Join us for an adventurous journey across France and Holland, from the sky-scraping Alps to the dazzle of Paris, through the bucolic Dutch countryside to the charming canals of Amsterdam. Hike, bike, and explore the most beautiful landscapes and cities of northwestern Europe, and savor its rich heritage.
- Ride a funicular high above Alpine glaciers, then hike down through fields of wildflowers.
- Listen to Parisian jazz on the Île Saint-Louis during golden hour in the city.
- Sample local cheeses as you bike through Holland’s countryside.
- Discover van Gogh’s favorite haunts in Amsterdam, and examine his masterpieces up close.
Structured and Focused Adventure
On this wending adventure across France and Holland, discover the rich cultures and diverse landscapes that have captivated travelers for ages. Our itinerary takes us on a carefully structured journey through off-the-beaten-track towns and villages, the cosmopolitan centers of Paris and Amsterdam, and the natural wonders of the French Alps and bucolic Dutch countryside. Begin at the base of Mont Blanc, where we spend our days hiking from a cozy mountain chalet up to summertime glaciers and panoramic peaks. Continue to Paris to savor high culture and the pleasures of daily life in Europe’s most captivating city. Ride along Holland’s rural bike paths to discover villages, coastal swimming coves, and cheese farms, then relax in Amsterdam’s cozy neighborhoods.
Each day is full of fun activities that introduce you to the local culture and landscape. In both rural and urban settings, immerse yourself in local communities and explore the outdoors. Stay in residences that have been welcoming Putney students for years, and get to know the heritage of each place through interaction with local people.
The French Alps & Paris
Begin in the French Alps, where we stay in a mountain chalet perched above Chamonix at the foot of Europe’s tallest peak, Mont Blanc. Ascend steep Alpine slopes by téléferique to hike far above the tree line, past grazing cows, to fields of summer snow. Then board a train to Paris, where we take four days to explore the city’s historic neighborhoods, world-class museums, evening music and theatre performances, and sumptuous culinary scene. Discover your favorite boulangerie, visit the world’s most renowned art collections in the Louvre or the Musée D’Orsay, taste escargots at grand Art Deco brasseries once frequented by Picasso and Sartre, and cruise down the Seine River to see the city illuminated at night.
Biking in the Dutch Countryside & Amsterdam
Next, board a train to Amsterdam, and set off on a six-day biking adventure through the Holland’s gorgeous countryside. Cruise along rural bike paths past sand dunes, windmills, and Dutch farms, pair up and take turns navigating for the day, and stop to explore small villages and taste local specialties along the way. Head to the coast, and spend an afternoon swimming in the North Sea or sailing and windsurfing on inland lakes. Then return to Amsterdam for the final three days of the program to explore picturesque neighborhoods by canal boat and on foot. Sample delicacies from the city’s bustling outdoor markets, visit Anne Frank’s house, and view the world’s greatest collections of works by Rembrandt and van Gogh.
Group accommodations are carefully selected by Putney Student Travel to emphasize convenience, a positive group environment, and wholesome interaction with local people and fellow travelers. Our residences in France and Holland are varied, ranging from comfortable old world-style hotels to a simple, dormitory-style mountain chalet. Residences are often run by wonderful families or individuals who help set the tone for our experience and introduce us to local people. Rooms are a mix of doubles and triples with ensuite bathrooms. Leaders reside in the same accommodations as students throughout the program.
A Typical Day
Daily activities vary significantly by location, but we generally divide our time as follows: We eat breakfast together in our residence, and discuss the plan for the day. In the mornings we take time for cultural activities and make visits to important sites, which get you exploring local history, art, cuisine, sport, and dance. At lunchtime we often buy ingredients from local markets and make picnics from regional specialties. In the afternoons we head outdoors — we may rent bikes, set off on a scavenger hunt in an old town center, or take a group hike to explore our surroundings. In late afternoons we set aside time to relax, sit in a café and write in your journal, or go for a jog with friends. In the evenings, we typically eat dinner together in restaurants, and take in cultural events such as local music, theatre, and night markets.