Fundamental tips for students moving to Paris

  • 8 septembre 2019
  • Paris sous tous les angles
  • Jocelyn Wensjoe

From personal experience, we can tell you that figuring out what to do and where to go as a future student studying in France can be semi-complicated unless you do your research. That’s where we come in, Theatre in Paris’ staff will be providing you with vital information on what you will need before and after having settled down in Paris, so pay very close attention because this is going to be a lot to process.

french currency

What to know before coming to Paris

It’s all about the money honey, get yours back with CAF

One very important website you need to set-up an account for is CAF (Caisse des Allocations Familiales) in other words it’s a government establishment that helps families, STUDENTS, and the unemployed obtain a partial money return from paying their rent. The amount of money the government will return depends on how much you are paying for rent, and it will let you know if you are eligible or not to receive money once you complete your online application. The downside about applying online is the fact that the website is only in French, but you could make an appointment in a CAF office near you once you arrive in Paris. Helpful tip, before applying to CAF you will need to open a French bank account and not to worry this is not a long process, you will just need proof that you are a student and your passport. The French are very serious about paperwork, in order to complete your account, you will also need your birth certificate translated in French, not English, not Spanish but French will only be accepted…trust me I’ve tried. The birth certificate translated into French must be authenticated with an apostille certification. If you need more tips on how to complete your CAF profile just click here.


Health insurance is compulsory, the good news is that it's free for students 

Health insurance is mandatory in France! As a student, you are eligible to receive free health insurance that will pay for part of your costs once you have a consultation with a doctor or in need of paying a medical procedure. Once you apply for health insurance through Ameli and you can then request a carte Vital which you will need to take with you to a medical office whenever you have an appointment. To apply for Ameli as an international student you will need a digital picture of your passport, proof of student enrollment, again your bank account information, and your birth certificate (this one does not need to be translated). This will be convenient for you in the future in order to help reduce costs in case of an emergency emerging such as injuring your leg while skiing for the first time during winter, who knows. The positive thing about89 the website is accommodated to non- French speakers.

searching online

Apartment search websites

This is going to be the complicated part of your stay in France, if you do not yet have a place to stay in France we recommend you start your search at least two months in advance and we are referring to dates before August and September because this is when all the expats start looking for apartments in France and it becomes more difficult to find a home. Harsh but it’s the truth. We don’t mean to scare you, but there is no time to procrastinate when searching for a residence. You will have to research whether the University you are enrolled in provides residency, if not you can search for university residencies in Studefi or Studapart, all you need to do is create an account, have proof that you are a student, and search for the province which you will be residing. The first advantage of staying in a student residence is that you won’t need a guarantor to apply as a tenant and the second is that you will be surrounded by students going through the same process you are going through. If you are planning on renting an apartment in Paris good luck because 80% of the landlords renting their apartments require you have a French guarantor, some will make the exception and allow you to have a foreign guarantor such as your parents. Useful websites to help you look for your temporary home are the following: Leboncoin (be very careful with scams, don’t pay before seeing the apartment), Paris attitude (they provide you with your personal agent), PAP, Appartager (helps you look for a roommate), Paris housing, and Expatica. Once you’ve found an apartment try not to fail in keeping it, walls are very thin in Paris and the rooms are small so if you make any loud noise, chances are that your neighbors will wither report you or complain to your landlord. We wish you a goodwill hunting!

winter outfit

Winter clothes are essential

We’re not sure where you’re coming from if it’s either a country with tropical weather or harsh winters but we recommend bringing very warm winter clothes. It starts to become chilly during the last month of September or the beginning of November and the cold can last until the end of May. So, as you can see, Paris seems to have a long winter season, though technically September- December is considered Autumn while March-Mayy is spring but it's still cold. During January and February, you’re going to want to wear two jackets, two socks, and leggings under your pants because it also rains during winter and the temperature goes as low as 3 degrees Celsius which is 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, be prepared for some ruthless weather.

confused girl

Learn basic French words before coming 

Bonjour (hello), Merci (thank you), S’il vous plait (please), Enchanté (nice to meet you) these are the basic words you need to know before coming to France in general not just Paris, though there is an international influence here in Paris and it's easy to find someone who speaks English, Parisians appreciate more when you speak French to them considering that is their native language. If you’re still struggling to learn the language once you get here, there are an extensive amount of options for you to choose from where to learn French. You can either take private French lessons (can be a bit pricey), you can take online French classes (more affordable), you can take group classes that best fit your schedule, or you can watch one-mann comedy performances The French Language Explained by An American and How to Become a Parisian in One Hour (affordable and funny). You might not learn fluent French and it's only one day, but with the show, The French Language Explained by An American you will learn tips and tricks on how to not stand out too much while in France. Sebastian Marx, an American who's been living in Paris for a couple of years now is willing to share advice on how to correctly pronounce some words in French and what not to do around Parisians, for example, it is thought of as rude to talk loudly…you’re welcome for that piece of free advice. With Olivier Giraud in you will learn how to act and dress like a Parisian. All your questions will be answered on the major differences between the French and Anglo- Saxons while laughing your pants off.

theatre in paris

What to do after you’ve settled in

Who said theater was expensive? 

