Program sites include Brest and St. Brieuc in Brittany and Saumur in the Loire valley of France. Each locale offers exciting landmarks, beautiful scenery and a rich history. Students participate in excursions to Normandy and Paris as well as other locations nearby their site. St. Brieuc was established in 1962 as the first program in France, followed by Brest in 1994 while Saumur was added in 2010.
Brest, first mentioned in 1240, is located in the region of Brittany in northwestern France. A midsized town of around 140,000 citizens, it is an important seaport and naval base and shares a rich history with the United States. Though much of its architecture was destroyed during WWII, the Tanguy Tower, the Castle and the Pont de Recouvrance, a massive drawbridge, offer a glimpse into old-world France.
Since Brest sits on the Atlantic coast near a magnificent landlocked bay and the river Penfeld, it offers beautiful vistas of beaches, rich hills and forests. Students may sample Breton cuisine like the famous Breton crêpe and delicious seafood. Famous sporting events such as the Tour de France often travel through Brest.
With a population of almost 30,000 citizens, the historic town of Saumur is located between the Loire and Thouet rivers in western France. One of the most important monuments of Saumur is the breathtaking Château de Saumur which stands high above the town. Around town students will discover the Cadre Noir, the École Nationale d'Équitation (National School of Horsemanship), and the Armoured Branch and Cavalry Training School. The Tank Museum, the Musée des Blindés, showcases more than 850 armored vehicles, wheeled or tracked from France, though some come from other countries such as Brazil, Germany, or the Soviet Union. Underground, students may visit 500 kilometers (312 miles) of caves de champignons, caves used to grow 70 percent of the country’s most common cooking mushrooms.
“I was a participant in the program in St. Brieuc in 1963 and wanted to let you know it was one of the most important experiences in my life. As an adult I have taught in Austria, Mexico, and Venezuela which I directly attribute to my IU experience. I have also been a researcher at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth investigating academic excellence and the role of culture in fostering it. I know that in a job like yours you always hope to have an impact, but it is unclear what ripple effects you are producing. Just wanted to let you know that my experience in your program was one of the seminal events in my life.” Wayne D. Parker, Ph.D., Alum 1963, St. Brieuc, France
Named after a Welsh monk in the sixth century and one of the oldest towns in the program, St. Brieuc is located in the region of Brittany in northwestern France.
As the first program site in France, St. Brieuc has been with the IUHPFL program for 52 years. While St. Brieuc is a smaller town with less than 50,000 citizens, it offers all the amenities of much larger cities. Its scenery is breathtaking with ever-changing water views, sandy beaches and amazing rock formations.
St. Brieuc straddles two rivers before emptying into the Bay of St. Brieuc and the English Channel. In 2008 and 2012, the Tour de France raced through this city.