Approaching Paris


All program participants must arrive in Paris exactly on the arrival date indicated on the Key Dates page. The onsite orientation will provide you with the tools you need to make the most of your time here. It consists of required meetings on academics and life in Paris. You will also have the chance to bond with your Stanford peers and meet the Paris staff and faculty. Usually, a group retreat is planned during the week of orientation. In the past, these have included activities as diverse as culinary challenges, treasure hunting, cruise of the Seine river, biking, trekking and rowing in the counrtryside near Paris.

NOTE: If you choose to arrive early or stay after the end of the program, you are responsible for arranging your own temporary housing.

Accommodations and Meals

Students in Paris may choose between two housing options:


  • Homestays, usually in Parisian apartments, will have breakfast daily and 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 (The Fondation des Etats-­Unis is unavailable Winter and Spring Quarter 2018-19)

  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional information regarding accommodations in Paris is available on the Accommodations FAQ page.

Meeting People

The best way to meet locals and become more easily integrated in Parisian life is to get involved in the local scene. Past students have found it particularly rewarding to participate in dance, music or theater classes, cooking lessons, cinema clubs, or sporting activities. The Paris staff can help in finding the right activity for you!

The Paris program offers several academic opportunities for students to go beyond the limits of the Stanford Center proper. Options include interning in French companies, participating in lectures and on-site visits organized by museums and local institutions, or taking classes alongside French students at one of our partner universities. They all represent excellent ways to meet French people and develop both personal and professional relationships.

Particularly rewarding is our Language Partners program. Students are paired with their French counterparts from the ISEP, our host institution, in order to develop in tandem an academic project.

Mentors Program

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.

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."