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January Term: UVA in Paris: Victor Hugo's Paris
Paris, France (Education Abroad Programs Program)
Program Terms: January
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Budget Sheets January
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
January 2019 01-OCT-2018
10-OCT-2018 28-DEC-2018 11-JAN-2019
NOTE: Depart from the U.S. on Dec. 27 to arrive in Paris on Dec. 28. If accepted to this program, you must commit to or decline participation by October 15.

Indicates that deadline has passed
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year, Community student Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Enrollment Restricted to: Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, Curry School of Education, McIntire School of Commerce, School of Architecture, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Engineering and Applied Science Housing: Hotel
Language of Instruction: English
Credit Type:
Direct Credit
Program Type:
Faculty directed, Faculty led
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Martha Sadler
Application Fee:
Study Abroad Administrative Fee:
Subject Area:
Program Description:
Notre Dame

UVA in Paris: Victor Hugo's Paris


One might argue, as has, that Victor Hugo is Paris. A great Romantic poet and world-renowned novelist and fighter for social-justice, Victor Hugo dominated nineteenth-century Paris. Students taking this BIS-affiliated J-Term course, “Victor Hugo’s Paris” will explore the City of Lights from literary, historical, artistic, biographical and cultural perspectives. Even as you consider the impact Hugo and Paris had on each other, you will analyze how both Paris and Hugo’s ideas are affecting you.

Hugo’s imprint is all over Paris. With Notre-Dame de Paris, for example, he saved the cathedral when his story’s popularity galvanized a crusade to restore it. The street he lived on was renamed “Avenue Victor Hugo” to celebrate his 79th birthday. Les Misérables is a tribute to Paris. Hugo was a senator and member of the French Academy. An estimated two million people attended his funeral four years later, and the Pantheon was deconsecrated so that he could be entombed there. Readings will connect Hugo’s ideas to the famous and not-so-famous sites we will visit.

More than a half-dozen renowned French Hugo scholars will share their expertise and discuss ideas with you, including the Victor Hugo Museum Director, Gérard Audinet; Hugo biographer and CNRS faculty member Jean-Marc Hovasse; Sorbonne professor Florence Naugrette; University of Rouen researcher Gérard Pouchain; Victor Hugo Museum letters and manuscript specialist Michèle Bertaux; French National Library manuscript and artwork curator Thomas Cazentre; and president of the Society of the Friends of Victor Hugo Arnaud Laster. Students will also meet Marie-Jean Mazurier, director of the Musée Victor Hugo - Maison Vacquerie in Villequier, in Normandy

Location IconLocation

“To stray is human; to saunter is Parisian.” (“Errer est humain, flâner est parisien.”)*
- Victor Hugo, Les Misérables III, 4, i

This course will offer extensive opportunity to explore Paris and its many sites, within the context of the life and death of Victor Hugo’s life and death and his writings and artwork. Readings and site visits have been carefully selected and paired so that students will be well prepared to appreciate why each location is significant not only historically, but also as specific touch point in Hugo's life. You will visit Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Jardin du Luxembourg, Hugo’s home in the Place des Vosges, the Conciergerie (a Gothic palace turned prison), the Gallo-Roman amphitheater Arènes de Lutèce, the enchanting Père-Lachaise cemetery, the Arc de Triomphe and the Panthéon, as well as several other important sites. Additionally, this program includes a day trip into Normandy to visit the medieval ruins of the Jumièges Abbey and the Musée Victor Hugo - Maison Vacquerie in Villequier, beside the Seine River. Students will also get a list of suggested locations to visit, and will be expected to set out on their own to explore and report back to the group on their experiences. 

*Note:  To get Hugo’s joke, you need to understand the French pun.  “Errer” means both “to err” and “to stray, or get lost,” and “errer est humain” is as familiar as our “to err is human.”

Jardin du Luxembourg Medicis Pantheon

Courses IconCourses

Victor Hugo's Paris
(ISHU 3720 ; "BIS in Paris"; 3 credits)

Course and Credit Information
In this course focused on discussion (with occasional informational lecturing), evaluation of your accomplishments will depend on the following work, which is designed to help you accomplish the course goals and recognize your progress:

  • preparing required reading (on average, 25-40 pages/class) and occasional viewing
  • contributing to discussions during both our daily “classroom” meetings and site visits
  • introducing colleagues to ONE of the course readings or an optional site you have visited by giving a 5-minute introduction and critical appreciation and leading a brief discussion during class
  • writing regular online blog posts (in the Collab Forum) and responding to others’ posts (a total of 6 blog posts at 1-1.5 pages each) to develop and demonstrate your critical-thinking skills
  • analyzing in a final portfolio what you learned about Victor Hugo and yourself. With this overarching, final course assignment, you have the opportunity to analyze and present your evolving thinking about what you learned about Victor Hugo, Paris and yourself, including Hugo’s contributions to French/world literature and Paris, Hugo’s relevance in the world today, and connections between your and his ideas and thoughts about Paris. To do so, you will collect the writing, artwork and ideas from the course that have meant the most to you and write a reflective essay (5-6 pages long) about your collection.

Syllabus: To be released

Important note for CLAS students: CLAS students may not enroll in courses offered through the BIS program for credit towards their degree. However students in any other college at UVA may do so.

Additional Information for Non-UVA students:
Non-UVA students may apply to be admitted to “Victor Hugo’s Paris,” whether you are a full-time student at another university/college—or someone not currently a student who holds a BA/BS or advanced degree.  In either case, if you decide that you would like to apply to take the course, complete the on-line program application. 
If you are a full-time student at another university/college, you will find eligibility and requirements at
If you are not currently a student and hold a BA/BS or advanced degree, you would submit as part of the application process the data necessary in order to be admitted as a visiting, non-degree graduate student (if you are admitted to the course and if you accept that offer) which will include submitting a transcript and a letter of recommendation. 
Individuals admitted as visiting, non-degree students committed to the course will be subject to all UVA academic and non-academic policies and procedures. These include the Standards of Conduct, Honor, and financial rules. These students will also enjoy and carry all the associated rights, privileges, and responsibilities.

Faculty IconFaculty

Marva Barnett | |

University of Virginia Professor Emerita and internationally-recognized Victor Hugo expert Marva Barnett has designed this course to give participants special insights into Paris through the eyes and experiences of the nineteenth-century poet, novelist, playwright, artist, social commentator and legislator who was Victor Hugo.  She brings numerous experiences to the course:

  • insights from her year as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in a Paris suburb as well as her many recent stays in Paris
  • the knowledge of Hugo’s life and ideas she gained through writing Victor Hugo on Things That Matter and her current book project about what Hugo tells us in his epic Les Misérables about living lives of love and conscience
  • understanding of teaching and learning from her decades of teaching UVA courses about Hugo’s work and life and from her quarter century as founding director of UVA’s Center for Teaching Excellence

Accommodation and MealsAccommodation and Meals

Students will be housed in apartments in a modern hotel in the 11th arrondissement, near Place de la Bastille, with continental breakfast included. Single and double rooms are equipped with kitchenettes, bath, ironing board, and an iron. Self-serve laundry is available on site for a fee. Grocery stores and markets are not far from the hotel, so students can take advantage of the kitchenettes to prepare meals. Class meetings will also take place in the hotel.

Cost and Financial Aid

The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid.

Victor Hugo ca. 1860

Accessibility IconAccessibility

The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.


Passport IconPassport and Visa

All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will NOT need a visa to participate in this program. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.


Health Info IconHealth and Safety Information

All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.

This program is currently not accepting applications.