The Ultimate Guide to Studying Abroad in France

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College Study Abroad

Beauty. Glamour. Taste. France has it all, making it a timeless destination for the millions of visitors who travel from all around the world to explore this incredible country each year.  

Boasting the world’s largest art museum (The Louvre), 1,500+ different types of cheese, acclaimed landmarks, glittering coastlines, the snow-capped Alps, and centuries-old towns, it’s no wonder why France’s captivating history and cultural significance make it a top European country to visit. Not to mention an amazing place for international students! 

If you want to live and learn abroad in a place where you can put your French language skills to use while sampling gourmet food (France is home to 436 Michelin-star restaurants, after all), exploring enchanting countryside, and diving deep into European history, then our ultimate guide to studying abroad in France is for you. Let’s dig in! 

france ultimate country guide for studying abroad

Why Study Abroad in France 

Offering a great multicultural study experience, France is considered one of the best study abroad destinations in the world. There are tons of reasons why you should study abroad in France, but we’ll limit this list to the top five. 

Reason #1: Intimately explore some of the world’s top attractions.  

Studying abroad in France gives you the enviable opportunity to not only visit, but become familiar with, some of the world’s most recognized attractions and gain a better understanding of their cultural importance.  

Some of these attractions include: 

  • Eiffel Tower 
  • Louvre Museum 
  • Palace of Versailles 
  • Notre Dame Cathedral 

Reason #2: Enjoy France’s diverse topography.  

While the country is known for its lively urban areas and museums, France boasts some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes. From the gleaming seacoast to the colossal French Alps, the country’s varied scenery will take you on endless adventures.  

Some of the top destinations in France include:  

  • French Riviera, or the Côte d'Azur 
  • Mont Saint-Michel 
  • Loire Valley Chateaux 
  • Provence 
  • French Alps, notably Mont Blanc 
  • Brittany coast 
  • Basque coast  
Mont Saint-Michel study abroad excursion

Reason #3: Indulge in the world’s finest cuisine.  

Home to the most Michelin-rated restaurants in the world, French cuisine is globally recognized for its prestige and delicious, bold flavors.    

In fact, French cooking techniques are largely practiced around the world – you might be familiar with some of the terms; mise en place, sauté, braise, confit, and flambe, to name a few.  

Visit the many French restaurants, indulge in the delicious food, and try some authentic, traditional dishes, including:  

  • Potato dauphinoise 
  • Crepes 
  • Bouillabaisse 
  • Duck pâté 
  • Chocolate mousse 
  • Chicken confit  
  • Escargot 

Imagine, instead of your current college cuisine, you could be indulging in some of the world’s finest cuisine during a France study abroad program – c’est délicieux!  

Reason #4: Dive into a multicultural landscape.  

France has hosted more than 300,000 international students each year for the past decade, and the trend continues! Much of the country’s study abroad popularity is attributed to France’s prestigious universities, rich culture, and tradition in scientific and technological research.  

A majority of students who study abroad in France come from countries outside of Europe, including:  

Studying abroad in France is a great opportunity to meet and learn from students from all over the world who bring unique perspectives and ideas.   

Reason #5: Improve your French language skills.  

Studying abroad in France guarantees you will improve your French! Not only can you take courses in French but by immersing yourself in the culture, you’ll pick up on the language in no time - c’est la vie!  

french intensive language program

Read more: Top 4 Places to Study French Abroad

How to Study Abroad in France 

If you’re ready to explore France study abroad programs, follow these easy steps. 

Step #1: Select a timeframe.  

Begin by determining which program length makes the most sense for your personal and academic schedule. CIEE offers a range of France study abroad options, including

  • Semester-long programs – longer programs cultivated with your passions in mind. From business curriculum to culture-centered courses, you’ll have an entire semester to really dive into disciplines you enjoy. 
  • Summer programsmake the most of your summer break and choose from four-week summer sessions, six-week summer blocks, or eight-week summer internships for an unforgettable summer abroad. 
  • J-term – a three-and-a-half week session held during most university breaks that will position Paris as your classroom where you’ll embark on many field trips, group research, and exchanges with local experts. 
  • Open Campus Block program – allows you to study abroad in France for one, two, or up to three consecutive six-week blocks and is the perfect program for those who want to customize their study abroad experience

Step #2: Choose a program you love.  

