The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley surrounds the Loire River in central France. It is noted for its agriculture, historic towns and architecture. Numerous orchards, vineyards and growing fields thrive in the riverside soil, lending the Valley its name of the ‘Garden of France’.

In 2000, the Loire Valley was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its towns, cities and its castles (châteaux) such as Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur and Tours attest to the sophistication of Renaissance culture in France.

Come and explore the rich cultural heritage of the Loire and its surrounds!

Download the information on this page

Map of the Loire Valley
Map of the Loire Valley

Course Introduction

Regions of the Loire

This intensive three week study abroad subject will be taught in Touraine, in the heart of the Loire Valley. It will focus on the Renaissance, one of the most creative times in French history - albeit one of the most turbulent.

Through a series of lectures, seminars and detailed site visits, we will explore French Renaissance language, culture, society, politics and the arts, including some striking examples of architecture, with a visit to the famed sixteenth-century Chateaux de la Loire.

This course will use an interdisciplinary approach, and students will be involved in a range of activities with native speakers.


  • Exploring a historically important region of France with ongoing relevance to the modern world
  • Participating in exciting, varied daily activities and excursions
  • Consolidating French skills in an immersive setting by communicating with locals and fellow students
  • Gaining critical-thinking abilities through the study of historical texts, architecture and art in their native context
  • Discovering how Renaissance culture and politics shaped contemporary ways of thinking

Course overview

  • Three week study tour to France in June-July 2018
  • Destinations: Touraine and Paris
  • Maximum 30 students
  • Two staff members from The University of Melbourne
  • 20 seminars/lectures and site visits conducted in French
  • Lectures, seminars and site visits: Weeks 1 to 3
  • Hurdle requirement: 75% of seminars/lectures and site visits
  • Contact hours: 72 hours
  • Total time commitment: 170 hours
  • Assessment: tasks due during and after the intensive

Key dates (tentative schedule)

Date Theme / Location
25 June Departure
26 June Arrival in Tours
28 June Fontevraud and Chinon
29 June Prieuré de Saint Cosme
30 June - 1 July Week end (free)
2 July Chambord and Blois
5 July Chenonceau
7 - 8 July Week end (free)
9 July Musée de Cluny and Louvre
10 July Saint-Malo
11 July Mont Saint-Michel
13 July Departure

Learning activities

Activities and subject information will be viewable on the LMS.

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Cultural activities
  • Visits to historic sites including castles, abbeys and museums
  • Engaging with locals
  • Readings accessed through an iBook subject reader

Activities and site visits will be complemented by in-depth LMS content including videos, articles, vocabulary builders, background information and other resources.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students are expected to have:

  • Built a rounded picture of Renaissance France and Europe
  • Consolidated language and communication skills in real-life situations
  • Developed an understanding of a past social and cultural context whose influence is still evident today
  • Established literary, historical, philosophical, linguistic and cultural connections between the Renaissance Age and Contemporary Society
  • Critically evaluated our own culture from a historical viewpoint
  • Proficiently employed learning and research technologies in French and English


  • A limited number of students (maximum 30) will be selected for this intensive
  • Students are required to have passed French 4 or equivalent
  • Applicants must not have previously taken this intensive
  • The application process and other details are available from the subject co-ordinator
  • Itinerary and travel arrangements will be available from the School of Languages and Linguistics
  • The subject dates and HECS/course fee census date for this subject change each year. Check your enrolment record for the correct census date for this subject

Costs and inclusions based on 2017

The total cost per student is approximately $3,000. This takes into account an expected total of approximately 30 students and is subject to change.


  • Accommodation
  • Most meals
  • Coach/shuttle transport
  • Daily excursions and activities


  • Flights
  • Spending money
  • Travel insurance


Les Tanneurs
Image credit: Crous Orléans-Tours

We will stay at Les Tanneurs, a residential university college in Tours. This central location places us in the heart of a historic town and within easy reach of surrounding destinations.

Each student will enjoy a single room complete with private bathroom and fridge.

For further information please see the Crous Orleans-Tours website.


Applicants are shortlisted according to their linguistic proficiency, academic performance in previous French subjects and their justification of how ‘In the Heart of the Loire Valley’ will benefit their interests and future scholastic or occupational goals. Please note that only a limited number of students can be accepted.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview in late November-early December.

More information

Subject coordinator

Professor Véronique Duché

Phone: +61 3 9035 3516

Handbook entry

In the Heart of the Loire Valley (FREN20020)
In the Heart of the Loire Valley (FREN30018)

Introduction to the Loire Valley

Loire Valley | Official website for tourism in France