Today, I’m going to talk about making the most out of Paris for college students. Once you decide to spend the summer or a semester in Paris, you quickly realize that you’ll be traveling to a completely different culture and a massive metropolitan center. Here are some tips and tricks!
Our Advice for Navigating Paris for College Students
Subscribe to French newspapers
I recommend buying a digital subscription to Le Monde during your stay in Paris. You can also buy the physical newspapers at the black kiosks throughout Paris, although the digital subscription is cheaper. Regularly reading the newspaper has many benefits. Notably, you will improve your language skills and be able to have educated conversations with locals. Understanding the current events and sentiments in France will go a long way to helping you feel immersed and comfortable. You might also find it interesting to buy newspapers with different political leanings to get a better grasp on the current debates.
Buy a Navigo Pass
Having an efficient and cost-effective means of transportation is key for (literally) navigating Paris. I recommend signing up for a Navigo monthly pass (or student pass, depending on the length of your stay). This will give you complete, unlimited access to the metro, buses, and RER trains. Unless you plan on biking or riding a scooter around Paris, this is your best option!
Build a community
This one might seem obvious, but it is incredibly important to build a community while you are abroad. This can mean frequenting the same theater, workout or yoga classes, or signing up for interest group meetups around the city. Even if you are going abroad with friends, I recommend trying your best to meet locals. You will get to practice speaking French and might be lucky enough to get shown around Paris! If meeting locals seems too intimidating, be sure to practice French with your Anglophone friends.
Get a transportation app
In my experience, CityMapper is the best transportation app to use in practically every city. The days of getting lost and carrying around separate bus, subway, and street maps are over. All you have to do is put in your starting point and destination, and the app will do all the hard work for you. It will give you the duration and cost of your various transport options, such as metros, buses, bikes, and Ubers. You can also save a journey for offline access so that you can view it without internet or cellular connection.
Learn basic phrases and cultural differences
The French are huge on their particularities. For example, you should always say “Bonjour” before asking an employee for help or starting a conversation. Failing to do so could be considered rude and is a clear sign that you are a tourist! Regardless of your level of French, attempting to communicate basic phrases to cashiers, waiters, and public service employees will lead to warmer and more successful daily encounters.
Attend plays, movies, concerts, dance performances, or sports games
Paris is one of the cultural capitals of the world. Whether you love the arts or sports, you should embrace the excitement and passion that Paris has to offer. I recommend checking out what’s showing at the Paris Opera House, Comedy, and various theaters. You might even be lucky enough to visit Paris during a major sports tournament, like the World Cup!
I hope this post about Paris for college students has made you even more excited for your time abroad in Paris. Paris is a truly magical city, and I am confident that you will have the time of your life discovering it! Don’t forget to take lots of pictures (your mom will want them!) and to explore the cities and provincial towns around France during your free time.