2021 Milford France Cultural Journey
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What to Expect
Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.
We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group.
|1 - Thursday, June 3||USA & Paris||Today we'll fly across the pond from Ohio to Paris, France. Because of the time change, we will spend the night on the plane and arrive on the continent in the morning!||Plane|
|2 - Friday, June 4||Paris||We'll meet our Smithsonian Adventures leader at the airport and head into the city to check into our accommodations and get settled. We'll spend the remainder of the afternoon walking around the Montmartre District where we'll see some of Paris' 18t, 19th and 20th century iconic sites : including a park designed by an artist, Art Nouveau inspired architecture and a number of impressive buildings, including a visit to the incredible Sacre Coeur church for a view over the city. We'll have dinner in the neighborhood and then head back to our hotel for a good night's rest.||Hotel in Paris|
|3 - Saturday, June 5||Paris||In the morning we'll visit the Louvre and you will have your chance to see the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and many other amazing works of art. After the Louvre we will walk to the Tuileries Gardens and eat our picnic lunches. From there, we will walk up to the Opera and admire the beautiful Palais Garnier. We'll pop up to Galeries Lafayette to admire the stained glass ceiling in the classic department store. Next, we'll walk on to see the Madeleine, the famous neoclassical Roman Catholic church. From there we'll head towards the Place de la Concorde and walk up the Champs Elysées taking in the sight of the Arc de Triomphe all the way. We'll stop for well-earned Ladurée macarons, classic French treats, for our afternoon snack. We'll then have some free time to explore this world-famous street before we have dinner and then head back to our hotel to spend some down-time together as a group.||Hotel in Paris|
|4 - Sunday, June 6||Paris & Vichy||Today we'll be up early to grab a train to Vichy. On arrival we'll drop our bags, have lunch and then head out to explore Vichy on foot - visiting the historic town center, the opera, and the local market. We'll be off to our host families this evening and have a first dinner with them and get settled into our new surroundings.||CAVILAM homestay|
|5 - Monday, June 7||Vichy||This morning we'll be up early for breakfast with our families and then we'll be off to our first morning of French classes at CAVILAM. We'll have lunch on campus followed by an afternoon excursion. Upon returning to CAVILAM, we will have some time to do outdoor sports or have some free time. Dinner will be with host families.||CAVILAM homestay|
|6 - Tuesday, June 8||Vichy||This morning we'll be up early again for breakfast with our families and then we'll be off to our second day of French classes at CAVILAM. We'll have lunch on campus followed by an afternoon excursion. Upon returning to CAVILAM, we will have some time to do outdoor sports or have some free time. Dinner will be with host families.||CAVILAM homestay|
|7- Wednesday, June 9||Vichy||This morning we'll be up again early for breakfast with our families and then we'll be off to our third morning of French classes at CAVILAM. We'll have lunch on campus followed by an afternoon excursion. Upon returning to CAVILAM, we will have some time to do outdoor sports or have some free time. Dinner will be with host families.||CAVILAM homestay|
|8 - Thursday, June 10||Vichy||This morning we'll be up again early for breakfast with our families and then we'll be off to our fourth morning of French classes at CAVILAM. We'll have lunch on campus followed by an afternoon excursion. Upon returning to CAVILAM, we will have some time to do outdoor sports or have some free time. Dinner will be with host families.||CAVILAM homestay|
|9 - Friday, June 11||Vichy & Paris||This morning we'll be up again early for breakfast with our families and then we'll be off to our fifth and last morning of French classes at CAVILAM. We'll have a quick lunch and then grab our train back to Paris. We'll drop our bags, check into our lodgings, and then have a snack to catch our breath in the Jardin du Luxembourg. After that we'll be back in action and off to see the Pompidou Center, France's largest contemporary art museum - we'll see the great works and catch a view of the city from the top! We'll take a walk around the surrounding Les Halles (the young people hang here!) and the Ile de la cité (what's up with the reconstruction of Notre Dame??) neighborhoods to see a bit more of both "new" and old Paris before we have dinner near our lodgings and settle in for the night.||Hotel in Paris|
|10 - Saturday, June 12||Paris||Today we will be up again bright and early to take the RER train just outside of Paris to see The Palace of Versailles , one of the most opulent palaces in the world, with gardens equally as beautiful. We'll enjoy a nice picnic in the gardens and you'll also get the chance to visit the historic Hall of Mirrors - the treaty of Versailles was signed here, ending World War I. After the visit, we'll take the RER back into Paris and get out at Trocadero to see the Eiffel Tower from one of its most impressive vantage points and sit for a minute to catch our breath before we wind our way down to the Champ de Mars. We'll stop for dinner in the neighborhood. From there we'll walk along the Seine to catch a scenic evening boat ride along the river to see all of Paris illuminated at night. We'll make it back to our accommodations to pack and get a good night's rest before a long day of travel tomorrow!||Hotel in Paris|
|11 - Sunday, June 13||Paris & USA||We'll have our last Parisian breakfast altogether before we head to the airport to make our way home!||Home|
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, 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!
In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.
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. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
This will be the best part of your trip! Staying with a host family immerses you in the language and culture of the destination, and can lead to deep and lasting relationships with your hosts. Initially intimidating but ultimately unforgettable, there’s no better way to begin to truly understand the place you’re visiting.
Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here.
Remember that Walking Tree is not responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.
We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure but for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your Group Organizer/s.
FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.
Host Community and Project Details
What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.
T-shirts, tank tops or work shirts
Long sleeve shirts
Sturdy shoes (appropriate for lots of walking/athletic activity)
Sports sandals ie Chacos/Tevas etc. (optional)
Flip flops (optional)
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Bring the BASIC toiletries you need plus:
Band aids and Neosporin and other basic first aid supplies
Journal and pen
Quick dry towel
Alarm Clock and watch
Visa/MasterCard debit card or US dollars (we recommend students bring between $100-$200, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle
At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.
France Country Director
Carnegie Mellon University – B.A. Francophone Studies and Anthropology
Columbia University – M.A. Cultural Studies
Born in Tokyo, Sarah was raised in an Ecuadorian-American family in Singapore, Paris and the D.C. suburbs. Basically, she had no choice: she was going to be an implicated world citizen whether she liked it or not. After finishing a self-defined undergraduate major in Francophone literature, Anthropology and Painting – with a semester-long stint in Bamako, Mali squeezed in – she continued to study, travel and work in the francophone world. Since completing her undergraduate studies she has lived in the French antilles, worked in Haiti, completed a Masters in Paris, braved the mean streets of NYC, and taught French in Dakar, Senegal. She has now landed in Bordeaux in the south of France where she has learned that biking along the Garonne River can, in fact, give a person a whole other take on life.
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO
Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government
While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.
Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.
Blog and Communication
During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program. Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.
Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.
Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.
Standards of Behavior
In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.
GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE
- Getting a piercing or tattoo
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
- Threatening with or using weapons
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
- Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
- Breaking group rules
These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with us.
Health and Safety
We strongly recommend visiting the CDC France website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.
Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.
Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.
We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.
While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience has taught us that travel can come with risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider protecting their trip and travel investment by purchasing a travel protection plan with a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) provision.
To make this process as easy as possible, we have partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry. Begin by taking a few minutes to get a quote here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of the date your initial payment or your deposit for your trip is received. You must also insure 100% of the prepaid, non-refundable trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions and cancel 48 hours or more before your scheduled trip departure date. Please note that CFAR is not available to residents of New York.