What to Know about Paris before Starting your Erasmus Experience

As Victor Hugo said “To study in Paris is to be born in Paris!”, so if you are lucky enough to spend one year of your life in this amazing city, follow our advice to make the most out of your time!

1)      Know the city and stand out from the crowds of tourist!

Paris is full of interesting and historic neighborhoods and monuments such as Champs Elysees, the Eiffel Tower etc. but once you have visited them … Avoid them! Don’t get me wrong, these places are amazingly beautiful and you MUST visit them, but when you are living in Paris you should discover places where Parisians go.

 4e  arrondisement, Le Marais: traditionally the Jewish neighborhood, Le Marais is today one of the hippest areas of Paris. If you have grown a long beard, buy your clothes in vintage stores or eat organic food, this is your neighborhood! We highly recommend Andy Wahloo (69 Rue des Gravilliers), a trendy Moroccan themed bar.

5e arrondisement, Quartier Latin (Latin neighborhood): it is traditionally known as the students’ neighborhood as the majority of universities are located here (ENS Paris, UPMC, Paris- Sorbonne, Pantheon-Sorbonne, etc). It is well known for its night life, great ethnic food and second hand book stores.

11e arrondisement, Oberkamp and Bastille: as Quartier Latin became quite touristy, students have moved to this area where rent is cheaper. Moreover, Oberkamp offers a great variety of affordable restaurants and bars. This is the place to drink without spending a fortune! You can’t miss Pop In a popular Indie bar with the best live music scene (105, rue Amelot).

2)      Find cheap things to do

Paris is a beautiful city so if you are out of cash… don’t worry!! Just grab a Velib, the Parisian sharing bikes (http://en.velib.paris.fr/) and cycle around the city. You will discover lots of charming spots, for instance the book store Shakespeare and Company (http://shakespeareandcompany.com/), famous for having housed Hemingway as well as the Beat Poets such as Allen Ginsberg.

If you are hungry after the ride, buy a bottle of wine, some cheese and a baguette and head towards the Seine to do a picnic or as the French call it ‘Apéro’.

3)      Find the perfect accommodation

Looking for an apartment in Paris might become a nightmare…. there is a lack of apartments, it is mostly expensive, the paperwork is a  and landlords can be picky. So if you don’t want to live in a closet paying a fortune, there are two basic things that you should do:

a)      Reserve in advance: all the students arrive at the same time (end of August beginning of September). Finding an apartment during that period is like going shopping on the first day of sales!

b)      Apply for government help: the French government offers monthly help for students to pay their rent (https://www.caf.fr). However, be prepared to suffer some of the famous French bureaucracy!!

Make the most out of your experience in Paris, don’t waste time looking for accommodation and book online in advanced!

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