This year, the city topped the QS ranking of the best student cities in the world. Paris, which boasts 18 universities that can compete on a world stage (and often find themselves at thetop end of league tables), is an especially great place for students.
What students say: “I recently moved here to study French language and culture at the Sorbonne, and though I am only two months in, I have not been disappointed.”
Anna Greenburgh, an Oxford University graduate who is studying for a master’s degree in economics and psychology at the Sorbonne, says studying in Paris was “a dream opportunity”. The chance to improve her French and the Sorbonne’s reputable Programs was a perfect fit. Because of its world-class institutions, Paris attracts an international audience. In my class, there are students from America, China and Brazil. This means French is our common language, and I can’t fall back on English.
But as Paris is smaller than London, it is much easier to live centrally and my friends save money through flat shares. The internet is a student’s best friend; Appartager and La Carte des Colocs provide hundreds of student accommodation listings.
Excluding accommodation, student life in Paris comes chic and cheap. Even French haute cuisine is tailored to low student prices. Crous Paris, an organisation that aims to improve the living conditions of students in Paris, has 15 restaurants and 30 university cafeterias across the city. I regularly eat a remarkably good two-Programs meal for just over three euros.
For most students, Paris’s main draw is its cultural cache. “You can see world famous bands for 10 euros,” says Slade-Caffarel. The theatre is also good value for young people and the quality is world class.
Any day after class, I can walk in Hemingway’s footsteps through the Jardin du Luxembourg, drink coffee at the same cafés as Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre, and venture to Shakespeare and Company, the legendary bookshop established by Sylvia Beach. That unconquerable way of living makes up Paris’s charm – something that cannot be calculated into a ranking.