Erasmus in Paris: Guide for students
If you will do your Erasmus exchange in Paris next year, find out everything you need to know before arriving in the French capital. In this guide, we give you all the information you need to make your experience as an Erasmus student unforgettable.
Students accommodation in Paris
One of the first tasks you will have to do is find accommodation. In this section, we explain the main accommodation options and the best areas to live in Paris.
Erasmus flat or residence?
This is one of the biggest dilemmas of every student. However, this decision will depend on your preferences, so we recommend that you investigate and value both options. If you don't know which option to choose, you can read here about the pros and cons of each option.
The cheapest option of all is usually public residence. Maybe you have heard about CROUS, the public organisation that manages public university residences in France. Since it is the cheapest accommodation option, as you can imagine, the offer is very limited, so if you want to apply to one of their residences, we recommend that you do it as soon as possible.
On the other hand, in Paris there are also some private residences. Although they often have some extra services, they are more expensive options than public residences or shared flats.
Best areas to live in Paris
First of all, you have to know that Paris is divided into different districts or arrondissement. There are 20 arrondissement in Paris, arranged in a spiral. The I arrondissement is the most central district in all of Paris, making it one of the most expensive areas in the entire city.
Obviously, everyone would like to live in the centre of Paris, but you have to be realistic. If your budget is somewhat tight, we recommend that you avoid these areas. Instead, districts like Nanterre (where the University of Nanterre is located), Saint-Denis (where the University of Paris VIII is located) or Créteil (where the Paris-Est Créteil University is located) can be a good option to live. They are cheaper and, considering that Paris has more than 10 metro lines, you will be able to move easily throughout the city.
Gastronomy in Paris
Gastronomy cannot be missing from our guide for students in Paris. The so-called "city of light" enjoys a well-deserved fame for its gastronomy. For example, some of the typical dishes that we recommend you try are:
- Ratatouille. It can be used both as a garnish and as a first course, and it is a stew or mixture of vegetables cut into pieces, fried in olive oil and flavoured with herbs such as rosemary, oregano or bay leaf.
- Brioche. It is a sweet made from eggs, yeast, milk, butter and sugar.
- French cheese. France is one of the leading cheese-producing countries in the world. More than 400 varieties are produced in the country.
- Quiche Lorraine. It is a salty cake made from eggs and cream, although it also has other ingredients such as meat and cheese.
- Escargots (snails). They usually season with garlic, parsley and butter. Then it goes through the oven to melt the butter.
- Vichyssoise. This puree is made with leek, potato, onion, cream and milk.
Soupe à l'oignon (onion soup). It consists of a fried onion soup with butter and oil to which is also added one of the star products in France, Gruyère cheese.
These are just some of the typical dishes that you can try during your Erasmus in Paris.
Leisure and party in Paris
Partying is one of the most important parts of the Erasmus experience, and if you're a party lover, you won't be disappointed in Paris. The city offers a vibrant nightlife scene with countless options to choose from, even during weekdays!
Some of the most popular nightclubs in Paris are
- Le Duplex. Located near the Arc de Triomphe, it is the Erasmus nightclub par excellence. It has several rooms and parties are organised practically every week for Erasmus students.
- The Pachamama. This nightclub is located in the Latin Quarter.
- Cafe Oz. Although during the day you can go for a coffee or a beer, at night it works as a nightclub.
Cost of living in Paris
As for the cost of living, Paris is not exactly a cheap city. However, you can always look for and benefit from the discounts available to students.
Accommodation will be one of the biggest costs during Erasmus. Although the cost of this depends on many factors, a room in Paris can be around € 600-800 per month.
The cost of transportation in Paris is similar to that of other European capitals, the annual transport pass (known as the Imagine R card) is €350 and is aimed at students under 26 years of age. With the Imagine R card you can travel unlimitedly on all types of transport within the Île-de-France region. For people over 26 there is another annual subscription (Navigo card), whose price is approximately 825 euros.
Places you can't miss
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. This cosmopolitan city is known for its famous monuments and its wide variety of museums and galleries, so we could dedicate a single post talking about the places you should visit during your Erasmus in Paris.
Many points in the city are mandatory stops. Some of them are:
- Eiffel Tower. It is the most representative icon of the entire country and one of the most visited monuments in the world.
- Louvre Museum. It is one of the most important places in Paris. This museum houses some of the most important paintings and sculptures in the world, such as The Mona Lisa.
- Arch of Triumph. It was built between 1806 and 1836 by Napoleon and, in addition to being a symbol of Paris and all of France, this monument is one of the best viewpoints in Paris with excellent views of the great Champs-Elysées avenue.
- Luxembourg Gardens. One of the most beautiful green spaces in Paris where you can disconnect from the bustle of the city or have a picnic, especially when the weather is good.
- Garnier Opera. This icon is located in the Garnier Palace, an important Baroque building inaugurated in 1875.
- Disneyland Paris. It is located to the east of the city, in Marne-la-Vallée, about 30 km from the centre of Paris. It is one of the most important tourist destinations in Europe and is very famous. The entrance price costs around €60.
Trips from Paris
If one of your goals is to take advantage of your Erasmus in Paris to travel, you won't regret it! Paris is very well-connected with the rest of the French cities, both by train, bus or plane. But it is also that Paris has good connections with other European countries and cities, so travelling is insured.
In Paris there are no more and no less than three airports. The Paris-Orly airport is the closest airport to Paris. You can get there by Orlybus (a special bus service that connects the airport with Denfert Rochereau square) or by Orlyval (a light rail line that connects Orly airport with Anthony train station, where you can take the commuter line B). The Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport is one of the largest in Europe, so from there you can travel to many destinations. Finally, there is the Beauvais Tille airport, located 80 km from Paris and where the main low-cost airlines operate.
Here are some trips that we recommend you do from Paris:
- Versailles Palace. This palace is part of the history of France, since the most important kings of France resided there. Versailles is located about an hour by train from Paris.
- Lille. This French city is located in the north of France and is approximately an hour by train from Paris. Lille has many students. In addition, this city is characterised by its 17th century brick houses, cobblestone streets and the large main square, the Grand Place.
- Strasbourg. About two hours away by train is Strasbourg, a city that mixes German and French architecture. We recommend that you visit Strasbourg during Christmas, as it is considered one of the most beautiful cities to visit during this period.
- Lyon. This is the second-largest city in France, and has numerous monuments, theatres and churches of great antiquity, such as the amphitheatre or the hill of Croix-Rousse.
- Monte Saint-Michel. Located in Normandy, it is a town built on a small rocky island.
- Brussels. The Belgian capital is only 1 hour and a half from Paris. Near Brussels you can also visit other Belgian cities such as Bruges or Ghent.
- Amsterdam. About three hours from Paris is Amsterdam, known as “the Venice of the North”. It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, so it will be one of the obligatory stops during your Erasmus in Paris.
Tios for students in Paris
Finally, some of the advice we give you for your Erasmus in Paris are:
- Don't forget to apply for the CAF scholarship, since all residents in France (and, therefore, Erasmus students in France) have the right to apply for this scholarship.
- Remember to ask for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) well in advance.
- Become a member of the student associations of Paris. Student associations organise events, parties and trips with international students. In addition to being an incredible opportunity to meet other international students, you can also take advantage of discounts and offers in a lot of places. The main student associations in Paris are Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and Erasmus Place.
So far our guide for Erasmus students in Paris. We hope that this series of tips will help you to enjoy the Erasmus experience to the fullest.