UC Davis Summer Abroad


Status: Closed for 2017

Americans in Paris

Paris, France

Arrive Date: July 1, 2017    End Date: July 29, 2017

Program Overview

Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “[A] walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” Exploring the city that mesmerized both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who were the first Americans in Paris, we will examine why writers, from Jefferson to James Baldwin, wrote about Paris; why jazz musicians Sidney Bêchet and Cole Porter composed music in Paris; why Josephine Baker danced in Paris and became—along with Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel—a fashion icon; and why filmmakers such as Sophia Coppola and Woody Allen have featured Paris in their films. We will learn to read the city and report on its culture from the vantage point of young 21st-century Americans in Paris, and ask whether, still, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “[the] best of America drifts to Paris,” and “The American in Paris is the best American.”


Instructor:  Raquel Scherr

Taught in:  English

Max Enrollment:  28

Program Coordinator:  Jennifer Moylan


Comparative Literature (COM) 180S. Selected Topics in Comparative Literature (4 units)

Comparative Literature (COM) 198. Directed Group Study (4 units, P/NP)

Program Highlights
  • Enjoy one of the lowest-cost programs in Europe—with breakfast included!
  • Walk in the footsteps of Jefferson, Twain, Hemingway, Stein, and other Americans in Paris.
  • Sit in cafes and observe Paris and Parisians—the architecture, the fashion, the art that meets you on every corner.
  • Get to know yourself, your history, and the city of Paris
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