Ah yes, Parisian theatres where the art of acting, opera, and classic musicals have evolved into what is known today as a tradition in France. You’ve heard about the famous Opera Garnier in Paris, Crazy Horse Cabaret, and the Sainte Chapelle concert series playing symphonic music such as Vivaldi’s The Four Season, Mozart’s The Enchanting, and many more. The only issue you’re having at the moment is the fact that all theatre performances are in French and you are having trouble understanding what the performers are saying, not a problem! That’s what Theatre in Paris was designed for. Theatre in Paris is an online business dedicated to locals and tourists who prefer to watch theatre shows, comedy performances, classical music concerts, and everything else involving entertainment in English. We even have sophisticated technology that allows audiences to look at French shows with English subtitles through smart reality glasses, cool right? If you want to check out affordable upcoming performances such as Cirque de Paname’s: The World of Jaleya (similar to Cirque du Soleil with a twist) then just click here and you’ll be on your way to your first theatre performance in Paris.

friends in a bar

Bar Crawl for students 

Before getting into specific bars, let us guide you through a very popular bar block in Sainte Germain. There is a street hidden in the streets of Sainte Germain filled with different bars with their own theme giving you options to choose from. These little bars are located in Rue Princesse, our top favorite bar in this street is called Little Temple Bar. Little Temple Bar has an old-time vintage parlor look consisting of wooden bench chairs with small soft leather cushions, thick brick covered walls, and its squared tiled floors. The decoration is one thing, but on weekends this small bar becomes crowded with young people and so do the other bars around this one. The street, in general, is surrounded by social expats and visitors making friends as they drink their wine or beer. The second-best bar to visit is the Baiser Sale jazz club. In Baiser Sale which translates to Salty Kiss, you can have a drink with friends while listening to a live band singing and playing instruments such as the piano, or the saxophone, and other instruments. The jazz performers are extremely talented, they’ll have you jumping off your chair and dance to the beat of their music though this would be difficult considering this bar becomes crowded as well as it gets later at night, but this just lets you know how good the place is. Another trendy area surrounded by bars and clubs is in the 11th district on Rue de Lappe. From Thursday to Sunday you’ll notice that this street gets packed with students and a youthful crowd very similar to the one in Sainte Germain but lengthier. In Rue de Lappe you’ll be sure to find a little bit of everything and you can easily bar hop from one place to another. If you pass by Bastille in Rue de Lappe be sure to check out Amazonas bar, which has amazing exotic cocktail pitchers be sure not to get lost in there for their bar resembles the Amazon a lot covered in realistically looking artificial plants all over.

Get tickets to see Baiser Sale Jazz Night

movie theatre

Perks in Paris just for being a student 

A little secret we learned while living in France as a student is that no matter the age as long as you are a student residing in France you are qualified for a discount in all movie theatres. Now just choose the movie of your choice and book your tickets. In Forum des images you can obtain tickets from 5 to 6 euros! Moving on to the next topic, hair. It can be difficult to find a good hair salon at affordable prices, but we’ve got the place for you, Beauty Bubble. This environmentally friendly salon caters to both women and men and you can obtain a haircut as low as 10 euros. When it comes to transportation you can obtain an ImagineR Navigo card to use on the metro and on the bus unlimited amount of times at a price of only 350 euros for the whole year, but this only applies to students who are under 26. You can also make a monthly payment, but this definitely beats paying 75 euros every month to reload a regular Navigo card it would save you at least 50% of the regular price. For more student perks click here.

Where to look for employment

There are various websites to look for employment or an internship after or during your studies. The most common websites include the oh so famous Linkedin which you might already know by now lets companies you’ve applied for view your profile and see if you’re the right candidate for the position. Usually, with Linkedin you are likely to receive a response from the company a couple of days after applying. Welcome to the Jungle is the perfect website to use in France, it just launched not too long ago and posts jobs available in start-up companies and there are a lot of those in France so your chances of finding something are high. Leboncoin is like the French version of the American Craigslist. This website has multiple uses, you can search for a place to live, for jobs, and you can buy or sell things you no longer need on the website as well. Many companies in Paris post job position openings in Leboncoin, but again you must be very careful with scams. The Local France is another helpful website that even gives you tips on how to find work in France and what to add to your CV to make it more acceptable when applying for a job in Paris. The local France lets you pick your specific work field and lets you know what is available around your area and it’s in English, sounds perfect right?

looking at phone

Must have applications 

We are living in a world of technology and there is a phone application for everything nowadays, you are going to want to thank us for introducing the following life-saving apps, here we go. Doctolib, this is the first on our list of must download application. If you do not know French and you are in need of making a medical appointment but don’t know where to look for a good doctor, then Doctorlib can help you with that. You can choose the language you wish your doctor to speak when it is that you want your appointment and it will give you a list of doctors available around your area, and you choose what type of medical establishment you are searching for, the options are endless. The second application we recommend is Speak and translate which allows you to pick your native language and the language you wish to translate and all you have to do is just speak to the app and it will automatically translate every sentence you have spoken, it is brilliant! Also, it’s a good way to start learning some French words. If you’re into helping the planet, saving the environment, and believe that food should not be wasted then you need to download the app Too Good To Go. Restaurants and café sell food that is about to go to waste on this application, you can get cheap food at some of the finest restaurants and at the same time making a difference and fighting for change. Don’t get it twisted either, the food is still really good, but considering nobody but it that day restaurants decide to just throw it out and this is why Too Good To Go was created.


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