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  • Locations: Lourdes, France; Montpellier, France; Paris, France
  • Program Terms: Winter
  • Restrictions: Elon applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Winter
  • Dates / Deadlines
Program Description:

Course Description

france sacred top


Taught in English with half the time spent in Paris and half in the vibrant medieval city of Montpellier, France, just ten minutes from the Mediterranean Sea, this course will explore both historical and current notions of sacred space and perceptions of religious experience in French culture through the palate of gastronomy, art, architecture, and popular music. In so doing, students will examine France’s paradoxical relationship to itself and study this country’s shifts in national identity vis-à-vis organized religion due to decolonization and immigration during the last century. Course facilitation will include cultural studies texts, journal articles, French/Francophone literature in translation, video news reports and podcasts, films, documentaries, popular music, and on-site visits to places such as restaurants, cafés, cathedrals, abbeys, castles, the Papal palace in Avignon, mosques, a medieval synagogue and Jewish ghetto. 

Application and acceptance required. Additional travel fee is required. Counts toward Civilization or Expression (non-literature) requirement, and satisfies one unit of experiential learning toward fulfillment of the Experiential Learning Requirement.
  • Grades count toward an Elon GPA.
  • Study abroad courses may not be taken on an audit or pass/fail basis.

Prerequisite Preparatory Seminar: GBL 167

This Winter Term course has a required one semester-hour fall prerequisite preparatory seminar course associated with it. Students accepted into the Winter Term course will be automatically registered for the associated fall course. There is no additional cost for the prerequisite preparatory seminar course for students who are registered full-time even if the one credit creates an overload for a student's registration.

It is Elon University policy that students who are registered part-time for the fall semester will be charged the additional one credit hour of tuition for the fall prerequisite preparatory seminar course. Students will also be charged four credit hours of tuition for Winter Term in addition to the program fees. If students contact the Bursar's office to verify that they will be enrolled full-time in the spring semester, the four hours of Winter Term tuition will not be collected. 

There will also be a required meeting about the course in May.

Spring Meeting Information

The Spring meeting time, date and location to be announced.

Fall Course Meeting Information

The fall pre-departure course will meet on Fridays from 03:05-04:45 PM. Location TBA.


Additional Course Information

From the Holy Land to Hagia Sophia and Mt. Fuji to Mecca, why do we experience some places as more special than others? What makes a sacred space feel like hallowed ground? What precisely do we mean by ‘holy’? How do various subcultures express their understanding of self and world in the location and design of certain spaces that they consider to be sacred? Both Paris and Montpellier afford a rich variety of ancient and contemporary sites, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim and prehistoric, where we can explore the meaning of the sacred as it is set forth in geographical and architectural forms. And yet, not every location we visit may strike you as religious in the traditional sense. Imagine, if you will, le Louvre as a temple of visual art, le Stade de France as the high church of soccer, the Cordon Bleu as the cathedral of haute cuisine.

Why France?
In the US, France is beloved by many, despised by some, and all too often misunderstood. Yet France has long been a valuable partner of the US, politically and militarily, and its culture wields extensive influence over American arts, fashion, and food. Students seeking to become global citizens stand to learn a great deal about their own cultural assumptions from first-hand experience of French politics, customs, and mores. Moreover, exposure to the history and current state of relations among the many and varied religious communities in France will provide a rich source of information and possible options for how the United States might move forward into an increasingly multi-cultural future.

From Montpellier to Paris
The city of Montpellier is located in south central France 10 minutes from the Mediterranean. It was established around 985CE as a village of merchants importing spices from the Levant. With the imports came the medical uses of their products from the knowledge of Arabic medicine. By 1000CE, many Arab and Jewish trading partners were teaching merchants and students there. The school of medicine founded at this time is the oldest in Europe and still a prestigious medical school today. Montpellier is a vibrant, animated medieval city with a diverse population.
Paris breathes intellectual air, ethnic and religious diversity, artistic appreciation, and culinary excellence at every corner: with its open-air markets, bistros, and boulangeries, its myriad of museums, historic landmarks and  countless places of worship– all these spaces are deemed sacred by different people, and thus Paris embodies an ideal location to learn about cultural cohabitations in a multi-ethnic and multi-faith society.

Activity Level: Challenging

Activity levels are rated to fit into one of four categories: easy going, moderate, challenging and demanding. This program is rated as challenging, which means walking is the best way to get to know a new place. Be prepared for a good physical challenge and to spend the entire day on the move, whether it’s public transit, city streets or village cobblestones.

