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For Exchange Students at EBS Paris : a History of Paris through its monuments


When students go abroad for a year, they want more than just taking courses, wherever they are. They want to have a real experience, meet locals as well as people from all over the world, learn a language, visit the country, and immerse themselves in the given culture.

To ensure that our international exchange students have such an experience while studying at EBS Paris for one semester, our French culture professor Claude Gamelin teaches one fun, unconventional course : A History of Paris through its Monuments.

Claude Gamelin, Culture and French Civilization professor

‘My goal is to bring to our beautiful city a new perspective that is much richer than that of the simple tourist in Paris…while at the same time not being too technical, pedantic and certainly not boring ! For example, tourists visiting Le Louvre go straight to see the Mona Lisa, then perhaps other halls. When we go to the Louvre in our course, we see the evolution of the building from medieval fortress to royal residence to museum for the people. It is important to take in hundreds of years of importance !

We start our visits in Le Marais, or ‘The Marsh,’ also in central Paris. Students don’t usually know it when they first come to Paris, though it is a very rich area with three different communities of people, lots of history, and great shopping, eating, and going out. In another class, we visit  l’Assemblée Nationale or l’Hôtel de Ville or le Sénat to better understand France’s governmental institutions.

Through this course, I share my passion for Paris, its history and culture, and the students come away as Parisians !’

Comments from Bingchun Xu, a Chinese student, about her experience at EBS Paris this Fall 2019 :

  • What has this course brought you?

‘This course combines theory and practice to help us better understand the local culture and history of France and Paris. This is especially good for international students like me, since we don’t always have the opportunity to access local life and culture.’

  • What outing did you prefer most and why ? 

‘My favorite part was visiting the museums together, which we did a lot, and generally spending time with the other students while being out in Paris. In China, we do not have the opportunity to visit every significant attraction with a professor. However, in this class at EBS, we were given a lot of information about very important works of art, buildings, beliefs and culture. Put together, it definitely helped us have a better understanding about some details of this beautiful country. 、

I really enjoyed every time we had class and always looked forward to our next outing or ‘sortie’ in French. When I return to China, I am sure to be able to share various cultural points and knowledge about Paris and France to my friends and family. ’