Best Student Cities of France

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Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Apr 11, 2020 14:55 IST

France is an excellent study abroad destination and offers an experience unparalleled to many. Many universities in France feature amongst the top universities of the world. The academic accreditations and immense opportunities for research aside, France has many positives that makes it a promising destination for higher education. Year on year thousands of students from across the world visit the country to pursue higher education in a variety of subjects. But simply selecting France as a destination is not enough. The options are many and often students find confused where in the country to go to? Here’s a look at the top 6 student destinations in France and how much would it cost to stay in that city.


Can there be any doubt to that? Not only is Paris the most visited Tourist destination of the world, it is also the #1 ranked student city of the world (source: QS Best Student Cities 2015 & 16). There are many attractions to Paris. The café’s culture, the endless boulevards and the famous museums. There is enough culture in the city to be an education in itself…Add to all this the string of exceptional institutions and universities and you have a city that adds value to your personality…every day.

Here are a few top Universities of France located in Paris

Looking beyond the universities, the city has many other attractions that would keep you busy in your free time. If you are not enjoying the immensely popular café culture of Paris, you can visit the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, The Louvre, Arc de Troimphe or indeed the Musee' d'Orsay to keep you busy.

But a word of caution…being famous also means that it would be expensive. In fact, it is amongst the most expensive cities to live in France. The average cost of living in Paris is near about € 1,580 a month, much higher than the national average cost of living in France.


Another French city that attracts hordes of students is Lyon. Famous for its picturesque beauty, this city is located right next to the French Alps on the French Border with Switzerland and Italy.  The city promises a truly French experience with landscaped countryside and extensive medieval architecture. What more, as the Culinary Capital of the country…if you are seeking authentic French Cuisine…there cannot be a better city.

As a student, the city offers more than the above. There are thousands of international students that bring to the city the essential cultural diversity. And of course… some of the Top Universities of France!

Universities with a global rank that you would find in this exuberant city are

  • École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
  • Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1
  • Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA)

The city is comparatively cheaper to stay in as compared to Paris. The average cost of living in the city is equivalent to the country’s average of about €1,200 per month. A steady inflow of students keep the rentals in the city low, making it a more economical choice. However, remember, the excellent ski resorts might just make you over exceed your budget!


Perhaps lesser known but in no ways, a laggard, the city of Toulouse is home to some of the finest universities of France that date back to the 13th century. Located near the southwestern border of the country, the city is blessed with a brilliant weather all year round which is typical to the South of France. What attracts students, however, to the city is not just the amazing climate and traditional French architecture but one of Europe’s biggest hub for aerospace industry.

Not too costly at an average cost of living less than € 1,000 per month, the city has some of the finest institutions like

  • Université Toulouse 1, Capitole
  • Université Toulouse II, Le Mirail


The best way to describe this city is sun and students. With every 4th person studying in one of the famous universities in the city, that would be hardly inappropriate. The city has everything that calls out to a student. Sunny beaches, excellent culture, a diverse group of students from around the world and world best universities like Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III. It is the traditional South of France…and through a big on the higher side of €1,150 per month, the cost of living in Montpellier is worth the price tag!


The city is perhaps not that well known today as it was in the pre-industrial era. Perhaps one of the most important commercial hubs of France in the earlier times, the city went through a lot of degradation and ruin in the post-industrial era. But the same has now revived and offers a serene and more importantly an economical solution to many students. Universities like ISA Lille - Institute of Life Sciences attracts students from across the world. Adding to its many advantages as a student city is a low cost of living at just about €1,000 a month.


Apart from these top five, another city which deserves a special mention is Grenoble. Needless to say, it is the hub of biotechnology and nanotechnology-based industries and research. Some of the best names like Schneider Electric, Hewitt Packard and Caterpillar have set their offices nearby due to a thriving economy as well as some of the best technical universities, making it a region best suited for both MS courses as well as MBA options. In 2013, the city boasted of about 54000 students of which 16 percent were from abroad. Furthermore, the Grenoble School of Management has steadily attracted the best minds from around the world. Ranking at #25 in the Best MBA Full Time in Europe (as per QS Rankings) has added to the attraction of the city as a top student destination in France.

As far as the cost of living in the city is concerned, given the many tourist attractions and the rapid development of the city, it is a bit on the expensive side and would cost you about €1,100 a month.

So explore these cities and the universities in France to plan your study abroad. Though these cities top, we only wish to add that France has something to offer in every city. Explore the country to know for yourself.

All the best!

About the Author
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert

With a plethora of knowledge of the education domain, Piyush Kohli has been involved with study abroad for over 5 years and counting. He comes with prior experience on the complexities of the study abroad applicatio... Read Full Bio


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