Culture through Literature in Paris


Study Literature and writing in Paris, the "City of Light" and one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world  On this four-week, 6-credit program you will enjoy learning about Parisian culture, history, and literature through discussions of literary texts, essays, letters, and select movies.  Led by Pitt-Johnstown French language faculty, the program will explore many influences of French literature from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, following themes from courtly love to Surrealism.  You will also study the intricate links between literature and the arts through discussions about famous American writers such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Stein—known as the Lost Generation—who lived in Paris in the 1920s.

Coursework will be supplemented by city walks and tours along with guided visits to renown museums that include the Musee d’Orsay, Musee Carnavalet, Centre Pompidou and Notre Dame de Paris.  You will also explore places of historic and scenic value with a day trip to Château de Versailles, the center of political power in France from 1682 until start of the French Revolution in 1789.


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • An understanding of how American writers were influenced by the city of Paris in the 1920's
  • Background knowledge about WWI and its impact on France and its artists
  • Knowledge of major French themes such as the Absolutisme of Louis XIV, the Libertinage and the philosophies of the Enlightenment, impressionist and surrealist movements

Paris, the “City of Light” is the largest city in France and the capital. It is located in the north central part of the country along the Seine River. Paris was founded over 2,000 years ago and has been and continues to be one of the world’s most important and attractive cities. When you think of Paris, think of its beautiful architecture, world-class museums, wide boulevards lined with cafes mixed with narrow intimate cobblestone streets. The city is a hub for culture, business, commerce, art, entertainment and food. Paris is the perfect city for you to continue their studies during the summer as it is a center for educational and intellectual endeavors.

Temperatures and precipitation vary based on the season. In May, the temperatures are pretty mild can average 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. May is the rainiest and wettest month. Make sure to pack your umbrella as you may see rain showers with dry breaks in-between. It is important though to be prepared with a variety of clothes that you can layer with during your program.


Where You'll Live: 

You will live in shared apartments or shared studios that are located throughout the 20 arrondissements and provides you with a true sense of French life. Typical commute time to the CEA Center where you will have your classes is between 30 and 45 minutes by metro or walking. On average you can expect two to six students per apartment (two students max for studios) and some apartments may have up to eight students. For shared apartments, typical student bedrooms accommodate two students; some bedrooms may accommodate three students. Housing placements are finalized later in the Spring semester and specific addresses will be provided closer to departure.

You can expect the following at your accommodations in Paris:

  • Beds
  • Bedding, bed linens
  • Towel
  • Tables or desks
  • In-suite bathrooms
  • Fully-equipped kitchen (may be communal) or kitchenette (pots, pans, dishes, silverware, cups and glasses)
  • Wi-Fi

Please note that there is not a meal plan at additional cost, but many students will use the kitchen and cook their own meals at home. 

We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.  Contact your program manager with any questions. 

What You'll Study: 

You'll earn a total of 6 credits on the Culture through Literature in Paris program. Everyone who participates on the program will take the same courses. The Paris through the Ages Writing (in) Paris courses are taught by Pitt Johnstown professors Barbara and David Petrosky The courses will be taught in English and will be comprised of lectures, guest speakers, city tours, cultural activities and some of Paris’ most famous museums such as Musee d’Orsay, Musee Louvre, Musee d’Art Modern. In these courses you will study:

  • Well-known French writers who influenced Paris from the 17th to the 20th century
  • Works of literature written by American writers who lived in Paris during the 1920s
  • The impact of WWI on France and its artists

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your academic advisor to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you.



Paris Through the Ages (ENGLIT0333)

The readings in this course are designed to help you become acquainted with a few world well-known French writers who were influenced by Paris and who influenced the city through the centuries, from the XVIIth century to the XXth Century. You will learn to recognize and appreciate major ideas and themes, such as the Absolutisme of Louis XIV, the Libertinage and the philosophers of the Enlightenment in the XVIIIth century, the Impressionist movement in the XIXth century, and the Surrealism movement in the XXth century.This course will also focus on Parisian history from Napoleon III to WWI, in order for the students to make connections with the other course on American expatriate writers. You will also be introduced to Parisian history and art history, as the instructor will lead you through the street of Paris.The excursions will allow you to have a better understanding of the relationship between literature and visual art, as we explore famous museums such as the Picasso Museum, the Musée d’Orsay, or the Museum of Modern Art.Students will also analyze the importance of fashion and clothes in these different writings.The writing in this course is designated to help you articulate your growing knowledge and understanding of the texts, but also argue persuasively in support of your interpretations.

