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Albert Khan gardens

Albert Khan gardens


Life in Paris


Once you have been accepted or waitlisted, you will be expected to attend a series of orientation sessions organized at Stanford by the Bing Overseas Studies Program Staff. These meetings will give program participants a chance to meet each other and learn many details about your upcoming quarter of study in Paris. See the Orientation section of the website for more details..

The following sections will give you a brief overview of life in Paris.

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You must arrive in Paris on the arrival date indicated in the program calendar. An onsite orientation meeting and the first few days of academic instruction will be held. During orientation, you will meet the Paris staff and get a thorough introduction to the program.

NOTE: If you choose to arrive early or stay on after the end of the program, you are responsible for arranging your own temporary housing. You will be provided with suggestions for affordable temporary accommodations during orientation on the Stanford campus.

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Accommodations and Meals

Students in Paris may choose between two housing options:

  • Homestay
  • International Dorm


Living with a host family can be one of the best ways to improve French language skills. You will have the chance to speak about topics ranging from the leaky faucet in the bathroom to the most recent trade negotiations. Homestays, usually in Parisian apartments, you will have breakfast daily and take dinner five nights per week with your host family. A stipend is provided to cover all other meals, which can be eaten at university cafeterias or other local cafes. Your host family will take care of laundry.

NOTE: Since meat is usually the main item in any French meal, vegetarians may be responsible for meeting their own needs. If a vegetarian can’t be flexible with their diet, he/she should consider living in the International Dorm.

International Dorm

A limited number of students may choose to live in the Fondation des Etats Unis, one of 37 residences that make up the International Dorm for all Paris University students, the "Cité Internationale Universitaire."

This campus-like location, set in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, is just 20 minutes from the Stanford center. The Fondation houses approximately 300 students made up of approximately 40% Americans, 55% French, and 5% of other nationalities. As the majority of the students are graduate students, the atmosphere does not resemble a Stanford dorm; no curfews apply, and students live quite independent lives. Rooms are equipped with a refrigerator, and kitchen and laundry facilities are available. A cafeteria for all residences is located next door to the Fondation. Expenses for all meals are covered by a stipend from Stanford.

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Meeting People

You can find all forms of entertainment in Paris, including music, drama, cinema clubs, and sports activities. Students in previous years have sought out activities as diverse as:

  • dancing classes
  • art classes at the Louvre
  • cooking lessons
  • sailing

Language Partner Program

You are encouraged to interact with the French and to experience Paris life as the locals do. The program offers language partners, French students interested in improving their English and in meeting Stanford students, which can be an excellent way to improve spoken French and develop friendships.


Volunteering is another way for you to get involved with Parisian communities. The program works with two French organizations:

  • Centre Prévert: A community center on the outskirts of Paris where Stanford students help underprivileged French children.
  • Montparnasse Rencontres: An educational association near the Stanford center, which also offers scholastic assistance to underprivileged French children. In order to participate in Montparnasse Rencontres, you should plan on staying both fall AND winter quarters. Spring quarter students may participate, though they are staying only one quarter.

Alumni Mentors

For several years, Stanford alumni in Paris, mostly French nationals, have offered to give of their time to our students. Some invite students to their homes in Paris, or in the country over the weekend, while others introduce students to their place of work or research. Students may consult the list of available mentors upon arrival in Paris, and select a mentor according to common interests.

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City Life

Located on the Seine River, lined with booksellers and street artists, Paris is a compact, pedestrian-friendly city. A stroll through its various neighborhoods, called arrondissements, take you past small shops, elegant hotels, movie theaters, sidewalk cafés, art galleries, patisseries, boulangeries, and restaurants of every cuisine. From haute couture to second-hand bookstores, the city is home to an eclectic, energetic mix.

The formal lines of the city’s 18th-century and 19th-centuy architecture are softened by beautifully landscaped parks and squares. Paris is home to some of the world's most renowned museums—about 130 by one estimate—including the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, in addition to a lively theatrical and cinematic scene. For both its physical beauty and intellectual heritage, Paris has earned the name "City of Light."

You will encounter French culture through field trips, classes, and other events that make use of the rich resources of Paris and the surrounding area. In addition to on-site study at some of the city's most famed monuments, including:

  • Saint-Denis
  • Notre Dame de Paris
  • Sainte-Chapelle de Paris
  • The Louvre
  • Musée d’Orsay

As a group, the Stanford students also enjoy the opportunity to sample some of the restaurants, performing arts, and cultural riches of Paris, and make excursions to other parts of France, such as the Dordogne or Normandy.

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