should changes to the itinerary occur, we will notify travelers and families as quickly as possible. 

1New York - ParisFly to Paris and meet your Smithsonian Student Adventures leader at the airport. We will check into our hotel and get settled. You'll spend the remainder of the day the Montmartre District including the incredible Sacré Cœur .Hotel in Paris
2ParisWith so much to see in Paris, we'll spend most of the day visiting monuments and amazing sites. We'll start the day at The Orsay Museum followed by a trip to the beautiful Tuileries Garden where we will have a picnic lunch. Next we'll continue on to the Place de la Concorde and the Place Vendome , a square dominated by a decorated column dedicated to the famous Napoleonic battle of Austerlitz. We'll move on to the home of the current French President - the Palais de l'Élysée, where we'll enjoy the beautiful view as we stroll by. The afternoon will be an excellent chance to do some (window) shopping at one of the most exclusive shopping districts in the world; Champs-Élysées. We'll finish up the day up at the Arc de Triomphe. We'll have dinner at a restaurant nearby and then head to the Palais du Tokyo, Paris' exciting contemporary art museum (open until midnight!). Here we'll see an exhibition and have an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower before heading back to our hotels for a good night's sleep.Hotel in Paris
3ParisToday, we will enjoy a walking tour of Paris. We'll start on the Left Bank or Rive Gauche where we will see the Luxembourg Gardens , the Pantheon , and the famous Latin Quarter , followed by the Holy Chapel and Notre Dame Cathedral . We'll stop for a picnic lunch in a nearby park and explore the charming Ile de St. Louis. Then we will continue to the Pompidou Center , where we will see an exhibition. After the museum we will walk to the Les Halles area and explore Rue Montorgueil , the oldest market street in Paris, and the Church of St. Eustache . We will eat dinner at a restaurant in the neighborhood and then head back to our hotel for some rest.Hotel in Paris
4ParisIn the morning we'll visit the Louvre and you will see the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory and many other amazing works of art. After the Louvre we will walk to the gardens of the Palais Royal and eat our picnic lunches. From there, we will head to our language and cultural exchange with a group of French students in their school or at a local activity center. In the evening, we will see the Place de Clichy and move onwards to take photos in front of the Moulin Rouge . We will have dinner in the area and then take the Metro back to our hotel.Hotel in Paris
5ParisToday we will take the RER to the palace of Versailles, one of the most opulent palaces in the world, with gardens equally as beautiful. We'll enjoy a picnic in the gardens and visit the historic Hall of Mirrors - the treaty of Versailles was signed here, ending World War I. We'll take the RER back into Paris to the Champs de Mars to see the Eiffel Tower up close. If scheduling allows, we will ride all the way to the top! When we get back to ground level, we'll walk to see Les Invalides. We'll walk along the Seine and then head back towards our hotel to eat dinner.Hotel in Paris
6Normandy (Caen, Bayeux)In the morning we'll depart by bus or train for Caen, Normandy, arriving at the Atlantic coast by early afternoon. Once on the beach, we’ll rent bikes and ride along the D-Day beaches, as we remember the incredible sacrifice of what happened here on June 6, 1944. We will stop at the American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, and Utah Beach to learn about the events that took place on the beach that ultimately led to the Allied victory in World War II. We'll have a picnic lunch along the way. At the end of the afternoon, we'll return the bikes and head to the medieval city of Bayeux for the evening. We'll have dinner and check into our lodging.Hostel in Bayeux
7Normandy (Bayeux, Mont St. Michel Bay)After breakfast at the hostel, we will visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry from the 11th century, depicting William the Conqueror’s conquest of England. Then we’ll hit the road, traveling southwest toward St. Malo. We’ll take a guided tour of the Mont St. Michel, an enchanting island monastery. stay in the Mont St. Michel bay for the evening, lodging in a renovated farmhouse. In the evening, we’ll take a guided sunset hike on the bay.Hostel in Mont St. Michel Bay
8Brittany (St. Malo)We'll depart Mont St. Michel Bay in the morning and continue toward St. Malo. On the way, we'll stop at a dairy or marine farm and learn about the importance of these industries in northwest France. We'll arrive in the walled port city of St. Malo by the late morning/early afternoon, and will have free time to have lunch and check out the city center. We'll also explore the oceanfront. Then we'll drive to Nantes late this afternoon and check into our accommodations there. We'll have dinner and discuss our plans for the next two days.Hostel in Nantes
9NantesAfter breakfast, we will head east into the Loire Valley . After 130 km, we'll stop at Rochemenier and visit the Village Troglodytique, a 13th-century town built into stone. And after just a few more kilometers, we'll stop in Saumur for lunch. Then we will drive a bit further along the Loire River to Chênehutte-Trèves-Cunault , to La Cave aux Moines. There, we'll learn how mushrooms and snails are raised (and perhaps taste some!). We will take the bus and head further east, towards Chateaux territory, stopping at Amboise to see the castle there. Finally we'll drive to our accommodations, check in, and have dinner.Hostel near Amboise
10Loire valleyAfter breakfast, head back on the bus and tour more of chateau country (by bus or by bike if time allows). We'll see the beautiful castle of Chambord. After a picnic lunch, we drive south to Lyon, where we will arrive in early evening. We'll tour the Old Lyon district including Bellecour Square, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere , and the Lyon Cathedra. We'll have dinner and then check into our accommodations.Hostel in Lyon
11LyonAfter breakfast, we'll visit Les Halles de Lyon - one of the most popular indoor farmers markets in Lyon where we'll practice our French language skills and purchase items for our picnic lunch. We'll continue exploring Lyon on foot, and picnic in a park. In the afternoon, we'll visit City Hall and Terreaux Square, and see the Roman ruins . We'll have dinner and head to bed, since we will be waking up early to head to Nice.Hostel in Lyon
12NiceWe'll depart Lyon early in the morning and head towards Nice. It's a long drive. After we check into our accommodations we will have lunch and visit Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque. Then we will enjoy a walking tour of Nice, and enjoy dinner on the coast.Hostel in Nice
13MaconToday, we'll head out early after breakfast and drive back north, stopping in Macon for lunch. After a stroll to stretch our legs, we'll continue our drive back to Paris. We'll check into our hotel and have dinner. We'll have a quick meeting before bed to get ready for tomorrow, and then get a good night's sleep.Hotel in Paris
14ParisOn our last full day in Paris, we will head over to the Jardin des Plantes after breakfast. We'll take in the beautiful gardens and greenhouses and then break for a picnic lunch. After the gardens, we will have the opportunity to visit the Grand Mosquée of Paris , built in the 1920s, and have tea on the tiled terrace. We'll walk over to the bustling Rue Mouffetard , stopping to see the Arenes de Lutece (Roman ruins) on the way. We'll have a festive farewell dinner where you can taste traditional French cuisine: frog legs, escargot and steak frites. We'll head back to our hotel early so that we can pack and rest up for the journey home.Hotel in Paris
15Paris - USAToday we will head to the airport for the flight home. Bon Voyage!Home


