Welcome to Paris!

The city of love is ready to welcome you with open arms.
Check out all the information about Paris below!


“Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant.”

– Honoré de Balzac


Access all the information you need to move to Paris!



  How to apply for a visa in France?

You don’t need a visa if you come from:
  • European Union
  • European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Are a Swiss Citizen

The requirements for a student visa vary according to what country you come from, here’s all the information you may need:


  • Timing:

15 days to have the answer (positive or not), but it can be delayed for up to 2 months.  The visa itself has no average delay, because it will depend on your nationality, the documents you submitted, and the reason you decide to come to France.

  • Documents required:

This will depend on your country of origin.  To have an extensive and accurate list of documents required, you need to directly access the French embassy website, in the country you are from.  Keep in mind that all official documents, if not in the required language for the application, must be translated by a sworn, official translator who works with the embassy.  They will be able to provide details regarding this.

  • In general you will need:

– ID pictures (standard passport size)
– Copy of your passport 
– Your passport
– Visa request form
– Proof of accommodation 
– Travel insurance 
– Attestation/bill of round-trip plane ticket 
– Income statement


Cost :   

Short term: 60€ 

Long term: 100€

  • You can:

    – study
    – work up to 20h a week
    – have housing allowance
    – travel through Schengen space

  • You cannot:

    – you can’t be an auto entrepreneur
    – you can’t work more than 20h a week (964h a year)
    – you can’t vote

Who to talk to (contact):


You can ask your school, reference the embassy website, or consulate in your country.  If there is not a French Embassy in your country, then contact the nearest Embassy responsible for your country.  There is a variety of contact information on their website, including phone numbers, emails, and their address.  Make sure you do not try to get your long stay visa through a certified agency, it should be directly through the respective government authority (embassy, consulate, etc.), double check, always!

What now?

Do not procrastinate, get done as soon as you arrive in the country.

For all the grumblings we have about France and all their systems and protests and rats, we do have to applaud their automated process for their post-arrival requirements (don’t get too excited they still cost money).  CVEC is necessary for everyone, the rest just for non-EU students. 

  1. CVEC: leave it to the French government to tax you for just being a student, if you want more information go here, and to obtain it go here, it costs €92. 
  2. Residency permit: another €60 out the door, this is important because it gives you access to the French health care system if you were to need it and makes you eligible for rent relief programs like CAF (we talk about that in the housing section).  Here is more information, and here is where to actually get it done. 
  3. Social Security Card: finally something is free, do it here.  This allows you to actually receive monetary reimbursements from the French government. 



How to look for a flat in Paris?


  • List of documents :

    – ID
    – School certificate
    – Tax income of guarantor
    – Work contract of guarantor
    – Monthly income sheet for the 3 past months
    – Address certificate 

  • Where to live

    – 20/19/18ème : cheap
    – 3ème “le marais” / 4ème/ 11ème :hipster area with many bars
    – 1/2/6/7/8/16ème : very expensive and chic

  • Budgeting:

The prices of the flats vary greatly based on location and the agency you are using.  The average price per square meter is 27.93€ per month (so then the budget will depend on how much can you afford).  More precisely, if you want to have a decent apartment in a good location count on minimum 600€ of monthly rent.

Remember there will possibly be additional costs when you rent a flat, such as paying one month in advance. Plus a security deposit (normally the amount of 1 months rent but can also vary).  If you use an agency to rent your flat, you will have to pay their agency fees.  Make sure to ask about this in advance, so you aren’t blind-sided by the extra expense. 

Not all the apartments in Paris have all expenses included, you might have to pay extra for electricity, gas, and water (basic utility expenses).  These are fixed prices depending on your consumption of utilities.  Be sure to communicate with your landlord and see if your utilities are included or not, and if not, how to pay them on time


  •  get ahead in your research
  • watch out for scams
  • be sure to have all the required documents (and when you visit an apartment, present yourself with the rental documents)
  • if you can, look for a French guarantor
  • pay attention to the location of your apartment in relation to the metro (it will avoid you wasting time in transport)
  • be careful, very few agencies or owners speak English



What is the budget I need to live in Paris?


Basic budgeting (in euros) :

– Housing : 600/1000
– Electricity : 60
– Food : 200/500
– Transport : 40
– Phone : 10/20
– Going out: 200/500 
– Min: 1150 Max: 2150


Use the app Unidays for discounts (restaurants, supermarkets, fashion, technology…) 

Whenever you purchase something ask for student discounts


  • Should you even open one? 

