7 Amazing Teachable Moments in France

France is not just for French teachers! There’s a reason the Hexagon is the most visited country in the world. From the bustling capital of Paris to the serene lavender fields in the south, this country has something to offer everyone. Whether you teach science, history, art, theatre, math or French (bien sûr!), there are lessons that can be learned only here and that will stay with your students for the rest of their lives.

Have you ever thought to…

Grab your sketch pad or watercolors for a stroll through Monet’s gardens in Giverny? This picturesque village outside of Paris is an artist’s dream. A visit to Monet’s home and studio will inspire your students to create their own masterpieces. The aha moment comes when they take a seat near those very real water lilies.

Follow along the ancient Bayeux tapestry as it unwinds the story of William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl of Wessex? This is no television drama or video game, but the fast-paced action adventure of Viking ships and Norman and Saxon cavalries will keep your students riveted. That’s a history lesson worth seeing with your own eyes.

Give an in-the-field vocabulary quiz? Show your students the practicality of all those language lessons! Order the best croque-monsieur you’ve ever tasted at a streetside café; ask for directions in the Métro; test your bartering skills en français at a local flea market. It’s sink or swim—and we bet they’ll fly.

Study the geometric patterns of the gardens at Chenonceau? Mathematical concepts at work in the world are fascinating. What a thrilling lesson, after such inspiration, to draw one’s own plans for a fantastic geometricalgarden! We bet your students will never see math the same way again.

Walk the hallowed halls of the Palais Garnier? It takes courage to explore this 2200-seat opera house. Perhaps you’ll come face to face with the Phantom of the Opera. But even if your students walk away without a sighting, the passion and intrigue of the theatre is sure to stay with them.

Study science in Versailles? Under Louis XIV, Versailles was the cradle of scientific advancement in France. With his support of the sciences, the castle housed such projects as the Marly machine, the first fire-resistant building, animal dissection in the court’s menagerie and botanical studies in the vast gardens. What better way to peak your students’ curiosity in scientific experimentation than to take them to the very place where some major advances unfolded?

Knock elbows with literary genius? Your students will channel their own inner literary greatness while grabbing a drink at Les Deux Magots, the café in Paris frequented by Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, James Joyce and many others. You may just bump into some up-and-coming writers.

Of course, we’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg with these seven teaching opportunities. If you’ve taken your students to France, or if you’re planning a trip in the near future, share your own ideas and unforgettable teaching moments in the comments below!

À bientôt!