In addition to different program lengths, CIEE offers an array of courses for France study abroad programs. Classes range from business disciplines to intercultural communication, as well as courses on food and nutrition, French and critical studies, and intensive French language. By selecting a program with courses you’re interested in, you’ll make the most of your France study abroad experience.  

Step #3: Confirm your eligibility.  

After choosing a program you’re passionate about, make sure to double-check its requirements. Some programs have minimum GPA you must meet, and you’ll also want to ensure that your study abroad courses will fulfill credit requirements. It’s a good idea to discuss your plans with your academic advisor during this process.  

Step #4: You’re all set to apply!  

Now that you’ve found your program, you’re all set to apply! The application process is relatively straightforward, but we’re always available, should you have any questions.  

paris study abroad student group on a rainy day

Read More: How to Apply 

How Much Does It Cost to Study Abroad in France 

The cost to study abroad in France on one of CIEE's programs ranges from $4,500 to $20,000, depending on program length, location, and course schedule. This one-time fee covers most expenses, including: 

  • Tuition 
  • Housing 
  • Pre-departure advising 
  • Orientation 
  • On-site staff and 24/7 emergency on-site support 
  • Culture and co-curricular activities 
  • Travel protection  

We believe that cost should never hold students back from studying abroad, which is why we offer millions of dollars in scholarships and grants each year. We do everything we can to make your study abroad dream a reality.  

As part of the application process, make sure to apply for our scholarships and grants, which are based on financial need, academic merit, and other factors like program type.  

Beyond these core expenses, you’ll want to create a budget and bring extra cash for other incurred costs, like additional travel, food, drink, attraction fees, and more. 

The good news is that France is a relatively affordable country to study abroad in and is comparable to continuing studies in the United States. The country’s cheap transportation options, walkability, free museums, and more, make this destination within reach for more students. 

Best Places to Study Abroad in France

Traveling anywhere in France guarantees an exciting adventure, but there are several cities that are known for their wonderful study abroad experiences. The best places to study abroad in France are Paris, Rennes, and Toulouse. Let's dive deeper into each!

Option #1: Paris 

The capital of France, Paris is an epicenter for art, fashion, and culture. This vibrant study abroad location is perfect for students looking to study the arts and humanities.  

CIEE offers a variety of tours and cultural excursions in Paris including spectacular guided visits to The Louvre, a weekend excursion to Bordeaux where you’ll have the opportunity to study the city’s complex history, a trip to the Brittany coast, and guided walks throughout the City of Lights.  

paris france downtown lock bridge

Option #2: Rennes 

A celebratory city, Rennes is known for its wonderful small-town feel, but also for its big-time cultural events and traditions.  

Choose to study in Rennes, and you’ll have the chance to really practice your French language skills and enjoy significant excursions. These include trips to the historic Normandy and D-Day beaches, Saint-Malo, tours to Mont Saint-Michele, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tours of Fougéres and Dinan, two medieval cities, excursions to Paris, and the Loire Valley. 

rennes traditional buildings

Option #3: Toulouse 

Toulouse’s charm makes this French city a popular study abroad location. CIEE’s partner schools, Toulouse Business School and Institut Catholique de Toulouse, are within walking distance of the city’s magnificent historical center, so you’ll have opportunities to explore ancient art and history. Plus, you’ll be awed by Toulouse’s picturesque architecture. 

CIEE offers several tours and cultural excursions in Toulouse, including visits to the medieval cities of Carcassonne and Albi, hikes in the Pyrenees, and attending a show at the Toulouse Capitole Theater. 

toulouse study abroad canal with houses

CIEE’s France study abroad options are virtually endless – no matter where you decide to go, you’ll be blown away by the country’s history, cuisine, art, architecture, and culture. France is a place like no other!  

What to Pack for Study Abroad in France 

Now that you’ve decided to study abroad in France (great choice!), you need to pack. Here's what you should pack for studying abroad in France.

Essential Documents 

When traveling anywhere internationally, you’ll need several essential documents.  

  • Passport 
  • Student visa 
  • A second form of valid ID 
  • Plane tickets 
  • Proof of health insurance 
  • Proof of CIEE enrollment 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Financial information  

Essential Items  

  • Comfortable walking shoes 
  • Any prescription medications 
  • Power adapters and converters 
  • Currency  
boat tour for students in paris

France is Calling 

Studying abroad in France is an opportunity like no other and we’re here to help make it a reality. Ready to take the next step? Get started today!