It depends on how much time you are planning to spend in France.  If you are staying for one year or less, you will probably have more advantages through your original bank in your home country.  For instance, you can pay your rent with whatever bank account, it doesn’t necessarily have to be French.  However, if you are staying longer and you want to have a French phone number, or even transportation membership, it’s better to have a French bank account.

  • Which banks?

The easiest path for non-French citizens is to open an online bank account (such as Monabanq, Boursorama).

Otherwise, here is the list of the largest french banks:

BNP Paribas: group.bnpparibas

LCL : lcl.fr

Société générale :  particuliers.societegenerale.fr

  • Documents required:

 – Valid ID card or passport 
 – Address certificate 
 – (as a student, they won’t ask you for an income certification) 



RATP:  is unavoidable in Paris, and a fundamental of Parisian transport.  This is the public transport company that covers Paris and its suburbs for the metro and bus system. 

  • You can find different plans:

If you are not going to use the subway/bus often, then you can buy a carnet: 15€ for 10 tickets

You can also buy a weekly pass: 5€ the pass, 20€ the week.

Student pass (pass Navigo): this card is a student discount card, with a 38€ monthly fee.  With this card, you have unlimited access to all means of public transportation.

If you are not a student, then you have the normal working pass which is 72€ a month, and you also have unlimited access to the public transportation system. 


You can also use Taxi, Uber, Limes (electric scooters), etc. to cross the city (especially at night, subways close at 00:30-1:00 during the week and 2:00 am during the weekend in Paris).

Remember that Paris is a very walkable city.  It is not that big, and you can cross large areas relatively quickly. 

Emergency services contacts: 

– 18: Firemen
– 15: Samu (for all health and accident emergencies of any kind)
– 17: Police / Gendarme (police for higher affairs)
– 112: Universal European Emergency Services number – works on all phones, even the non-European numbers
– 114: Emergency calls (use if you have difficulty speaking or hearing as you can communicate by text or fax)
– 115: Emergency Shelter
– 119: Reporting child abuse
– 197: Terror attacks/kidnapping hotline


  • Drivers license

Obtaining your driver’s license in France is a possibility, but we do not recommend obtaining it in Paris. First, it’s complicated, long and very expensive (1200/1500€). The advantage of a french license is that the it is valid throughout the whole word.




What insurance do I need in France?

When you arrive in France with a student visa or a working permit, you are automatically connected to the social security system. The government will provide the right of French social security but you have to make the demand: https://www.ameli.fr/hauts-de-seine

You can also apply for a private heath insurance which are the “mutuelles”, we recommend :



  • Required insurances:

Health Insurance / Social Security (if you are a student, you need to have Student social security that you apply for when you register with a school, they will help guide you through this process).


Above is the student tax you are required to pay, 90€ just once for being enrolled in a French university.

Personal: if you are European, your personal insurance covers you and you don’t need any other insurance coverage.

  • Renters:

Habitation insurance is mandatory for renting a flat, you can have it with a french bank or an insurance company,  the average price is: 100€.

We recommend:





Is Paris a safe city?

In general Paris is a safe city in most of the areas. But of course, as Paris is one of the biggest cities in Europe and is one of the most visited capitals of the world, there are some less beautiful sides of Paris.

  At night, there are some areas that aren’t the safest due to drug dealing.

  • Areas that aren’t super safe at night are: 

 – 18ème/19ème/20ème  
– 11ème can be shady 
– Porte de Clignancourt
– In general: try to be especially careful in the north east of Paris 



  • Your phone provider options in France are:

– Orange:  orange.fr
– SFR: sfr.fr
– Bouygues Telecom: bouygues.fr
– Free: free.fr
– NRJ Mobile : nrjmobile.fr

  • To purchase a sim card, here are the documents required: 

 – ID
– Address certificate 
– Bank details


  1. France is the biggest country in the European Union.
  2. The French army is the only army in Europe to still have racing pigeons in its ranks.
  3. France holds the world record for the number of roundabouts.
  4. Over 300 kinds of cheese are produced in France.
  5. The Baguette is a fundamental part of the french culture, much like wine.  If you place the baguette upside down on the table, it’s very rude and you will be cursed!  Be mindful. 
  6. The Bise (the french way of saying hi) is not as simple as it seems.  Depending on where in France you come from, depending on the level of friendship, and the moment of the day, you don’t do La Bise the same way. 
  7. The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be a temporary installation, intended to stand for 20 years after being built for the 1889 World Fair.


We designed you a checklist to help you through your preparation!

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!


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