Writing in Paris (ENGLIT0318)

This course will focus on the American writers who lived in Paris during the 1920’s. The readings in this course are designed to help the students become acquainted with a few great American writers who were influenced by Paris and its intellectuals. Europe is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI. Therefore, after studying the impact on WWI on France and its artists, we will read and compare essays, letters, and novels written by some of the most famous writers of the Lost Generation. We will also study the writings of other intellectuals who lived in the City of Lights at the same time, such as Sylvia Beach and Janet Flanner. Students will be graded on their ability to discuss the assignments. They will have two exams and a also final project due at the end of the program.

The University of Pittsburgh partners with CEA Study Abroad on this program. Since 1997, CEA has been providing high-quality international academic programs and services. The CEA Paris Center, where your classes will take place at, is located in the heart of the Marais District. The CEA Paris team is available throughout your program to assist and support you 24/7 with any urgent situations.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Lauren Perri

Hi! I'm Lauren, Program Manager for Arts & Sciences students. As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Marburg, Germany. Since then, my career in international education has taken me to many locations around the world. Particularly, I have an affinity for Florence, Italy. There is nothing quite like the challenge of navigating a new city, country, and culture! Let's chat about global experiences.

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  • Schedule an appointment with me using my personal link.
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Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Barbara Petrosky

Dr. Barbara Petrosky is Associate Professor of French at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  She teaches all levels of French courses, as well as Elementary and Intermediate Spanish courses. Dr. Petrosky was born in Paris. She studied French literature at the University of Paris X-Nanterre where she earned a Masters in French Literature. She earned a Masters in French Literature from the University of Massachusetts in 1999. In 2006, she completed a Ph.D. at the University of Florida. Dr. Petrosky specializes in nineteenth century French studies, especially the relationships between art and literature. Dr. Barbara Petrosky's courses include all levels of French and elementary Spanish courses, Business French, Introduction to Translation, and Nineteenth Century French Literature.


Dr. David Petrosky

Dr. David Petrosky is a French instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He lived in France for five years. He earned a BA in French and Education from the University of Connecticut, a Licence de Lettres Modernes from the Universite de Paris X, a Masters in French from the University of Massachusetts, and he holds a PhD in medieval and Renaissance literature from the University of Florida.  Dr. David Petrosky's courses include Elementary and Intermediate French and Literature in Translation.


Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Fee $5,799.00 $5,999.00
Study Abroad Fee $300.00 $300.00
Total Billed by Pitt $6,099.00 $6,299.00

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~$1,300
Meals and Personal Expenses $1,000 - $1,200

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.


What's Included: 

As a part of your Paris program fee, the following are included in the program:

  • Tuition for six credits
  • on-site orientation, including a boat tour and group welcome meal
  • Shared accommodations while abroad
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off (during designated times)
  • Transportation pass for first week of program
  • Day trip to Versailles
  • CEA Cultural Activities such as classical concert and/or street art tour
  • Class related activities in Paris
    • Notre-Dame and the crypt
    • Musee d'Orsay
    • Opera Garnier
    • Opera Bastille
    • Musee d'art Moderne
    • Centre Pompidou
  • International travel health insurance
When You'll Go: 

This program runs from early May to early June. 

What Else You Need to Know: 
  • Due to the nature of the program, the schedule is subject to change. There may be instances where a guest speaker or visit needs to be rescheduled. We ask for your patience and understanding in advance.
  • Remember that this is an academic program and that you should expect to invest the same amount of time and effort on your courses abroad as you would on a course at Pitt.