** Please note that this program includes tours that are often strenuous, long, hilly, filled with cobblestones. This program is for hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
France Sacred 2014



Students are required to take the fall pre-departure course associated with this Winter Term course. All students will automatically be registered for the pre-departure course but must register themselves for the Winter Term course during pre-registration for Winter Term.

Cancellation Policy


To cancel your participation in a program, complete the Winter Term Withdrawal questionnaire in your application.


The tentative dates for the program are TBD.
While official flight itineraries are typically distributed in early September, the tentative group departure/return point is TBD.
Note: This information is subject to change based on airline changes and cancellations.



Students will experience many sites deemed sacred, which will provide multiple opportunities for personal reflection and growth.

For example:
  • Multi-course gastronomic meals at tradition-al French restaurants in both Paris and Montpellier.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and other museums, the Moulin Rouge, the Eiffel Tower, 17th century cafés that were sacred spaces for philosophers and the literati, the Catacombs, the Great Mosque of Paris, and Versailles.
  • Palaces, wineries and vineyards in and around Paris and Montpellier
  • Prehistoric caves, medieval abbeys, cathedrals, and Buddhist temples in and around Montpellier.
  • The Maison carrée, a Roman temple in Nîmes , the papal palace in Avignon, and the synagogue of Avignon, which was first built in 1221CE.

Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to availability of local facilities and scheduling issues.



Students will be housed in shared accommodations.


Costs for global study vary program to program and are in addition to the tuition for Winter Term (included in fall semester tuition/bill). 

Basic cost information is available on the Cost and Credit Chart.

Detailed cost information is available on the budget sheet (link at top of page).


Scholarships/Travel Grants

Students seeking need-based financial support are encouraged to apply for the GEC Access Scholarship.

For additional information on scholarships or other funding for study abroad, see the Financial Planning for Global Study page.

If you qualify for a travel grant through any of the fellows or scholars programs, see the appropriate program director for more information on how to apply the grant to your study abroad program. Visit the Deadlines and Events Calendar for travel grant deadlines.

Connect with us

Drop by the GEC in Global Commons 360 for Quick Questions, no appointment necessary:
Wednesdays 2-4 PM
Thursdays 9-11 AM

Read blog posts from students on this program in years past and access blogs for Faculty-led programs on the Study Abroad Blog.

Global Ambassadors are GEC student representatives that have participated in one or more study abroad programs and have been trained to speak about their experiences. You can be in touch with current Global Ambassadors via email. They are looking forward to hearing from you!

Want to know more? Connect with the GEC, alumni, and prospective students on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And keep in touch with us using #ElonGlobal!


Program Leader 1: LD Russell
Department of Religious Studies
CB 2340, Spence Pavilion 210

Program Leader 2:Patti Burns
Lecturer in French in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
Carlton Building 334
2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244

Isabella Cannon Global Education Center (GEC)
Global Commons 360
2375 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244
336.278.6700 (phone)
336.278.6692 (fax)



Ready to apply?

Click "apply now" from this brochure to get started, and complete your application by the deadline listed below.

If applications are not yet available, see the deadlines webpage for information on when this program will be accepting applications.

See the application instructions webpage for more information on the application requirements and process.


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2018 08/31/2017
Rolling Admission 01/03/2018 01/24/2018
NOTE: See the Deadlines Webpage for Winter Term 2019 information.
Winter 2019 09/03/2018 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Below are the application deadlines for this program.

March 5: Priority application period begins.

March 15, 11:59 p.m. EDT: Priority period deadline. All applications received during the priority period are reviewed for eligibility and merit rather than time of submission.

March 27: Status notification for students that applied by the priority deadline.

Change period begins. Students that applied by the priority deadline can change into an open program by completing a Change Form (available in the GEC starting March 27).

March 29: Rolling period begins. All programs with spots remaining will reopen for application. New applications will be reviewed on a rolling and space-available basis.

Sept. 3, 11:59 p.m. EDT: Final application and deposit credit deadline. Students accepted to programs that cancel after this date will not have the deposit credited to their account.

Sept. 4, 5 p.m. EDT: Final deadline for students on a wait list to enroll in an open program. No students will be accepted into programs off of wait lists after this date. Students that are not accepted into programs will have the deposit credited to their account after this date.

Please view the deadlines page for payment and cancellation deadlines.

The start date and end date listed reflect the dates students are expected to arrive in and depart from the host location and reflect the best information available to the Global Education Center. Please do not purchase plane tickets based on these dates. Individual programs will provide updates after your acceptance to the program.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applications will be reviewed on a space-available basis and applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of submission.

Indicates that deadline has passed