Study abroad programs in Paris provide students with an amazing opportunity to earn academic credit in a city cherished by people throughout the world. Paris, a city with a global reputation for power, presence, and beauty, is at once classy, stylish, whimsical, and charming. It is also a culturally, politically, and economically dynamic city with options for studying and exploring to please most anyone. When you study abroad in Paris, you walk away with a wonderful, profound, and well-respected experience.

Why Study Abroad in Paris

In Paris, the air is thick with possibility. Students who live and study in Paris take advantage of its possibilities through study at quality educational institutions and living life in any of Paris’ cool and trendy neighborhoods. Students that study abroad in Paris also take advantage of Paris’ abundance of cultural hotspots, icons, and happenings. Many students even commit to advanced language programs and quality internships in some of Paris’ many powerful industries. Ultimately, Paris study abroad programs provide students an expansively wonderful opportunity academically, personally, and professionally.

Geography of Paris

Paris is the capital city of France and located in the northern-central part of the country in the heart of the Île-de-France region. It is situated along the river Seine and has two inhabited islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the Île de la Cité. France is the most populous city in the country and is surrounded by smaller cities, quaint villages, and lovely countryside.

Study abroad in Paris and you'll find it has an urban personality balanced with the ambiance of a quaint and well-loved neighborhood. Students that study abroad in Paris can easily navigate and quickly become familiar with the many parts of the great city. Ultimately, Paris boasts the vibrancy, diversity, and dynamics of a large city but has somehow managed to feel like a cozy smaller one.

The climate in Paris is oceanic allowing for a mild and wet climate. Summers are warm with some hot days, and winters are cold with some days below freezing. Springs and falls are temperate with a medley of warm and cool days.

Language in Paris

The official language of France is French, which is also the most commonly spoken language throughout the city of Paris. Along with French, Paris officially recognizes numerous dialects of the language such as Alsatian, Catalan, Corsican, Breton, Gallo, and others. These dialects and some other languages are spoken throughout the city, but you will most commonly encounter people who speak French. Also, although there is a large tourist and expat population in France, the majority of interactions on the streets and in stores, restaurants, and throughout the city, will occur in French. However, some more touristy areas have businesses (especially restaurants) that cater to tourists and therefore translate many of their menu items and services into English.

Paris study abroad programs most commonly offer curricula in French or English depending on students’ needs. Many programs offer French-language instruction and immersion as options, and students can certainly study and practice the language as part of their programs or by living in the country and interacting with Francophone people.

Cost of Living in Paris Study Abroad

France is a part of the European Union and embraces the Euro as its official currency. In early 2014, one euro was equivalent to approximately $1.40.

Rent in Paris varies depending on where one wants to live. According to Numbeo, rent in the city center is approximately $1,200 to $2,500 per month for one to three-bedroom apartments. Outside of the city center, rent is approximately $850 to $1,800 for one to three-bedroom apartments. Basic utilities (electricity, heat, water, and garbage) cost approximately $175 per month.

The cost of food, of course, depends on one’s needs and preferences. Again according to Numbeo, eating out can cost anywhere from $8(for fast food) to $75 (at more expensive restaurants). Food from the grocery store is relatively similar to the costs of foods in more expensive cities in the U.S. However, the costs of groceries also depend on one’s specific needs and preferences.

Public transportation is available in Paris and is commonly used throughout the city. According to Numbeo, a monthly bus pass costs approximately $65 and taxis typically charge start fees, a fixed price per kilometer, and waiting fees. One liter of gasoline (there are almost 4 liters in one gallon) costs close to $2. The prices of other goods, such as clothing and entertainment, depend upon consumers’ preferences.

Culture in Paris Study Abroad

Paris’ economic, political, and cultural prominence, breadth, and influence make Paris a significant player in global affairs and a beloved city to people worldwide. When you study abroad in Paris, you can enjoy its lovely culture and discover for yourself why the city is such a big deal. To get you started, here is a short list of some of the many things you must do to experience Parisian culture:

  • Make like a tourist and hit all the hotspots. Let’s face it: they’re hot for a reason! Pull out your map and comfortable (but stylish) shoes and visit (at minimum): The Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée  Rodin, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Invite along some friends, pull out your camera, and pose with some of Paris’ most iconic landmarks with pride.
  • Escape from the effects of the city by taking a deep breath in any of Paris’ treasured gardens and promenades. The Palais-Royal Garden sits behind the walls of a 17th-century palace and provides a luxurious green oasis; the Promenade Plantée and the Promenade Berges invite you for a 3-mile stroll alongside beautiful gardens, fountains, sculptures, and vistas; the Luxembourg Gardens provide ample space for a picnic, gathering with friends, or an afternoon nap; and the Notre-Dame Gardens give you a place to rest after exploring the infamous Notre Dame. These and other gardens and promenades throughout the city are sights you must behold.
  • Float along the water of the River Seine on a tour of Paris. Boats are lined up along the river’s shore, waiting to take you on an adventure. Sit back, relax, and take in some of Paris’ most beautiful views and scenery.
  • Eat and shop! There is delicious food in Paris just waiting to supplement your long day of shopping. Try regional specialties such as Pan au Chocolat, Croque Monsieur, crepes, escargot, Brandade de Morue, and Clafouti aux Cerises as you spend a little dough (or just browse) for haute couture and more in the famous Marais neighborhood, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen market, the rue Saint-Honoré, and other fine establishments.
  • Sit and visit with some of Paris’ most beautiful and peaceful churches and cathedrals. The Notre Dame Cathedral, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Sacre Coeur Basilica, the Eglise de la Madeleine, and numerous other churches and cathedrals throughout the city provide visitors with a taste of Paris’ religious reverence and celebration. Whether you’re religious or not, Catholic or not, you can enjoy the buildings’ architecture, design, and obvious beauty from outside or within and perhaps even enjoy the blissful sounds of church bells, harp-playing, and other lovely accoutrements. In Paris, sacred sights and ceremonies are certainly worthy to behold.