In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for our travelers, teachers, staff, Program Leaders and Country Directors, we follow strict guidelines when deciding on lodging, making reservations, and assigning program participants to rooms.

Travelers will always be grouped in rooms and/or sleeping areas by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with their Walking Tree group. Group Organizers and Program Leaders will be roomed separately from each other and from other students. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled. 


Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.
FIAP Jean Monnet

More than just a hotel, this international youth accommodation also functions as a conference center, a cultural venue, and a space to meet up with friends from all over the world. A truly unique experience for students in Paris.

Ferme Auberge

A locally owned and operated welcoming countryside accommodation with modern amenities. We have chosen to work with Ferme Auberge de la Maison Nueve for its warm atmosphere, home cooked meals, and genuine French hospitality.

Auberge de Jeunesse Hi Nantes

Housed in the premises of an old tobacco factory, the Hi Nantes Youth Hostel is conveniently located near the train station, city center, history museum, and the Jardin des Plants. In a quiet area of town, it offers original accommodations from which to explore the Nantes’ history.

Safety and Support


This was our daughter’s 2nd trip with Walking Tree. In 2016, she took her school’s first trip with Walking Tree to Ecuador, and absolutely loved it. Once again, the Walking Tree representative was excellent. My daughter said Ben really made the trip, and worked hard to keep the group happy. Other positives: communication before the trip, website outline, daily blogs and trip photos. Very professional organization. We feel very secure sending our student out into the world with Walking Tree.

Parent of Olivia, traveler on California Cultural Journey

Your Adventure Includes

Estimated Airfare

In order to give our travelers the best possible price, we break out airfare from the Program Tuition. We will still handle all booking and ticketing via our flight partner who has access to special fares not available to the general public. We will provide full transparency in cost so that families pay what the flight costs and nothing more. You will be invoiced for the flight once we are able to secure the group’s airline contract.

Program Tuition Excludes: Travel insurance, baggage fees, airline minor fees, passport/visa fees, laundry, souvenirs, and activities not listed on itinerary.


Need to Raise Money? We have you covered.

Our travelers are provided with funding opportunities that are easy to implement and fun to take part in. Our flagship fundraiser involves selling fair trade, organic, shade-grown, carbon-neutral coffee from a women’s collective in Peru. There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so get started now by clicking the link below!


WTT coffee
Resource center

Resource Center

Why should high school students travel abroad? What happens if a participant gets sick? How quickly do we need to enroll? We’re sure you have plenty of questions and we’ve got you covered! Visit our Resource Center to discover the answers to your most pressing questions and contact us anytime with additional questions.

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