/ Alumni and Family Engagement


From March 14–22, 2025, immerse yourself in the City of Lights with Dr. Heidi Kraus (art history) and Dr. Lauren Janes (history).

Highlights include in-depth guided tours of Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay with Dr. Kraus, a cruise of the Seine River, mass in a traditional cathedral, wine class, historical walking tours of various neighborhoods, a day trip to Chateau de Versailles and visits to Luxembourg Gardens, the Eiffel Tower and more.

You will also be treated to several opportunities to experience French cuisine in unique restaurants, creperies and cafés. This tour is designed to give travelers the opportunity to live like a Parisian, experiencing first-hand the culture, cuisine and ambiance of this incredible city.

Exterior photo of the Louvre Museum in Paris

Tour Highlights

Once we land in Paris after an overnight flight from the United States, our time in Paris will begin with a welcome lunch and relaxing cruise of the Seine River. We’ll spend some time getting to know our new neighborhood on the Left Bank. This area has a classic old-school Parisian charm, loaded with history and a uniquely bohemian ambiance.

The Hall of Mirrors in VersaillesAfter a relaxing morning and breakfast in the hotel (provided daily), we’ll experience an open-air market — just like the locals do — where we’ll learn about French cuisine and agriculture while procuring the elements of the lunch we will create and enjoy together. We’ll attend mass at Notre Dame or St-Germain-l'Auxerrois and learn about the architecture and cultural and historical significance of these cathedrals. A dinner together at one of Dr. Janes’ favorite eateries will cap off the night.

Our next several days will consist of deep dives into the neighborhoods of Paris. Dr. Janes will lead us on historical walking tours of the Marais, St. Germain and Montmartre neighborhoods, with lovely little surprises (and some free time to explore) along the way. Dr. Kraus has received “rights to speak” at Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, which will ensure an in-depth and exclusive experience in each location. For all of these activities, our group will be split in half, allowing them to be more personalized than the typical tour. During these days, we’ll also enjoy a wine class, macaron “crawl” and a cultural performance.

We’ll take a break from the neighborhoods and museums of Paris to travel the nine miles by private coach to the home of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette — Château de Versailles. We’ll spend the day exploring the grounds and soaking up the rich history of the French monarchy and its volatile revolution. 

ParisAmid all these activities, we’ll have plenty of time for a group trip to the Eiffel tower, exploration of the Odeon, St. Sulpice, Luxembourg Gardens and some free time for personal exploration (our lounging at centuries-old cafés). We’ll dine together for some meals, giving travelers freedom to choose some of their own dining locations (with suggestions provided). 

After spending a week becoming acquainted with the city, our last full day will be free from any group commitments. You will be able to use your gained knowledge of the geography, public transit and culture of the area to revisit favorite spots or scout out new experiences we missed. You’ll be welcome to join together in small groups or simply venture off on your own. 

Macrons for sale in Paris

Tour Leaders

Lauren Hinkle '04 Janes, Ph.D.

Lauren JanesDr. Lauren Janes is an associate professor of history at Hope College, a Towsley Research Scholar, and a recipient of the Janet L. Anderson Excellence in Teaching Award. Her primary research interests are at the
intersections of twentieth-century French imperialism, global food history and world history pedagogy. Her book, Colonial Food in Interwar Paris: The Taste of Empire, examines French attitudes to empire by studying the promotion and consumption of colonial foods during and after WWI. Her current book project, Nourishing the World: A Global History in Four Foods, is contracted with Hackett Publishing. Lauren fell in love with Paris while living there for a year during graduate school, and she has been leading students, family and friends through Paris ever since.

Heidi Kraus, Ph.D.

Heidi KrausDr. Heidi Kraus collaborates with Hope College deans and faculty to identify opportunities to support faculty in teaching and scholarship and enhance Hope’s academic program. She is also an associate professor of art history specializing in European art from the early modern through contemporary periods. Heidi has served as chair of the Department of Art and Art History and as the director of Hope’s De Pree Gallery. In 2017, University of Toronto Press published her book with Nicholas K. Rauh, A Short History of the Ancient World. A scholar of the French Neoclassical artist Jacques-Louis David, Heidi’s current research focuses on 18th- and 19th-century iconography in contemporary French visual culture. In 2019, she published Looking to the Past: Street Art, Public Spaces and Contemporary French Identity in the edited compendium The Revolution Will Be Live! Social Practice Art in Turbulent Times. Her current research project, Lessons to My Students: On Art History and Why it Matters, is contracted with The University of Toronto Press.

Kate bultema '09 ralston

Kate RalstonKate Ralston is co-leading this trip as a representative from the Alumni and Family Engagement Team. She is a 2009 graduate of Hope College with a degree in history education, which she explicitly used as a secondary history teacher for the years immediately following her graduation. She now uses her degree more implicitly in her current role, helping to create events, programming and communication that reflect the unique interests and memories of 37,000+ alumni of different backgrounds, generations and life stages. Kate is the advisor for the Alethean sorority and has served as a FYS instructor and academic advisor.

Tour Fee

The program fee is $4,995 per person. Based on double occupancy, it includes:

  • Flights roundtrip from Grand Rapids to Paris
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers and an excursion to Versailles by private motorcoach
  • Metro pass for the week
  • Accommodations for seven nights at a first-class, centrally located Paris hotel
  • Breakfast daily, three lunches, one wine tasting and two dinners
  • Expert guidance throughout by Lauren, Heidi and Kate
  • Most sightseeing and admission fees
  • Tipping and taxes for all included services
  • Use of whisper guides (personal headsets) for the week

For single occupancy, add $925.